Covering Your Pool
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.
Bubble Solar Covers
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 years.
Electric Cover System
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 covers.
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 and storage.
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.
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