“How much does it weigh?” is a question we are often asked about our swimming pool covers. This is often because the pool owner wants to take the cover abroad and the next thing they want to know is how big is the cover when it is all packed up. So here is the answer.
A swimming pool summer cover weighs between 360 and 570 grams per square metre. We sell seven different types of summer cover and the table below lists the weights for each type and also tells you the weight for 3 typical pool sizes.
Pool Cover Type
Weight per m2
Weight 24ft x 12ft pool
Weight 30ft x 15ft pool
Weight 40ft x 20ft pool
400 micron Blue/Silver – bubble
500 micron Blue/Gold – bubble
500 micron Geobubble Sol + Guard – bubble
500 micron Geobubble Energy Guard – bubble
600 micron Geobbubble Blue/Silver – bubble
6mm Thermalux – foam
12mm Thermalux – foam
Classic winter pool cover*
Superweb winter pool cover*
Solar pool cover are folded and rolled up to a cylinder and wrapped in heavy duty plastic. The package is typically 6ft (1.8m) high and about 18 inches (450mm) in diameter. Here is a photo of a typical cover wrapped up and ready to send.
This is a typical pool cover wrapped up in heavy duty plastic and ready to be shippedWhen it comes to winter cover
*This is the weight for the winter cover. When ordering a winter cover remember that they come with a set of spring clip fixings and the set will weigh about the same as the cover.
If you need a new television or a new car there are so many to choose from it is difficult to decide which is best for you. Fortunately if you need a new swimming pool roller there are not many to choose from so the decision is made a lot easier.
Is it a roller or a reel?
First off all are we using the correct language in calling it a swimming pool roller? Not really. Strictly speaking a roller is used to roll something flat like a rolling pin for cooking or a garden roller for your lawn. We should really call it a reel because it is used to reel in your cover. But everyone calls it a roller so we will stick with that word.
The component parts of a pool roller.
A pool roller is made up from a long hollow tube that the cover rolls on to. The ends of the hollow tube have and end cap in them to seal them, this is know as the End Boss. The tube is held up by two end stands. The top of end stands look like the letter “Y” and that bit is called the Yoke. The End Boss on the tube fits into the Yoke of the end stand and it rotates in the Yoke. In to the at least one of the End Bosses goes the Steering Wheel, you turn the Steering Wheel to roll up the cover on to the tube. The tube is actually two or three lengths of tube. They overlap each other like a telescope and slide out to the correct width where they are then clamped to each other to fix the width. Between the tube and the cover are a set of webbing straps joining the cover to the tube. When you first turn the wheel the straps pull the cover off the pool and on to the tube.
The straps are fixed to the roller by various means as we will see and the straps fix to the cover usually by the use of male/female plastic poppers and a buckle. The end stand can sit permanently on the side of the pool or it can be on wheels or wheeled castors so you can move the whole roller around. You can un-buckle the straps from the cover and leave the cover on the pool and remove the roller if you wish.
Comparing the Monte Carlo, the Slide Lock and the Economy Reel.
The three main pool rollers on sale in the UK are the known as the Monte Carlo, the Slide Lock and the Economy Reel.
The Monte Carlo
The Slide Lock
The Economy Reel
The Economy reel is imported in to the UK we believe from the Czech Republic. It has wheels (not castors) on the bottom of one end stand a “T” bar at the other end. It has one Steering Wheel and is suitable for pools up to 15ft wide. It has two smooth tubes and the straps fix with a self tapping screw. Not the most robust construction but it is a very good roller for small pools.
The Slide Lock Roller is made in the UK. A very popular roller seen on very many pools. It comes with a choice of many types of end stands for floor or wall mounting but the most popular is the free standing version that can have castors fitted. They are made from 1.5 inch stainless steel with a plain plastic yoke. The tubes are aluminium with two larger ones sliding into a central smaller one. It has groove within it and in the groove is a plastic fitting to take the cover strap. It slides and clamps where you want it. The tubes fix to each other with a small screw.
The Monte Carlo Roller is also made in the UK. Fairly new to the market it has taken over from the Slide Lock as the highest quality roller and is gaining in popularity. The end stands are made from 1.75mm stainless steel. A quarter of an inch might not sound like much but it makes them much more robust than the other two. The yoke is very sturdy and has a roller bearing within it to make rolling smoother. The aluminium tubes are a set of three like the slide lock but they fix together with a clever clamping system inside a groove which is better than the Slide Lock’s system but in the same groove goes the fixing for the cover strap. If you want to move the position of a cover strap you may have to take out a tube clamp, slide the strap fixing past, and then put the tube fixing back on. More fiddly than the slide lock but a more robust system.
Yoke from the Slide Lock
Yoke from the Monte Carlo
For small pools and small budgets choose the Economy Reel. At the top end of the market it is a fight between the Slide Lock and the Monte Carlo. The Monte Carlo is a bit more fiddly to set up but wins out in the end because of its more robust manufacture and its clever design features.
We are often asked why has my swimming pool’s bubble cover started to degrade? The usual pattern is that you find little bits of white plastic floating in your pool water. You wonder where they have come from and eventually find that they are from the underside of your pool cover. The bottom of the bubble has degraded and fallen off.
A typical failure looks something like the image below.
Typical break up of a pool cover
The material becomes brittle and the cover literally falls apart. This type of failure happens when either the cover has reached the end of its useful lifespan or something has happened to shorten its lifetime.
The plastic that the cover is made from contains antioxidants and chemicals to protect it from breakdown by UV light from the sun. These chemicals don’t last forever and as the cover ages so these chemicals get used up. Either the oxidisers in the pool water will break the plastic down or the UV light from the sun will. Or a combination of both.
This process should happen after about 6 years but sometimes it happens after only a few years. Why is this? In almost every case it is because of chemical attack on the plastic from the pool water. Excess chlorine in the pool water, whether for a prolonged period or intermittent periods, will attack the stabilisers and and deplete them in advance of their usual lifespan. Once the UV stabiliser is depleted by the chlorine the sunlight will finish off the job of breaking down the plastic.
What can I do to prevent this happening?
Many pool owners say that they do have too much chlorine in the pool and this may be so for most of the time but if you shock dose the pool and put the cover on straight away you will harm the cover. Sometimes you get high levels of chlorine under the cover but don’t realise you have done it.
Pool covers come with solar protection sheets to cover them when they are off the pool. These should always be used.
Roll the cover off the pool so that the bubbles are down. That way the sun can’t shine on them.
Are some covers better than others?
Yes. The higher the grade of material used the longer the life span of the cover. Three grades are available 400, 500 and 600 micron. This refers to the thickness of the material, the thicker the better.
The new Geobubble Swimming Pool Covers will last much longer not only because they are made from 500 and 600 grade but the additives are better and the shape of the bubble is such that it does not have weak corners that are always the first to fail.
So to summarise.
Don’t let the cover come in to contact with high chlorine levels when shocking
Make sure you don’t accidentally over chlorinate and if you do take the cover off
Up until now there had only been one fundamental type of summer pool cover available now, for the first time, pool owners can choose between two types.
Swimming pool summer covers are often called “bubble covers” because they look very much like a sheet of bubble wrap. In fact the machinery used to make bubble wrap is also used to make swimming pool covers. These machines produce a cylindrical bubble that is prone to weakness on the corners and leaves limited room for air expansion inside.
The traditional bubble
After many years of research Plastipac, the manufacturer, have come up with a new type of bubble that they say will change the way pool covers are made. The new bubble looks like two bubbles joined together. This does away with the weak points of the traditional bubble making much longer lasting as well as giving more room for the air inside to expand. They have also improved the additive in the cover used to protect it against UV light and chemical attack. So confident are they in their new material they have given it a 6 year warranty. That is a pro rata warranty but all cover warranties are pro rata.
The new Geobubble design
The geobubble is available on two types of material. The curiously named Sol + Guard material is a clear material and 500 microns thick. This clear material is the best for “solar gain” , that is gaining extra heat in the water due to the sun shining down on it. It is not so good at retaining the heat at night. Very many of these covers are sold overseas to places with sunny days and warmer nights. Also available is the 600 micron blue top with silver underside cover. Blue is the traditional colour choice for most pool owners and the silver underside reflects the heat back in to the pool at night and so tends to be more popular in cooler climates (like the UK).
So you have bought an above ground pool for the garden, you have errected it and filled it with water – what now?
Well, first of all jump in and enjoy it! But you will need chemicals to keep the water clean and maybe you will want to warm the water up as well. This article will tell you what you should get.
Firstly when we say above ground pool for the garden we mean this sort of thing.
An Intex 16ft round Ultra Frame Pool
An Intex 18ft Easy Set Pool
A pool with its own filter pump and paper filter cartridges. Although the pools above are the bigger type the advice here applies just as well to a pools down to 8ft round.
Keeping it clean
You are going to need to put chemicals in the water to keep it clean. The easiest way to treat the pool with chemicals is just to drop a floating dispenser in the water. The Ficlor 5 Bouy is ideal. Turn the lid until the holes line up for your size of pool, drop it in the water and that is it. Take it out when you swim, put it back in when you have finished. Inside the 5 bouy are two types of chlorine and a clarifier to kill bacteria and algae and help the filter keep the water clear and clean.
The 5 bouy is ideal for the smallest pools up to about an 18ft round pool. From about a 15ft pool up to the biggest garden pools available you might want to put multifunctional granules in the pool. The granules come in 5kg tub and one tub should last a whole season. The granules contain chlorine to kill bacteria, an algicide and a clarifier to keep the water clear and clean. You will have to test the water to find out how much chlorine is in there and for that you need some 3 way test strips. They also test for pH (acidity) and alkalinity. For a small pool you don’t need to worry too much about the other two. Putting chlorine in a pool is a bit like putting petrol in a car, when the fuel gauge is low you put more in. Test your pool every day and when the reading is low put more chlorine in.
Multifunctional Chlorine Granules
3 Way Test Strips
Fi-Chlor 5 Bouy
Keeping it warm
Left alone the water in your pool will warm up and cool down each day with the warmth of the day and the cool of night and as the weather generally gets warmer so will the pool. If you want warmer water than nature gives you then the first thing to buy is a solar cover. This is made with bubbles to make it float on the surface, it insulates the water and has a greenhouse effect of letting the sun’s ray penetrate to warm the water but retaining the heat at the same time. A good solar cover will keep the water about 3 to 5c higher than it would have been without one but the water temperature will still rise and fall with day and night and warm and cool weather.
If you want your water to always be warm no matter what the weather then you will have to have a heater as well as a solar cover. For pools up to 12ft this is quite easy. You can buy the Intex 3kw heater or the better quality Elecro 3kw heater. 3kw is as much as you can run from a plug socket in the wall so the 3kw heater is a popular size. If your pool is bigger than 12ft then you should buy the 6 or 9kw heater. These have to wired in by an electrician. Above 9kw you will struggle to have enough electric capacity in your house for a bigger heater. Once you get in to the realms of the 12ft x 24ft you should be thinking about a heat pump. These things consume less than 3kw and so can be plugged in to the wall but they generate up to 12kw of heat. Although they are much more expensive than an Elecro heater they will pay back in electricity savings in two years or less.
Intex 3kw Heater
Elecro Heater 3 to 12kw
Ecowarm Heat Pump
See the next article for how to connect a heater to the flexible pipe of your pool (if there is no article below this then the link to it is above the title of this article).