Many of us have our pool covered for good reason. It could be to keep leaves and other debris out, to increase the temperature of our pool, to reduce evaporation, or to close it up for winter. All excellent reasons to use a solar cover, but a question remains: can you run the pool pump with the solar cover on?
Thankfully, the answer is yes. A solar pool cover does not have any conflicts with the functionality of the pool pump and in fact, provides many benefits such as reduced energy costs and a longer swimming season. A solar cover merely covers the surface of the water and does not have any negative effects with regards to the pool’s circulation, nor does the pump reduce the pool cover’s lifespan in any way.
In this article, I will go over what you should expect when you run your pool pump with a solar cover on to help you better understand why it is safe and good to do so.
What you should know about solar covers
Solar covers can do everything a regular pool cover does, and more. In addition to keeping debris out and reducing evaporation, solar covers also trap heat in and absorb heat from the sun’s rays, passing it into the pool.
There are many types of solar covers: there are vinyl covers specifically for winter cover, there are automatic covers for convenience, and the most common is the bubble cover. Bubble covers have a side covered with bubbles that look like plastic wrap; they are efficient at trapping heat and so you place that side down, facing the water.
Since solar covers are so good at trapping heat, if you have a heater, it is much more energy efficient to use them in tandem since you will not lose as much heat when the pool is covered up. Solar covers come in a variety of sizes and can be cut down to the exact shape of your pool.
In terms of effectiveness, solar cover can increase your pool’s temperature in as quickly as six hours. With three consecutive days of sunlight, the pool can get warmed up by 10-15°F.
An issue with solar covers is that they warm up the pool unevenly, with most of the heat accumulating along the surface of the water and water below that being much colder.
This can result in algae growth along the surface unless you put in some extra diligence in the water chemistry side of things. To reduce this risk, proper water circulation is crucial, and that means you need to run your pool pump with the solar cover on.
Why you should leave your pool pump running
Proper circulation is essential for a safe and clean swimming pool, not just for spreading warmth.
The pump is quite like the heart of the swimming pool. It pushes water through various pieces of equipment, including the pool filter, where debris and dirt will get filtered out.
Running the pump ensures chemicals can get mixed evenly and sanitize the entirety of the pool. These things ensure the pool is free of debris, algae, and other undesirables so that it is enticing and safe to swim in.
With a solar cover on, the pool pump ensures that the warm water is spread evenly so that it’s not significantly warmer at the surface compared to the bottom.
Therefore, you must ensure that your pool pump is running the appropriate amount of time, on the correct RPMs, and having a solar cover on doesn’t interfere with this process at all.
What you should be aiming for is one turnover a day. That means that the entirety of the pool’s water has had a chance to pass through the pool filter once a day. If that means you need to run the pool pump with a solar cover on, then so be it.
Top benefits of running the pool pump with the solar cover on
Not only is running the pump while the pool is covered not an issue, it is actively beneficial. If used correctly, a solar cover can do more than just keep debris out and warm up your pool.
Reduced energy costs
A major advantage of the extra insulation that a solar cover provides is not just the warmth, but on the energy savings that retaining heat provides you.
Pool pumps pump cold water through the heater to warm it up. With a solar cover, your pool heater and pump does not need to work as hard and you don’t need to keep it running for as long, drastically reducing costs and increasing their longevity.
If you live somewhere with ample sunlight, a solar pool cover can help you make a dent on that energy bill by relying on the free energy that the sun provides.
In a similar vein, the pool is kept warm by a solar cover because it reduces potential evaporation.
Evaporation is the leading source of heat loss, and keeping the pool cover on and the pump running overnight will reduce evaporation while keeping the water warmer.
No more do you have to wait hours for the pool to warm up, nor do you have to refill your pool so frequently. This saves you money on both the energy bill and water bill each month.
Are you tired of debris like leaves, branches, and insects falling into your pool? A solar cover works just like any other pool cover (but better) and so it can keep the junk out.
What you still need to do, however, is clean the debris that has fallen on the pool cover off. It’s much better than fishing it out of the pool or pool filter.
It’s much easier to clean debris off of a pool cover, saving you time and energy maintaining your pool.
Fewer chemicals required
With a solar cover on, you can preserve the chemicals in your pool for much longer by blocking UV rays which can break down chlorine. If the pool is not in use, why leave it exposed to the sun when it is just wasting chemicals?
Furthermore, by keeping debris out, chemicals are being saved because there are fewer foreign objects that it needs to disinfect. The amount of free chlorine in your pool will remain much higher with a solar cover on.
An extended swimming season
If you and your family love pool season, then how do you think about starting it early and ending it late? That’s right, you can warm up your pool early in spring and extend it longer into autumn by combining the heat insulating effects of the pool pump and solar cover.
Get an extra month or two of fun in the sun by being smart about covering up your pool, and your pool season will be all the more pleasant because of it.