solar pool cover for kidney-shaped pool


I'm thinking of buying a solar pool cover for our swimming pool. I understand that these work by cutting the evaporation (there's some useful info at http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic140). But our pool is kidney-shaped, and it's not clear to me whether it would be better to
(1) cut the cover to the shape of the pool, or
(2) keep the cover rectangular, but don't cover all the water.
Are there durability issues if I do (1)? From what I've read, it should buy a reel to make it easier to put on and take off. I'm concerned that using the cover every day during the cooler season would mean that the wider parts of the cover would rub on the narrower parts of the pool as I reel it back and forth, and wear it out (more!) quickly.
It's also unclear to me how well I can fit it when I do the cutting, and whether a little excess cover or a little open water is better (or maybe this doesn't make much difference).
Mike
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I dunno on this one but I would say cut the cover.
As far as a reel or no reel depends on how much cover/pool we are talking about. If is small enough you could probably just fold it a few times and lift it out (we used to do this at my parents before they got a reel.)
I dont see how much harm it would do if you did reel it though.. Those are pretty flexible...
I would cut it as close as you can get it..it is a pain if it is cut big but if it is a hair small you wont lose that much heat.
Hope this helps
Josh
snipped-for-privacy@ldc.upenn.edu wrote:

http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic140).
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They also gain solar heat, esp clear vs blue covers like the $75 No. 441428 14'x28' version from solarcovers.com (800) 433-4701.

How about
(3) keep the cover rectangular, but cover all the water?
The extra solar collecting area will help by keeping the ground warmer. You might buy 2 covers and cut the bottom one to fit the pool and pump water up over that part and let it drain back into the pool during the day.
Nick
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snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote in wrote:

Bad idea(3). The part of the cover overlapping the sides of the pool will catch the wind and it will get blown off or out of position.
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An owner/tinkerer might find a way to prevent that. Another option is be no cutting, except for a hole in the center of the bottom cover.
Nick
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In alt.solar.thermal snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

Clear is better? Why are most of them blue then, just appearance?

Cut it to fit the kidney. When you get ready to roll it up, flip the excess part onto the main part, and roll. Don't drag it around the bulge, and don't leave a big area of uncovered water.
I would definitely get a reel, if the cover is too large to handle easily by yourself. Our 12x32 cover was a chore to take off and put on. It's no big deal with the reel. We have one area that sticks out, and I just fold that in before I reel it up.

The portion of the cover that is not in contact with water would overheat and ruin the bubbles.
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Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley Lake, CA, USA GPS: 38.8,-122.5
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Yeah. Dumb.

Maybe you missed the part about pumping water over the bottom cover, or you don't know that polyethylene film is transparent to UV, which limits the max temp.
Nick
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In alt.solar.thermal snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

I did miss the construction of this two cover arrangement. Describe that in a little more detail, if you don't mind.

The cover seems to be damaged by exposure to the sun in a short period of time. The covers come with opaque white sheets that are supposed to be put over the cover when it is off the pool. The little bubbles seem to overheat and distort.
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Thermal insulation is the main function of a "solar blanket." Evaporation occurs mainly in direct sunlight.

1. The cheaper solar blankets do not last long, 4 to 7 years, before the plastic developes holes. 2. Friction damage is reduced by (a) storing the blanket on a roller, (b) elevating the roller a foot higher than the rim of the pool.

1. Float the blanket on the water. 2. Decide how to fasten the blanket to the roller, i.e. position the roller conveniently and measure how long the various straps should be. There should be a strap or connector every three feet or so. 3. Secure the blanket to the roller and confirm that it the roller spools up freely. The lumpier it is, the more height you will need; but the blanket will roll up smoothly when excess material is removed and the lengths of the straps are exact. 4. Float the blanket on the water and cut off the excess, to fit the pool.
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Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
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Don Phillipson wrote:

FWIW, from my observation it occurs when the water is warmer than the air, including at night. It's obvious in the early morning, when the sun's rays are nearly horizontal, and I can see the mist rising up. The humidity of the air is probably a factor, too--I suppose the evaporation is more obvious when the air is humid, but occurs at least as much (maybe more) when the air is dry.

The lumpier what is? I guess you mean that if the blanket isn't rectangular, the rolled up blanket will have "troughs" where parts have been cut away?

Thanks for the tips!
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My roller is about 3 feet from the end of the pool, out over the water, so the cover doesn't drag at all. Then the reel rolls out of the way. http://www.feherguard.com/_newpages_/prodinground.html#blankeyhandplusanch

The stupid straps rot out every year. I would expect that a product designed to be used on a pool would withstand sun and chlorine better than this strapping does. And it's an odd size which weaves through the attachment plates, so I can't readily substitute some other material.

Leave the cover cut a little large for a few days. It will expand some, and it's easier to cut it again that to glue it back together. ;-)
The loss by having it too small is one factor, but you also don't want to have enough open water for wind to get under the edge of the blanket. Keeping it close to the wall, maybe under the lip of the pool edge, keeps the wind out.
I have purchased some products from http://www.aqua-pool-warehouse.com / That's not where I got the solar reel with the rotting straps.
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snipped-for-privacy@ldc.upenn.edu wrote:

http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic140).
most every day. By all means cut it. It's pretty easy and will loo better. Also it will cover the surface better.

I'd buy a reaal, but don't worry about it wearing out from rubbing. Mine rubbed everytime I realed it in. They always wore out due to UV light and chlorine eventually destroying the plastic. I found that a 5 year blanket lasted 5 years. I'd buy the thickest they make. I always mail ordered mine. A lot cheaper than the local pool place.

I've cut it too short more than once. Unless its really bad, i really doubt you'd see any difference. When I cut mine it cut it too big then when back later and trimmed it up.
I found the greatest benefit of these things is preventing heat loss at night. It helps durring the day too, but I found that it kept in more heat during the night than it generated during the day, but that was in Oregon were the nights get cool even if it gets in the 80's during the day.
Tom
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