Gather Some Thermal Warmth for Your Pool
When winter’s cold, icy “hands” grip the country, the benefits of using a thermal cover to maintain the temperature of the water in your swimming pool should not be ignored. However, very little attention is given to our swimming pools in winter. After all, it is too cold to swim and too costly to heat the pool in winter. If the pool is heated, the heat loss is, in any case too high to make it worthwhile… Or is it?
This is where a thermal pool cover can change the way we view our pools in winter – and at other times of the year. A good quality thermal cover is a beautiful and logical addition to every pool, whether indoors or outdoors, and whether it is heated or not.
The benefits of thermal pool covers are well-known. The primary benefits are heat creation and heat retention, resulting in lower energy costs and less evaporation of pool water, leading to lower chemical costs. So as the cost to heat, fill and balance our water continues to rise, it becomes clear that pool covers serve a necessary function and are here to stay.
Thermal pool covers are light and easy to use, being simply placed on the surface of the water. No other user intervention is required at all. Under normal sunny conditions in summer, the thermal cover will increase water temperature by up to 8 ºC.
Where the pool is heated, the use of a thermal cover will greatly assist in heat retention, by preventing heat transference into the colder surrounding air. This obviously means warmer water while less energy is used in constantly heating the water. In the case of an indoor pool, the cover also assists in greatly reducing condensation while retaining heat, allowing the pool heating system to work less often and more efficiently. A heated pool with a thermal cover is a winning combination – warmer water in a cleaner pool while less energy and cost is spent in heating the water.
Indoor pools in places such as gyms, training centres and homes can be maintained at ideal temperatures of between 25 to 27 ºC, using a combination of pool heating and a thermal pool cover. In America, USA Swimming trains its swimmers within this temperature range which is considered to provide the optimum conditions under which to train.
Here in South Africa, the University of Pretoria has covered its 50 metre outdoor Olympic pool with PowerPlastics thermal covers.
“These covers are a major plus, allowing the pool temperature to be kept at 26 degrees.,” says André Roberts of the university
“We open the pool between 6 am until 8 am, and again from 3 pm to about 7 pm for the serious swimmers to train. At all other times, the pool remains covered to retain the heat generated by the pool heating system.”
With the rise in water temperature and the arrival of hot summer conditions, evaporation will increase noticeably, especially in windy areas. Here the thermal cover once again proves its worth. The cover will greatly assist in reducing evaporation by as much as 90 percent, as a covered surface is naturally less prone to water loss than an open area. This evaporation will be increased in windy areas and in instances where the pool is heated and uncovered.
Thermal covers can be fitted to all shapes and sizes of swimming pools. For larger pools a rollup station can be provided to allow the cover to be easily utilised and to provide a neat storage facility when not in use.
This article originally appeared in the September 2007 issue of NSPI Swimming Pools & Spas.