If like me, you live in the Northeast the pool is always just a touch cool for comfort, except on those really warm summer days. Or perhaps you live in sunny Florida and want to swim year round. Maybe you have a pool heater, but the memory of last month’s heating bill makes you hesitate to fire it up. You’ve looked at some of the alternatives, like solar pool covers and reels, but would rather be swimming
than winding up and wheeling away that bulky solar blanket and reel.
A liquid solar blanket may be an attractive alternative for you to consider. Read on to find out more…
How does it work?
Liquid solar blankets dispense small quantities of a colorless, odorless liquid into your pool. This liquid forms a thin, invisible blanket on the surface of your pool. This thin layer minimizes evaporation (which is typically responsible for 90% of heat loss in a swimming pool) and helps retain warmth. The chemicals dispensed by the liquid solar blanket will not interfere with your pool chemistry or otherwise affect the operation of the pool.
Note that liquid solar blankets typically work well when the surface of the pool is calm. They are most effective if you point your swimming pool returns down (also a good thing to do for stirring up chemicals in your pool in any case).
Popular liquid solar blanket products
There are two popular liquid solar blanket products available in the marketplace today.
Tropical Fish: Also available as a longer-lasting TURBO tropical fish. This product has a small built-in pump that releases small quantities of liquid into your pool for 30 to 60 days (depending on the size of your pool). You simply drop the tropical fish in the water, and after a little bit, it will settle to the bottom of the pool. One thing to note – if you have an automatic pool cleaner, you may find that it attacks the fish. Simply tie your tropical fish, using the provided loop at the top, to your pool ladder.
Solar Pill: The solar pill is a little different in that it typically dispenses all it’s liquid in 1-2 days. The pill is placed in your skimmer basket and should empty in the next couple of days, after which you can discard it. The liquid will be effective for about 30 days (depending on the size of your pool, you may need more than one pill a month). Note that if you typically place chlorine tabs in your pool skimmer, this mode of operation may be a problem for you.
You can find these products at your local pool supply store, or at Internet retailers such as In the Swim or Poolcenter. A month’s supply of liquid solar blanket will run you anywhere from $15 to $40 depending on the size of your pool.
What they will and won’t do
Liquid solar blankets are not pool heaters. They may help increase your pool temperature by a few degrees on warm, sunny days, but they won’t help you swim comfortably in 60 degree weather (at least, not by themselves). As with many other products, your mileage may vary – Liquid solar blankets are most effective if your pool gets a lot of sunlight. Also, they are an excellent complement to your regular pool heater. With the use of a liquid solar blanket, you will find that your heater warms the water quicker, and the water stays warmer for longer. Liquid solar blankets are probably most useful in maintaining the water temperature.
The Bottom Line: A hassle-free, relatively inexpensive way to a warmer pool with lower heating costs. Give them a try!