Solar covers come in different shapes and sizes and are offered for inground and above ground pools alike. Many homeowners simply buy an amount larger than their pool and then cut it to fit the exact shape and size of the pool.
Solar covers most often contain air pockets or bubbles that capture heat from the sun's rays and send the heat to water in your pool. Most solar covers are made out of a synthetic polyethylene material and most are a transparent blue, while others are offered in darker colors including gray. They have many benefits and some estimate that it can increase a pool's water temperature by 10-15 degrees.
Solar pool covers can help the water retain heat during cool nights. By acting as an insulator they minimize the amount of heat that can escape from a pool when the weather is cool. Solar covers also lessen the amount of water that will evaporate from your pool, which will also help reduce heat loss.
Solar blankets are often placed on a reel which can cover or be removed electronically or manually. Some are sold with the reel on wheels for easy maneuverability. Solar covers should be put on a pool throughout the night and can be put on during the day when the pool is not being used.
Solar blankets can save pool owners money by decreasing how much they spend on replenishing water and decrease the amount of work and energy required by your pool's heater.
A recent innovation in pool covers is the liquid cover. Once you place them in a pool, they create an undetectable blanket on the water's surface that acts in a similar way to solar blankers, but are still less effective. They won't harm the swimmers in your pool and you won't have the hassle off taking off and outing on a large blanket. The overall cost is more in comparison to a polyethylene blanket and isn't as effective, but they are very practical.
Solar covers are normally not fastened down and because they float on top of the water. They are not designed to protect children or small animals from entering into a pool. As well, a person should remove the entire solar cover before ever entering a pool, because getting trapped under a partially removed solar blanket is very dangerous.
An above ground solar cover (24' round) averages around $80, while an inground rectangular cover (18x36) averages around $120.