There are several types of above-ground pool covers available, each one having a specific purpose. The benefits of a pool cover will differ according to the type of cover you choose. For example:
Above Ground Solar Covers
An above-ground solar cover is normally used in the early spring and fall, often in conjunction with a pool heater. A solar cover is like "bubble wrap" for your pool. It generally consists of two layers of vinyl separated by pockets of air.
During the day a solar cover may raise the water temperature a few degrees, but the real benefit comes at night when the air layer acts as insulation to keep in the heat that was generated during the day. This type of cover is not suitable for a winter cover.
Advantages: Will help retain heat, prevent evaporation and maintain the chemical balance in your pool; easy to put on and take off – often used with a solar cover reel.
Disadvantages: Will does not keep debris out of the pool; is not a safety cover – will not prevent drowning of animals or children.
Solid Above Ground Pool Covers
Made from single or multiple layers of vinyl, solid pool covers prevent leaves, twigs and other debris from getting into your pool water. In addition, by blocking out all sunlight, they help prevent algae growth, evaporation, and deterioration of pool chemicals. Solid pool covers have a long life expectancy; the better the cover quality, the longer the lifespan. These covers are kept on the pool by means of water bags or other weights, clips, or a wrap. The challenge here is to keep the cover on despite high winds or other storm conditions.
Advantages: Provides a closed environment that keeps out debris and pollution, deters the growth of algae, and maintains the integrity of pool chemicals.
Disadvantages: These covers will accumulate water that creates a safety and health hazard. Options for resolving this are 1) mesh panels in the cover that allow standing water to drain into the pool or; 2) a pool cover pump. Will not prevent drowning.