How To Install A Solar Pool Cover

Posted on: 25 August 2017


When you install a pool later in the summer, a solar pool cover can extend the swimming season without the hassle and cost of a heat pump. Standard pool covers only keep debris out, but they don't trap heat.

Solar pool covers are made from polyethylene, and the bottom commonly has tiny bubbles on the bottom which resemble bubble wrap. You should be able to install the solar pool cover yourself using this guide.

Make Preparations to Install the Pool Cover

To complete the installation, you need:

  • work gloves
  • tape measure
  • scissors
  • marker or crayon
  • rubber mallet 
  • winter seal

Measure the length and width of a rectangular or oval pool at the widest and longest parts. To measure a round pool or other shape, measure the length across the widest point between two walls and the longest point between two walls; ensuring the tape measure cross exactly in the center.  

Add six feet to compensate for shrinkage. You may not find a cover the exact size, but try to get it close a possible to the measurements, and cut it to size. 

Trim and Install the Cover

Get an assistant to help you spread the pool cover over the pool with the smooth side up, and remove wrinkles. Leave the cover on the pool a day or two, so it can settle. Use a crayon or marker to mark the sides of the pool, allowing for the extra length, if desired.  

Remove the cover, and lay it on a flat surface to avoid tearing the liner. Avoid cutting the cover on grass or vegetation, since the enhanced sun from the cover can kill plants. Make the first cut a general size cut without trimming too much, then a more detailed second cut. 

Place the cover back on the pool, grab on end and have your assistant hold the other end as you pull it. Lay the cover back on the pool, and fold it using the accordion method, or rolling it in up in increments of one foot. Installing the cover using the accordion method helps make removing it easier,

Store the Cover

Use a pool cover reel from a pool supply shop to store the cover while you swim. Pool cover reels come in hand-cranked, semi-automatic, and automatic. 

To operate the reel, connect the closest end of the pool to the reel rod, and secure the reel with the strap. Roll up the cover by cranking the handle, and push the free end out of the way. Place a winter seal around an above-ground pool to better protect it against weather.