Breathable Pool Covers?

Breathable Pool Covers?

Recently, the industry has seen the introduction of a so-called “breathable pool cover”. At Daisy Pool Covers, we were intrigued by this new pool cover with holes punched in it and thought we would explain what they do and how they work. While many may think that “the latest product is usually the greatest”, we did our homework to discover what makes them different, or not so different to the market leading solar pool covers that Daisy have been producing since 1983.

Taking a close look at this new breed of pool cover, they are designed with holes punched though the cover. The covers benefits claim that when you allow your pool to breath, it results in a  cleaner, longer lasting pool and a healthier swimming environment. What the team at Daisy Pool Covers discovered was no matter what type of pool cover you purchase, there is absolutely no alternative to looking after your pool’s chemical balance and uncovering your pool water once in a while.

The key to longevity in your pool cover, surface and equipment is keeping your chemical balance consistent. If you keep your pool water balanced, as recommended by SPASA Australia, you will not reduce the lifespan of your equipment, pool surface or pool cover. Not only will it save you money in the long run (out of balance water can cause expensive damage to your pool), but your swimming experience will be so much better without your pool being unbalanced or dangerous to swim in.

The Daisy Day was designed to educate pool owners to remove their pool cover to let the pool breathe and test the pool water. This is to ensure pool owners are keeping an eye on their water balance, to make sure there isn’t an imbalance, causing damage to their cover or equipment down the track. The Daisy team works hard to actively promote best practice pool and pool cover usage to prolong the life of all pool surfaces, pool covers, equipment; giving customers the best swimming experience possible.


What does a breathable pool cover do?

A breathable pool cover is meant to release gases from the pool water into the air through tiny holes punched into the pool cover, whilst stopping evaporation of pool water. We’ve taken a look at the claims made by breathable pool covers and given our own opinion based on industry knowledge, research and testing out in the field.

A “breathing” pool cover won’t be able to correct an out of balance pool. Fibreglass resin suppliers, along with the swimming pool industry, know that without correct water balance you will get a myriad of problems from damaging the pool’s surface to shortening the life of pool equipment (covers, pool cleaners, pool toys – anything the water comes into contact with) as well as a potentially dangerous swimming environment.

Pool covers don’t cause incorrect water balance, and they cannot fix it either. Best practice is to use a pool shop that you trust to regularly check and maintain the water chemistry.

A misconception not widely known, is all pool covers are technically breathable. They are made of Polyethylene (PE) a material that by its chemical nature naturally allows a gas transmission rate for oxygen, carbon dioxide and other gasses including chlorinated gases. There been a huge amount of research completed by Sealed Air (the inventor of original bubble wrap and solar pool covers) that shows that PE pool covers do actually breathe. For a 500 micron pool cover, the oxygen transmission rate would be approximately 500cc/m2 per 24 hours at 23°C, meaning PE pool covers do naturally ‘breathe’.

Sealed Air (the Australian company that make Daisy Pool Covers raw materials on Daisy’s dies) invented the Bubble Wrap technology, and believe me, they know their stuff, especially when it comes to the ins and outs of “Moisture Vapour Transition Rate” (MVTR) and the “Oxygen Vapour Transition Rate” (OVTR). The origional bubble wrap was designed with a Nylon barrier layer to stop the air and other gasses moving through the material to avoid the packaging bubbles deflating during use. The pool cover formulation was redesigned to allow the pool cover material to naturally breath, without requiring additional holes.

Breathable pool covers still need to be removed regularly, like all other pool covers; they aren’t a set and forget option like they might appear. Pool owners will still need to remove their pool covers, no matter which one they buy, to ensure they are regularly testing their pool water and retain chemical balance in the pool.

The FAQ section from the breathable pool cover website states: 

It is not recommended that any solar blanket be left on a pool permanently. Aquavent is no different in this respect and should be removed for maintenance as per the Maintenance Guide.

Pool owners should be checking the following regularly:

  • Chlorine level
  • pH
  • Total Alkalinity
  • Calcium Hardness

 

Please click here for more information on swimming pool water balance.

 

Breathable Pool Cover Testing

Let’s look at the testing methods and results that have been conducted by Aquavent.

First Test

The testing done on the “breathable pool covers” included the following:

  1. 3 small tubs with no specified volume
  2. Added approximately 2.5mg/L of granular pool chlorine
  3. Measured chlorine levels over 7 days

Breathable Pool Covers? 1Results

  • 97% chlorine loss over 7 days with Aquavent pool cover
  • 96% chlorine loss in an open tub (no cover)
  • 62% chlorine loss with a Daisy cover
  • pH levels roughly the same
  • Water temperature is warmer with a Daisy pool cover (20.1 degrees) than with Aquavent (18.3 degrees) and no cover (17.8 degrees)

Breathable Pool Covers? 2Finding
Using an Aquavent “breathable pool cover” does not keep chemicals in the pool nor does it keep the water warm. They claim that a Daisy Pool Cover has a higher pool chlorine level, that adding a normal dose of chlorine each week will result in over-chlorination of the pool. This finding doesn’t take into account the fact the pool owner would be dosing their pool based on pool water testing. If the chlorine levels were adequate, no chlorine should be added. In fact, the testing indicates to the contrary. You will need to use more chemicals with an Aquavent cover than you do with a Daisy pool cover to properly maintain the pool water. AND, you will need to consume more power to maintain the water temperature

Second Test

The test was conducted similar to the first test, but the initial water chlorine level was 5mg/L.

Then each day, an additional 2.5mg/L was added. Because chlorine doesn’t escape as much with a Daisy cover, after 7 days the Daisy sample had 8.7mg/L of chlorine prior to the final dose, versus the Aquavent cover which had 3.1mg/L.

The average chlorine loss per day for Aquavent was 39% versus Daisy at 15% and no cover had 21% loss.

The odd result from this test is that Aquavent covers had a HIGHER loss of chlorine than if you had no pool cover at all!

The final test was water transmission for evaporation:

  • Daisy was 0.03g/h.m2 (grams per hour per square metre).
  • Aquavent was 0.26g/h.m2
  • No cover/open tub was 67g/h.m2

In essence, Aquavent has a water transmission rate (evaporation) is 8.66 times greater than Daisy.

Breathable Pool Covers? 3

Overall findings from testing

  1. The so-called “breathable” pool cover testing indicates the Aquavent cover will maintain chemical levels lower than an uncovered pool. This just isn’t possible as it would mean you would go through MORE chlorine than with a completely uncovered pool.
  2. In the Aquavent testing, there is no allowance for testing water or adjusting the water balance. Some level of dosing will always be required in a well-managed pool. The testing regime undertaken is continually adding chemicals to the water without any rationale to test the water to see what dosing is required.
  3. The Aquavent FAQs state that they are no different to other solar pool covers and no pool cover should be left on permanently. They state that pool covers should be removed for pool maintenance for as per their Maintenance Guide.

The FAQs also warn, pool damage can still occur through poor pool maintenance.

Additional Testing 

Breathable Pool Covers? 4
July 17th – Installation Day
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July 18th
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August 7th, no rain.
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August 15th, no rain.
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August 18th, no rain.

As you can see from the photos of the Aquavent pool cover, there is water sitting on top of the pool cover (over one month without rain, you can see from the day the cover was installed there is no water on top). The day after installation, water was pooling on top of the cover and then showing the same amount of water on top after 3 weeks and then 4 weeks.

This means:

  1. Evaporation rate for 100% where water sits on top of the cover as water is evaporating, then re-filling (supposedly seeping through the “breathing holes”).
  2. Insulation and heat saving are zero where the water is sitting on top of the cover. Heat transference is dissipated through the water surface. If there is a cover or membrane that has water on both sides, there is zero insulation. Traditional solar covers get some water on top of the cover during operation or rain but that either drains into the pool or evaporates quickly which will leave no water on top of the cover.

Water Ingress into the Bubble Hole

Simple testing of the Aquavent shows the vent hole sits in the water. When we put a sample piece of the cover material on the water the ‘vent and drain’ bubble was touching the water. This means (according to Aquavent themselves) that the vent hole touching the water would make the ‘venting’ of chlorine or any gas trapped in the pocked under the cover redundant.

Breathable Pool Covers? 9
Holes sitting on the water

Water seeps through the cover and sits on top (see photo below). Water also can’t drain out of the bubble if the hole at the bottom is touching the water. You can see by the image below that the water can’t drain from the ‘vent and drain’ bubble as it is in the water. If the chlorine dissipates through the holes but water remains in the bubble, it’ll be untreated and may well turn green.

This simple test showed that after a relatively short period of time without being in the swimming pool environment water did enter the bubbles through the vent holes that they were supposed to drain out from

Breathable Pool Covers? 10

This would also bring into question how heavy the cover will become with all the water that cannot drain out. The small sample was significantly heavier with the retained water. A traditional cover (without holes) will increase in weight by approximately 50% with water hanging on the outside of the bubbles as they are removed off the swimming pool. Pool covers with holes that retain water in the bubbles will dramatically increase the weight of the pool cover.

Breathable Pool Covers? 11
Water on top of Aquavent cover exactly 4 weeks after installation with no rain.

With water being retained in these holes, a build-up of debris, dust and salts will occur over time, stopping any perceived benefit that these holes may have.

Breathable Pool Covers? 12
Water in the pool cover bubbles

In conclusion, Daisy does not believe there is any net gain from having a pool cover with holes punched into it. Daisy, along with industry leaders, believe the breathable pool cover is like a square wheel, great to be new in the industry, but it just does not perform to the standard that Daisy Pool Covers sets for itself.

Variety Bash 2019 is on!

Managing Director of Daisy Pool Covers, Derek Prince, has been a long time supporter of Variety: The Children’s Charity.

The main reason Derek and Daisy Pool Covers support this worthy cause is because the money raised goes to underfunded children in need. Variety helps the people in need that slip through the cracks or simply don’t get enough funding.

The awesome thing about Variety events is the donations go straight to the charity for the children and their families in need, no donations go towards participants and their expenses. The participants fund themselves which is why Derek and Shannon can boldly ask for donations knowing that all money will make a huge difference. Breathable Pool Covers? 13

Participants like Derek, Shannon and their team in Car #18 get to see some of the donated money going to work even when they are on the Variety challenges and attending events!

Derek, Shannon and Car #18 will be departing on the 2019 Variety Bash on August 23rd and plan to raise a lot of money! If you feel inclined to support this worthy cause, please ensure you write Bash Car18 on the donation.

Click here to donate and for more information (Please write Bash Car#18 on your donation).

Click here for the event and fundraising information.

Donations to Variety: The Children’s Charity are tax deductible. Payments can be made as follows:
Cheque payments should be drawn in favour of Variety WA.
Electronic Fund Transfers can be directed to Westpac Bank: BSB 036-037 | ACC 34 6499

Please nominate Bash Car #18 as the beneficiary of your donation and send an email with your name and reference and contact details for a receipt to events@varietywa.com.au. An official receipt will be issued for all donations over $2 received.

Funds raised by the participants in the 2019 Variety Bash will help Variety provide practical equipment, programs and experiences to empower WA children who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs to live, laugh and learn.

Breathable Pool Covers? 14

 

WA Commercial Going Strong!

Over in WA, the Daisy Commercial team have been very busy!

Here are three of the latest commercials installs from our team.

Manjimup Aquatic Centre
Replacement covers for the three indoor pools 25m x 18.4m plus their leisure pool and a leisure pool with beach. These were all Thermotech 4.5mm Foam Covers.

Most aquatic centres replace covers as soon as they are worn out because they have had the tough experience of maintaining the heat and condensation (indoor pools). It is just too expensive to not have pool covers on when the pools are not in use.

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Aquarius Towers

This outdoor swimming pool required a 12.5 x 6m 525B solar commercial cover with edge binding installed onto an existing Daisy commercial roller.
This was another replacement commercial cover job. Stopping the heat loss and evaporation is paramount here.

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Koorda Shire Pool

Another massive outdoor pool measuring 33m x 12.8m. This pool needed a 525B solar commercial cover with wind skirts, and new mobile Stainless U frame rollers with 150mm tube and 900mm stainless hand wheels.

New solar pool covers were needed to help with heating when the pool is closed and to stop evaporation along with the new Daisy Stainless Steel Rollers.

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Pool Covers & Leaves

Solar pool covers help keep the pool clean, but they wont keep all the leaves and dirt (they definitely help though).

So if there’s a sprinkling of leaves on your cover, how do you clean the leaves off when you want to roller it up?

Well, there are a few ways to do this and the best way for each pool shape and location may vary, so here are some options:
If the pool cover is dry
• Use a blower to move all the leaves off
If the pool cover is wet
• Use the pool broom or your cover cleaner to sweep the leaves into one area then remove off the cover with a bucket
Alternative
• Roll up the cover and the leaves will roll forward, collecting more and more in a line as they go. When you get to the end, pick up the last few metres and flick all the leaves behind the roller (easier with two people, one on each side).
Or, like Derek does, just keep rolling the cover off and let all the leaves drop into the water. Then, pick up the pool scoop and simply scoop the line at the end of the pool (you will get most of them this way).
Back before water restrictions, an option was to turn on your filter then use a hose to push it all to the skimmer box. This is not a recommended option any more.

See our FAQ on leaves and pool covers by clicking here.

Wind Skirting – What is it?

When outdoor pool covers are installed to most domestic swimming pools, they reach the edge of the pool and sit on the water. Wind does not affect the pool cover as the wind will not lift the cover: the pool cover edge is right up to the edge of the pool so there is nothing for the wind to get hold of.

However, there are times when the pool cover is not all the way to the edge of the pool, or like in many commercial installations there are multiple cover and roller systems on the pool to cover the whole pool surface area. Where the edges of the cover are exposed to the wind along the pool they can be picked up by the wind. If they get picked up they can be blown around like a sail and become quite messy not to mention may be damaged, so we need to hold exposed edges of the cover onto the water.

Wind Skirting is a special woven mesh material that is sewn with Teflon thread (so the thread will never fail) to the edge of a pool cover. The special mesh material holds a stable lead core rope that is heavy enough to pull just the edge (10 – 30mm) of a foam or solar pool cover under the water.

By pulling just the edge of the cover under water the wind cant get under the pool cover so it sits neatly in place.

While Wind Skirting is especially made for multiple covers installed onto one pool in commercial installations, we still use Wind Skirting for domestic covers where you need to hold joint covers onto the pool. It may be for sections where the cover is cut to make the recovery and deploying easier or for large areas (like step areas) to be put on separately. We also use Wind Skirting on domestic pools for vanishing edges or infinity edged pools to rest on the inside of the wall to hold the cover in place.

Wind Skirting is sold by the lineal meter sewn onto the cover before it leaves the factory.

Contact us or our Commercial team for more information depending on the type of swimming pool you have.

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SPASA Expo: Feedback on the Daisy UBR and Below Ground Box

We have had a busy start to 2019 with a string of SPASA Expos across the country and we’ve had some very interesting feedback along the way!

Interest in and sales of our Under Bench Rollers and Below Ground Boxes has been on the rise in the past year and we have seen this interest during our recent Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide SPASA Expos. People who are building a new pool tend to head for the Below Ground Box (BGB) because they are doing major works around the pool before paving being installed. People with an existing pool usually head for the Under Bench Roller (UBR) to get some poolside seating in and around the pool area while hiding the roller system. This has been perfect for those with limited space around the pool.

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We have found an increasing amount of new pool owners initially wanting the BGB until they understand what the UBR is. The reasoning is that people say, ‘I don’t want to see the roller’. We totally understand the sentiment and discuss the lid options with them. Because the BGB is usually in a high traffic area, we only do anodised aluminium instead of powder coated colours to avoid scratching. When the anodised aluminium gets scratched you can’t notice it but if the powder coating gets scratched all you will see is the silver underneath.

While there are a lot of BGB sales we see a lot of people are opting for the UBR because it gives them the ‘extra’ reason for being with versatility and seating plus wood look colour options for aesthetics. We are seeing a great increase in both sales so they are both excellent options for hiding your pool cover and roller while swimming.

It all comes down to personal preference, there is no right or wrong answer here!

Never a Better Time for a WinterKleen

Autumn and Winter can bring a bit of wind with them, and we know with a bit of wind and weather it can bring an influx of leaves, dirt and debris. If you live in a windy area or get a heap of leaves and dirt into your pool, why not invest in a WinterKleen Mesh Cover? Not only for winter, WinterKleen Mesh Covers are used by many pool owners all year round to keep their pools pristine and clean while still letting the water to drain through! They also are a perfect partner to our range of Solar Covers (Solar in Summer, WinterKleen in winter).

We recently installed a WinterKleen in this curvy swimming pool, with two separate hand rails to account for. If you need help measuring your WinterKleen, contact us today.

For a refresher video on installing a WinterKleen, check out our video below.

SPASA Australia Hosts Heating Sector Meeting

Daisy Pool Covers Managing Director Derek Prince attended the SPASA Australia heating sector meeting in February. The meeting included respected industry leaders who all agreed to help formulate fact sheets so consumers can make better informed decisions regarding pool heating.

“As a SPASA Australia stakeholder, it is so important for Daisy to represent the industry on important changes and consumer information while being a strong voice to advocate pool covers,” said Derek.

People, whether in the industry or external, will make up their own minds regardless of facts, and we need this industry to stand together to advocate common standards and benchmarks so that we can advise governing bodies and on industry benchmarks, facts and standards.

Derek volunteered for a pool cover working group that will work with SPASA and industry stakeholders to develop industry benchmarks for all pool covers and to create informative fact sheets for the industry to utilise. This work will be the foundation of new standards and common communication to consumers, governments (local and national) and industry regulators.

With the absence of informative industry publications within SPASA Australia, vocal people are finding it easy to have their say on matters of importance, without having any real knowledge of the facts. Now is the time to get it right and set some important benchmarks.

For more information on the Heating Sector meeting click here.

 

Daisy Commercial Recent Installation

The Daisy team recently travelled down to WA’s south coast to Albany to install Power Under Bench Rollers at Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre.

For storage, they wanted Under Bench Rollers on castors with Power Rollers. Daisy Commercial team set up six rollers on the indoor basketball courts to test the rollers before they went onto the massive eight lane, indoor 25m swimming pool.

At Daisy Commercial, any swimming pool solution you require, we can help. Get in contact with us and we’ll be happy to assist.

 

Daisy Commercial
Brett Cubit – 0429 568 500
Email: Commercial@daisypoolcovers.com.au

Another Daisy Quality Testimonial

We recently received an amazing update from Michelle, a long time Daisy customer:

“I thought you might like some feedback on your pool covers! Our 400 micron Daisy is 7 years old and was going pretty strong – I honestly think it had one or maybe 2 years still left in it – that was until it was shredded in a very bad hail storm recently. The hail was larger than golf ball size and many rooves in our area were smashed so we are not surprised it was damaged. It was always kept on the pool unless we were swimming and it’s on a roller that is covered from the sun. Yes, it was getting a bit brittle but in general for 7 years we have to say it was an awesome quality cover. Thanks Daisy! Let’s hope the new generation of pool covers are even better. Cheers, Michelle.”

We love hearing updates like this, but we are rarely surprised, as we stand by our pool covers and know that they will last the distance unlike some of the cheaper alternatives that are in the market.

Click here to view some of our other customer testimonials.