Can a Pool Pump Run With the Solar Cover On?

The pool of your dreams is now in your backyard and you could not be happier. It’s beautiful, it’s crystal blue, it’s squeaky clean, and it’s….cold. You need a solar cover on your pool to warm it up a bit, but will this interfere with the pool pump? 

In general, there should be no interference with your pump while keeping the solar cover on your pool. The solar cover is too thick to get sucked into the pump and too large to fit down into any part of it. Enjoy a warm pool, but also enjoy a clean one at the same time. 

Thankfully, for those of you worrying about the safety of using a solar cover while running your pool pump, your worry is all for nothing. Continue reading to understand why solar covers and pool pumps work so well together and all the different benefits of using a solar cover for your pool. 

Can You Use Solar Covers and Pool Pumps at the Same Time? 

Whether you have an above ground or inground pool, you have to have filters. These filters grab all the junk from your water and take it through the pump to be cleaned and put back into your pool free of debris. I cannot tell you how many times I have found a stray toy, lost hat, or deflated flat in the filter itself. This may alarm new pool owners, but what is so great about the filter is that it keeps all those big items away from your pump so no damage is done. 

One of the biggest concerns when using a solar cover is the worry that the pool pump will suck the cover into the filter and cause damage to the pump itself. If you are using a good-quality solar cover, it will be thick and really quite solid on a surface level, so you can use them simultaneously.

Because of the thickness of the solar cover, it makes it next to impossible for your pump to suck it through the filter. There is enough pressure to pull in smaller, lighter items into the filter, but not something like a solar cover. Because it expands a long distance, you should not have to worry about this at all.

Other than the worry of the cover potentially being sucked into your filter, there are no other major issues that should cause your solar cover and pool pump to become enemies. Your solar cover can remain in the pool as long as you like while the pool pump still does its job without interference. It will still be able to clean the pool without issue and when you pool the cover off, your water will be as sparkling clean as it would have been without the cover. 

What are the Benefits of Using a Solar Cover on Your Pool?

If you are new in the world of owning your own pool, there can be a lot of questions that pop up. When considering using a solar cover, you might wonder what the benefits are of using it. Fortunately, there are plenty.

A few of the main benefits of using a solar cover include added heat retention, retained water levels, and reduced debris. A solar cover on your pool can also help to save costs on reduced chemical usage due to a more consistently clean pool.  

These, among other benefits, can be pretty persuasive in the argument to invest in a solar cover. Plus, since a pool pump can be run with a solar cover on, you should have no issues there. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the benefits of using a solar cover on your pool.

Heat Retention 

Truly, there is nothing worse than dipping your toes into an ice bath rather than a nice warm oasis of a pool. The main, and many times the only, reason people invest in solar covers is to keep their pool water warm rather than inviting guests over to participate in a group deep-freeze. No one likes a freezing cold pool unless they’re jumping as a dare or for charity and more times than not, you are likely doing neither of these in your backyard. 

Solar covers are great because they are a relatively inexpensive way of heating your pool without having to have some sort of formal heating system actually set up. They can be used for above ground or even inground pools and do wonders to increase your pool’s overall temperature. A solar cover can increase your pool’s overall temperature by an average of 5 degrees every 12 hours! Talk about turning up the heat, people! 

It is important to note that all solar covers are not made alike. Many people are duped into buying dark solar covers with thoughts that the dark color is going to attract heat and thus heat their pool at a faster rate. However, the dark color absorbs the heat but does a poor job retaining the heat which is needed for sufficient heating. Many covers also do not have bubbles on them which are major players in attracting the sun and transferring its heat to your water. 

A light-colored, clear cover with bubbles on its surface is going to be your best bet to allow UV rays to pass through and heat your water up. This type of solar cover is going to give you the most heat for your buck. If you find one that is clear on top with dark bubbles on the bottom, this is also a great option that will retain heat well but will also transfer heat into the water without a problem.

Solar covers not only heat your pool, but as mentioned earlier, they need to be good at retaining that heat. No matter how hot it is where you live, night comes and it gets much cooler than in the hot midday sun. This is the time when all the heat flies out of your pool like bats from a cave and it’s the main culprit for a cold pool. When you keep the solar cover on, it retains the heat absorbed throughout the day giving you a warm pool come morning. 

Retain Water Levels 

Heat is the main purpose for solar covers, but one extra feature of these covers is they help to retain water levels. Have you ever looked at your pool after a few weeks of no use and wonder where all the water went? No one has been swimming in it, therefore, no water has run over the edge, no title waves have crashed over the sides, and no splash fights have drained it out. Where on earth has all the water gone then? 

When you leave your pool’s surface uncovered, evaporation occurs. This is a basic scientific explanation, but let me indulge you: when the sun beams down on your pool, water is turned into a gas and is thus evaporated into the air. No, the entire pool is not sucked up within a day, but little by little you are going to notice that the water levels in your pool are going down and it isn’t due to a rowdy pool crowd. 

By keeping a solar cover on your pool, you are able to keep the water protected from evaporation and your water levels remain consistent when the pool is not being used. No more having to top off your pool every five days and restart the warming process all over again. You are able to save time and money by using the solar cover as a barrier against the sun’s harsh vaporizing rays. 

By keeping your water in, you are also able to retain all those necessary chemicals that keep your pool going strong. The evaporation of water also means the evaporation of chemicals which can throw off the balance of your water’s levels. 

Chemicals are expensive and when they head to the air rather than to your water, your wallet is going to see the problem. Keep your chemicals a bit longer by using a solar cover. Your budget will thank you. 

Reduce Debris 

Years ago my parents had a pool smack in the center of two monstrous willow trees. The set up was truly beautiful: the breeze would blow and the willow vines would lick over the water as gently as a feather and return back to their relaxed positions near their truck. 

It was blissful to be in that pool among the trees, but it made for a monumental clean up when it came to the pool. Let’s just say- that pool pump worked hard. Leaves were constantly falling into the pool day and night, it was a complete nightmare. 

My parents did not have a permanent cover for the pool and nighttime was one of the biggest contributors to their leaf problem. They did, however, have a solar cover. The water was a bit chilly so they put the cover on one day and left it overnight. The next day they woke up to a pool nearly free of leaves and debris, truly, it was like Christmas morning! Although the main purpose of the cover was to heat the pool, it also acted as a fantastic barrier for debris. 

Keeping your pool free of bugs and other gunk is not a solar cover’s main job, but it will keep your pool much cleaner than if you were not to use it. Think of it as a loose lid for your pool. There are going to be days when a few things here and there are able to make their way in, but overall, it does an outstanding job keeping unwanted polluters out of your pool and away from your filter. 

Much of the debris kept from your pool accumulates on the top of the solar cover, so be sure to remove it carefully when the time comes. Be sure to remove it slowly and as evenly as possible to prevent this from happening. Either way, you will appreciate the reduced debris as an added benefit of using a solar cover- plus the resources you will save from not having to clean it so often.

Not only will your solar cover help to reduce the debris that is entering into your pool, but your pool pump can run at the same time. So, you are sure to approach a warm, clean pool- the perfect setup for a summer’s day.

Jed Arnold

Jed spent every year from the ages of 15 - 22 as a Lifeguard (Red Cross) and ages of 17 - 22 as a Certified Pool Operator (CPO). Between working for over a dozen facilities and owning a pool, he carries over a decade of pool experience.

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