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To understand what color is "best", one needs to understand what effect(s) a blanket has on a pool.

First, a blanket prevents heat loss through evaporation. All covers are equal at that task. Secondly, a blanket prevents heat loss through insulation (this effect only works at night, when the pool water is warmer than the surrounding air). For this, again color doesn't matter, though covers with embedded air bubbles are more effective.

Finally, a cover can add to heat production via sunlight. Here is where color matters. A black cover absorbs more sunlight at the cover itself, making it much hotter. A clear cover lets more through to the pool itself, letting the water absorb the sun's radiation.

So which is more effective? Depends on whether you want "fast" heating or "highest temperature". The black cover will heat a cold pool faster...but will reach a lower overall temperature. This is because the high temperature gradient at the cover itself means increased heat loss due to surface radiation. The clear cover works somewhat slower...but ultimately will reach a higher temperature.

Colors such as blue lie midway between these two effects.

But in the final analysis, the differences between colors are fairly minor. A dark cover will, though, breakdown faster, as its greater absorption breaks down the plastic faster.

Black - Blue-dark - Blue-light - Clear, with Black being most effective, in that order.

But the differences between black and the other types are not very great, so many people make their choice based on other factors:

- appearance (some people don't like the look of a black pool cover)

- cost (some retailers charge different prices)

- availability (some retailers only stock certain colors).

I would say that Blue is probably the most common.

For an opposing viewpoint: During the day, solar energy from the sun heats the pool. You see all sorts of claims from cover manufacturers that their blanket "heat" the pool. This is false. All blankets block some of the solar energy coming from the sun. So which one blocks it the least? According to an unbiased government report I read, clear covers block 5-15% of the sun, while colored ones block 20-40%. So it's clear that clear is the way to go (sorry about the pun). The question then becomes, should I uncover my pool during the day when it is not in use? It depends. On calm, humid days, take it off for maximum heating. On dry, windy days, the evaporation loss out weighs the cover loss, so leave it on. Always leave it on on cloudy days and at night.

Over all I would say black, although any dark color would work, because dark colors absorb more energy unlike light colors that repel. It's kind of like wearing dark clothes in the winter and light clothes in the summer.

Use a clear cover to heat your pool. Use a black cover if you live someplace very hot and you need to cool your pool. A clear cover permits the maximum light in a pool while minimizing the evaporation. A black cover reduces the light that can heat your pool.

The US Department of Energy has a very good page devoted to the subject. They say that the purpose of the pool cover is to permit light into the pool (thus heating) and reduce evaporation.

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βˆ™ 2014-06-20 14:09:53
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Q: What color of solar blanket is most effective at heating a pool?
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