Covering a pool or spa is important when it is
not in use. Properly installed pool or spa covers retain heat,
reduces the evaporation rate, protect the pool's surface from wind,
prevent leaves and other debris getting into the water, less
chemicals to be added to the pool and provides protection to
children and pets.
Pool and spa covers have come into increasing
use over the past few years for above mentioned advantages.
Shielding the water from the sun cuts down on chemical use; it keeps
down the cost of heating by retaining the warmth; it reduces the
vacuuming and filter cleaning time by preventing leaves and debris.
Different types of covers are available in the market, which is
described in following manner.
A typical bubble cover is made from two sheets
of plastic usually blue in color, with air bubbles in between.
Bubble solar cover is same as plastic bubble wrap is used for
packaging. The cover has one flat side and one bumpy side. Laying a
bubble cover on the water with the bubble side down, in this way,
when the sun warms the air bubbles it transfer the heat to the water
and the trapped air acts as an insulator for the heat coming up from
the water. The spaces between the bubbles also act as pockets for
trapped air, further insulating the water.
Because they are thin, lightweight, and
flexible, bubble covers can be cut to any size and are sold in large
sheets from 5 feet by 5 feet for spas up to 30 feet by 50 feet for
pools, with many intermediate sizes. They are easily cut with
scissors or a razor knife. Bubble covers are cheap. They last two to
four years depending on water chemistry, weather conditions, and
user wear and tear.
The disadvantage of a bubble cover is that
they can blow off or away in heavy winds. Also, as you remove the
cover the dirt either falls into the pool or stay on the cover,
meaning you have to spread the cover out and clean the cover as well
as the pool. Taking the cover off and putting it back on can be a
real chore. Sunlight and chemicals make the plastic brittle, causing
the bubbles to collapse and sending little bits of blue plastic into
the pool and circulation system. Bubble covers are only good for
their thermal properties.
Installation of bubble covers is very easy.
Measure the pool or spa and buy a cover that of a size larger than
you actually need. Lay the cover out on the water surface and leave
it giving the material time to relax to its full size in the sun and
to shrink for two or three days You can remove it to use the pool or
spa during this period, but the idea is to allow shrinkage. Now cut
the cover to fit the water surface size of the pool or spa using
scissors, or a razor knife. Always cut less rather than more for you
can not replace what has been already cut.
Roller system eases the handling of a bubble
cover, which might require lifting, folding cutting into two pieces
or finding a place to put it. The cover is attached with straps to
the barrel of the roller. When the barrel is rotated the straps roll
up first and then reel in the rest of the cover until it is wrapped
neatly around barrel.
Foam covers are sheets of lightweight
compressed foam (1/8-inch thick) that float on the surface of the
pool or spa. Because foam is much more expensive than bubble
plastic, they are mostly used for spas. installation is the same as
with bubble covers.
Sheet vinyl are like bubble covers without the
bubbles. They are very cheap but do not have good insulation neither
do they float well on water. Sheet vinyl covers need to be anchor on
the deck. A higher grade variation of the vinyl cover is a
heavy-duty material reinforced with wire to make them kid-proof.
These too, are hooked onto fittings in the deck. A vinyl cover is
the best way to maintain crystal clear pool water through the winter
months. Heavy-duty vinyl covers are , durable and will last for many
Electric cover is heavy and strong, it is made
of sheet vinyl with thread or fabric and it is rolled up on a roller
that is operated by a motor. It is often concealed under the deck or
in a bench-box at one end. The cover material is stretched between
tracks or rollers on the edge of the coping and a motor-driven
pulley system to roll it up on a barrel roller. The manufacturer
sell and service them. They protect, save, and insulate, and, best
of all, they keep dirt and debris out of the water. Also you have to
cleanup the debris from top of it before removing the cover.
They are made of close woven mesh, mesh being
made of plastic strips and reinforced with steel or other wires
running in crisscross patterns within the fabric. Installation is a
series of hooks and eyes on the cover and deck that secure the unit
in place. The cover does not touch water, it lets rain through but
not leaves and debris. It is designed for security. Water
evaporation can take place through these cover.
Spa covers are same material as pool covers,
but due to small size of spas creative designs and materials are
coming up as spa covers. Spa covers retain water heat, keep out
dirt, leaves and debris. It ensures safety. Here are few materials
used for spa covers.
A wooden cover for a spa that sits on the deck
over the top of the spa. They are sturdy and mostly made in two
sections for easier handling and storage. Redwood, cedar, or other
hardwoods are used for a wood cover. varnishing is needed if pine or
fir wood is used for the rot easily. Use stainless steel or bronze
nails and screws that won't rust. It is advisable not to paint wood
covers, the heat and chemicals peel the paint rapidly.
Reinforced Upholstered Foam
Reinforced upholstered foam covers are made
from Styrofoam that is framed with plastic or aluminum and covered
with plastic or fabric. Foam covers are more popular than wood
covers. This type of cover consists of two sections that is
connected with fabric hinge. They are lighter and expensive than
Wood and Foam
Wood and foam covers are made from reinforced
upholstered foam and redwood slats. The wood slats provide rigid
safety, without the weight of the wood and the foam connects the
wood slats and provides insulation. You can roll it up for removal
Winter Covers should be safe, sturdy, durable
and should last for many years. You can use any of the above
mentioned covers. A poly mesh cover with vinyl sheet cover are good
enough. Even heavy-duty vinyl covers by themselves maintain clean
pools through out the winter.