A liquid solar pool cover is an invisible pool cover that can take the place of those bulky bubble wrap covers that can be cumbersome to use.
Those plastic solar covers work great, but because they can be a hassle, a lot of pool owners don’t use them like they should.
That’s where liquid covers come in, which brings us to the first question you are probably asking:
What is a liquid solar pool cover?
A liquid solar pool cover is a monomolecular film-forming liquid and evaporation inhibitors (source).
The liquid is actually a combination of a type of alcohol and calcium hydroxide that’s lighter than water so that it creates a “microscopically thin” film on the pool’s surface.
It’s basically a protective barrier that slows evaporation and holds heat in longer!
This liquid is so thin that you’ll never see or feel it, but it’s always there doing its job.
Are liquid solar covers safe?
There’s very little chemical in a liquid solar cover, making it extremely safe for anyone in the pool.
Studies show that there’s not much to be concerned about as far as this chemical harming humans or animals. And it’s even biodegradable so it’s safe for the environment.
But, just like with any substance, there’s always a chance that someone might be sensitive to it and it could cause irritation.
So, it’s always best to test it out before purchasing a year’s worth of product.
Aside from the safety of the product itself, it’s important to note that unlike a plastic cover, there’s no chance of a child or animal getting trapped underneath.
Also, a plastic cover can create a breeding ground for bacteria and algae. But with a liquid cover, you can still let your pool breathe and reduce this risk.
It’s also 100% safe for your filtration system!
How to use a liquid cover
This is the best part about liquid pool covers: there’s no big floppy piece of plastic to unroll and spread out!
You simply shake the bottle of liquid pool cover and pour in the amount the instructions tell you to.
Usually, you’ll add it weekly and most brands call for about 4 ounces per 20,000 gallons of water.
It’s always best to pour it into the skimmer, but it will work if you add it directly to the water.
Also, you should run your pump while applying it so that it gets distributed properly.
You’ll only need to add it more than once a week during times of very high usage or severe weather conditions. In those cases, twice a week should do the trick.
How well do liquid solar covers work?
Liquid covers are not proven to be quite as proficient as solid covers, but here’s the thing: if you have a hard time making yourself use a plastic cover, a liquid cover is certainly better than nothing.
One study suggests that liquid pool covers average about 14.4% and 15.8% proficiency, as opposed to plastic covers, which proved to be about 95% effective.
But they also noted high winds and inclement weather during the testing, which probably affected the results.
Another report claims that liquid pool covers reduce overnight heat loss by 50%, reduce energy usage by up to 40%, and conserve about 30-50% of the water you would normally use to refill your pool.
That’s pretty effective, especially if you normally do not use a cover at all.
Pros of using a liquid solar cover
Here are some nice benefits of using a liquid pool cover.
- Conserves water. The average pool loses about ¼ inch of water every single day due to evaporation (source). That can amount to up to 20,000 gallons per year! Liquid solar covers reduce evaporation by about 30-50%, which means that you won’t have to refill your pool as often or use as much water.
- Retains heat. Because most of the heat of your pool is lost through evaporation, anything that prevents evaporation will help to keep your pool warmer longer.
- Reduces energy costs. Since a liquid pool cover helps to retain heat, you won’t have to run your pool heater quite as often, which can save you tons of money on electricity or gas.
- You can swim with it. Unlike vinyl or plastic covers, you don’t have to remove a liquid cover while you swim. It is perfectly safe and non-toxic for pets and humans.
- Convenient. Lots of people don’t use their pool covers like they should because, quite frankly, they’re a pain to unroll and place on the pool surface every time it is not in use. A liquid pool cover is simply poured on and it is working around the clock.
Cons of using a liquid solar cover
There are some things you should keep in mind before using a liquid cover, however:
- Less effective. Liquid pool covers are shown to be about 75% less effective than regular bubble solar covers.
- Affected by weather. If you live in windy areas, this probably isn’t the solution for you. The liquid pool cover works because its molecules disperse and then come back together to form one cohesive invisible layer. So, if you live in areas of high winds or heavy rainfall, the cover will be constantly moved around and become less effective.
As you can see, there are some definite advantages to using a liquid solar cover.
If you tend to be lazy about using your plastic solar cover, a liquid cover could be the way to go.
If, however, you live in an area with inclement weather, you’ll probably need a traditional cover, and also some way to secure it to the surface of the water.
But here’s my suggestion: use both.
I definitely think everyone needs some type of traditional pool cover, whether it be vinyl or plastic, because you need to keep it covered as well as you can during periods of light or no use, such as winter or when you’re away from home.
This is to prevent debris and leaves from getting in the pool and causing issues.
I also think you should use your cover as much as you can at night since it is a little more effective than liquid.
However, if you use both, your pool is always protected at least a little.
That way, if you have days where you just forget to put your cover on or you’re just too tired to do one more thing, then you have the peace of mind of knowing that you have some sort of protection on it.
Another thing is that the liquid cover is working 24/7, while a traditional cover can only work when it is in place.
If you’re using both, then the liquid cover is working to retain heat and prevent evaporation while people are swimming, and the traditional cover is doubling the effort while the pool is not in use.
If you are still on the fence about liquid solar pool covers, we suggest just trying it out for a while to see what you think.
It will eventually disintegrate on its own if you decide it’s not working like you want it to, and the product is pretty inexpensive to buy.
Hi, I’m Matt Harper, the founder of poolcareguy.com, a site I started with one simple mission: to help people around the world clean and take care of their pools and hot tubs on their own, without the hassle.
I’m not a professional pool cleaner and don’t have any formal training, I’m just an average guy who loves hanging out by his pool and hot tub and taking care of it. After many years on the job, I’ve become quite good at it.
On this website I will be teaching you absolutely everything I know about pools and hot tubs.