Savvy pool owners know that a solar cover can help save a lot of money and eliminate some of the routine maintenance that typically goes hand-in-hand with pool ownership. The concept is pretty simple: a solar cover helps retain the warmth of your pool water and keeps excess debris out.
Solar covers are a great investment. They aren’t too expensive and they can help save you time and money. Still, a lot of people have questions about solar covers and whether you can run your pump while one is on. It’s an important question because you can never be too careful when it comes to your pump and filtration system.
However, before we answer this question it would be helpful to understand the purpose of your pool’s pump.
What Does a Pool Pump Do?
The basic purpose of a pool pump is to keep the water circulating. This is important for a few different reasons:
- Good water circulation will help distribute chemicals evenly and keep your pool clean.
- A properly functioning pool pump is essential for circulating debris into the filtration baskets and system.
- The pump creates movement in the water. Without this movement, the water would stagnate and become prone to bacteria and algae growth.
In essence, your pool pump is responsible for keeping your pool clean, healthy and swimmable.
What Does a Solar Cover Do?
A lot of people think that a solar cover works the same as a traditional pool cover. However, solar covers have a more specialized purpose. First of all, some pool covers sit above the surface of the water without making any contact.
A solar cover is designed to actually lie on the surface of the water. There are a few key benefits to using a solar cover:
- A solar cover will absorb the sun’s heat during the day and transfer it directly to the surface of the water because it is lying right on top of it.
- Solar covers will also help limit evaporation. This can be a huge benefit for pool owners who don’t want to spend a bunch of money on their water bill filling up their pools too often. Solar covers protect the pool from direct sun exposure and therefore limit water evaporation.
- Perhaps the most obvious benefit of using a solar cover is reduced maintenance. Like a regular pool cover, a solar cover will help keep debris out of your pool. This is also good for your filter since it won’t have to work so hard.
- These types of covers are also helpful for keeping critters out of your pool. Small animals like to use your pool as a drinking fountain. This may be unsanitary and very bad news for your filter because some of these smaller animals drink too greedily and end up drowning.
- Chemical loss is also a problem in hot winter months when pool water is evaporating rapidly. Solar covers can help preserve the pH balance of your pool by stymying this evaporation.
- Since a solar cover will help keep your pool warmer in general, you can get more use out of your pool during the fall and winter months.
Can you Use Both a Solar Cover and Pump Together?
The short answer is yes. It is perfectly safe to run your pool pump while you have a solar cover on. The pump only affects water beneath the surface. Since the solar cover sits at the surface, this means that it will not affect the performance of the pump.
In fact, most outdoor spas are built with a cover that is meant to stay on while the pump is working. The longer answer however, is that you should be careful when putting the solar cover on.
Remember that one of the functions of a pool pump is to circulate the water so that debris can be filtered out. If you throw your solar cover on your pool when there are a bunch of leaves and twigs floating on the surface, this debris may get stuck. When you lift the cover back up, you might still see all this debris still floating around in your pool.
For this reason, it is a good idea to skim the surface of your pool before you put the solar cover on. You won’t have to worry too much about debris at the bottom since the pump and filter will take care of it – although it’s never a bad idea to run your pool vacuum along the bottom to help the filter out.
Using a solar cover while your pool’s pump is running is perfectly safe. Just be sure to keep an eye on your pool and keep it clean as possible. Invest in a good skimmer to help the filter out and be sure to put your cover on carefully.