GET READY FOR HOT SUMMER FUN!
There are a lot of options for extending your swimming season. They include both active heating and passive heat collection along with heat retention. Here are some basics to help you select the pool heating options that are right for you!
POOL HEATING OPTIONS
- SWIMMING POOL COVERS
- SOLAR SUN RINGS
- LIQUID SOLAR BLANKET
- GAS POOL HEATERS
- POOL HEAT PUMPS
- SOLAR POOL HEATERS
- SUN DOME ENCLOSURES
SWIMMING POOL COVERS
Swimming pools lose energy in a variety of ways, but evaporation is by far the largest source of energy loss. Evaporating water requires tremendous amounts of energy. It only takes 1 Btu (British thermal unit) to raise 1 pound of water 1 degree, but each pound of 80ºF water that evaporates takes a whopping 1,048 Btu of heat out of the pool.
Types of Swimming Pool Covers
Technically, all you really need for a pool cover is a large sheet of plastic. Plastic meets the requirement of being a vapor barrier. But a large sheet of plastic that you get from the lumber store is probably not your best choice. It will be very difficult to handle and store, it tears easily, and sunlight will deteriorate it rapidly.
You can use a sheet of plastic, but it will be very inconvenient and it will probably only last 1 to 2 seasons maximum. It’s best to use a cover designed specifically for swimming pools. They’re made of special materials, such as UV-stabilized polyethylene, polypropylene, or vinyl. They can be transparent or opaque. Covers can even be light or dark colored.
One of the lowest cost covers made specifically for swimming pools is the bubble (or solar) cover. Bubble covers are similar to bubble packing material except they use a thicker grade of plastic and have UV inhibitors.
Vinyl covers consist of a heavier material and have a longer life expectancy than bubble covers.Insulated vinyl covers are also available with a thin layer of flexible insulation sandwiched between two layers of vinyl.
Outdoor pools gain heat from the sun, absorbing 75%–85% of the solar energy striking the pool surface. This is an important contribution to the pool’s heating needs. A pool cover will decrease the solar gain contribution to some extent, depending on what type you use.A transparent bubble cover may reduce pool solar energy absorption by 5%–15 %. A completely opaque cover will reduce it by 20%–40%. You need to consider this when selecting a pool cover.
You also need to decide whether you want a manual, semi-automatic, or an automatic pool cover.You can manually pull the cover on and off, fold it, and place it somewhere out of the way. You can also purchase a pool cover reel to help manually roll up the pool cover. The reel, usually on wheels, can be rolled out of the way.
Semi-automatic covers use a motor-driven reel system. They use electrical power to roll and unroll the cover, but usually require someone to pull on the cover when unrolling, or guide the cover onto the reel when rolling up the cover. Semi-automatic covers can be built into the pool deck surrounding the pool, or can use reels on carts.
Automatic covers have permanently mounted reels that automatically cover and uncover the pool at the push of a button. They’re the most expensive option, but they’re also the most convenient.Some pool covers fit into tracks along the sides of the pool. This prevents anything or anybody from getting into the pool. They even support the weight of several people. If liability is a concern, these are a good option to explore. They can be run manually, semi-automatically, or automatically. Safety covers are recommended for public pools, and may be required by inspectors.
SOLAR SUN RINGS
The Solar Sun Ring is a passive solar swimming pool heating device made from two sheets of heavyweight U.V. resistant vinyl. The upper clear layer holds insulating air and focuses sunlight on the blue colored lower layer.
The blue layer absorbs about 50% of the sunlight and converts it to heat. The balance of the sunlight is allowed to pass through for deep water heating.
How Solar Sun Rings Work to Heat Your Pool
At night the contained air acts as an insulating blanket to retain heat gained during daylight. Solar Sun Rings are equipped with six magnets to improve clarity and decrease hardness of the water in your pool. The magnets are positioned to facilitate rafting. The strength of the magnets will permit single position removal but will easily separate to prevent entrapment in accidental falls.
Solar Sun Rings were designed to be compatible with automatic pool cleaners. In the event the suction hose catches on a ring, the ring will separate from the raft to allow the pool cleaner to continue. Neither water nor pool chemicals can evaporate through the Solar Sun Rings two layers of heavyweight vinyl. You will save water and chemicals about equal to the percentage of the surface covered. Once the water in your pool has reached adequate temperature, Solar Sun Rings may be turned over to conserve water by limiting evaporation without significantly heating the water.
Safety: No other floating solar cover matches Solar Sun Rings design for safety. Countless pets and many people have died because of entrapment with the one piece bubble pack covers. The primary design-criteria of the Solar Sun Ring was to prevent entrapment.
Durability: Once the design for the Solar Sun Ring was established the material selection began. Polyethylene plastic, which is used for all bubble pack covers, was rejected because of it’s intolerance to and degradation in direct sunlight and inability to retain air. High quality ultra violet resistant vinyl (polyvinyl chloride) is used exclusively for durability that cannot be achieved by the inferior plastic used in bubble pack covers. Vinyl will normally outlast polyethylene 3 to 1. The vinyl used to manufacture Solar Sun Rings is not destroyed by pH fluctuation, higher than normal chlorine concentration or salt water systems. Furthermore, vinyl is easily repaired if punctured.
SOLAR SUN RINGS EXCEPTIONAL FEATURES
Solar Efficiency: By using the high quality polished vinyl for the top layer and a 50% density lightly frosted lower layer, we achieved a solar efficiency that greatly surpasses bubble pack covers. The milky translucent inferior plastic used in bubble pack covers reflects much of the sun’s energy and fails to allow adequate deep water heating. Solar Sun Rings design and materials allow greater solar efficiency with greater nighttime insulation due to greater captive air thickness. Solar Sun Rings were designed to safely heat swimming pools, not cushion packages. The effect is that Solar Sun Rings with 70% to 80% coverage outperform bubble pack covers with 100% coverage.
Mustard Algae: The 100% coverage and inefficient solar effect of bubble pack covers creates additional problems. By blocking all direct sunlight, mustard algae will form within a very short time. This negates the continuous use of the bubble pack covers. The Solar Sun Ring with its increased solar efficiency is designed for continuous use without culturing a pool full of mustard algae.
Compatibility: The Solar Sun Ring is designed to be compatible with automatic pool cleaners. The many features that give Solar Sun Rings greater safety at the same allow them to be used with automatic pool cleaners. Solar Sun Rings are also compatible with solar panel systems giving a pool a double shot of the sun’s energy during the day and great nighttime insulation.
Placement and Removal: Solar Sun Rings were designed for easy placement and removal by one person. The magnets for conditioning the water are placed into the perimeter of each ring to facilitate rafting. The five foot diameter of each ring also allows for easy cleaning.
Aesthetics: We have never heard anyone praise the aesthetics of the bubble pack cover. Solar Sun Rings were designed to add festive colors to an otherwise drab device. The silk screen printing of the Solar Sun Rings is similar to a window screen to allow solar heating while adding color to the swimming pool.
SOLAR FISH – LIQUID SOLAR BLANKET
Heatsavr™ is a transparent liquid solar pool blanket that greatly reduces heat loss. Evaporation is one of the main forms of heat loss from swimming pools and spas; slowing it can yield large cost savings.
Heatsavr™ is made of simple biodegradable ingredients that form the best barrier currently available to slow heat and water loss.
Heatsavr™ will save energy in every pool, but heat cost savings vary according to the hours of swimmer use per day, ventilation efficiency, and especially the type and cost of fuel used. The cost of energy also varies from region to region. Tests have proven that heating bill savings range from a low of 15.5% at a high use 50 meter municipal pool, to a high of 40% at a low use condominium pool.
Heatsavr™ is designed for commercial pool owners and Ecosavr is designed for residential pool owners, the difference being in the delivery system.
Heatsavr™ can be applied manually or by the Automatic Metering System (AMS).
Ecosavr™ is a small disposable plastic fish containing the Heatsavr™ liquid. The product is dispensed through a patented valve in the fin and forms a transparent, mono-molecular layer on your pool.
Ecosavr™ and Heatsavr™ belong to a family of innovative water and energy conservation products developed by Flexible Solutions Limited of Victoria, BC. Our products are proven to conserve heat, energy, water and are environmentally friendly and safe.
Using Ecosavr™ is convenient and easy to use: just snip the fin, squeeze out any air and toss it into your pool. With no cover to roll up or store, your pool is ready to use whenever you want!
An Explanation for Non-Chemists
Heatsavr™ works by slowing evaporation from the surface of a swimming pool; either indoor or outdoor.
When your pool is warmer than the air around it, or when the air has lower than 100% humidity, your pool ‘sweats’. Invisible steam escapes into the air and blows away from outdoor pools, or is exhausted by the air handling system of an indoor pool. It takes fuel energy to heat the pool water, and fuel costs money. The escaping steam of a pool is 70% of the cost of keeping your pool water warm enough to attract paying customers. Heatsavr™ is an effective method in reducing the steam loss per hour and therefore the dollar cost of keeping your pool warm. It does this by forming a safe invisible layer one to two molecules thick on the surface of the pool.
Heatsavr™ is a mixture of carefully chosen ingredients which are lighter than water so that they automatically float to the surface. They are attracted to each other so that they try always to form a perfect very thin layer over the whole pool surface. They are individually so small that they are 500 times smaller than the spaces in a super high quality filter. After a swimmer stops disturbing the water they rush to reform a complete layer because they are molecularly organized and happiest that way.
And most importantly – when they are in position they REDUCE THE SWEATING SPEED OF THE POOL BY UP TO ONE HALF.
Heatsavr™ theoretically could save half your heat bill if no one ever swam in the pool and if the circulation pump were turned off. This is not likely but Heatsavr™ does achieve savings as high as 40%. Most pools will find energy bill reductions between 17% and 30%. For every dollar spent on Heatsavr™, you should expect a minimum of three dollars off your heat bill.
Pool managers buy Heatsavr™ for a variety of reasons. Saving money on their energy bills is the biggest one. Others are already using a pool blanket and find that while there are energy savings, there are also inconveniences and that staff are not motivated to use the blankets correctly and consistently. Heatsavr™’s ease of use without loss of energy savings is attractive to these operators. Some indoor pool operators are primarily interested in reducing the humidity levels in their pool rooms. They don’t mind receiving the energy savings as a bonus.
The last step in a total pool maintenance program is applying the right products to your pool water at the right time. This will help you:
- Provide a sanitary swimming environment.
- Balance the water to protect the equipment and pool surfaces. Unbalanced water can permanently damage both.
- Provide brilliant, sparkling water that’s inviting.