Use and Care of Bubble Covers
All bubble covers are designed to float directly on the water surface. A solar bubble cover is made from a translucent material to maximise energy gain from sunlight. Sol+Guard™
A heat retention or heat absorbing bubble covers are generally made from dark opaque coloured material, designed to minimise energy loss and absorb the suns heat. EnergyGuard™
Heat reflective bubble covers are designed for very hot climates to reflect the suns heat away from the pool surface, and are generally made from light opaque coloured material designed to reflect the suns heat. CoolGuard™
A swimming pool cover will be an ongoing commitment and for ease of handling on and off the pool a good quality roller system should be used.
There are considerable benefits:
- A Solar Bubble cover will heat the water (& retain that heat) by up to 8 degrees Celsius
- A Solar & Heat Retention bubble cover will reduce chemical consumption by 30 - 60%
- They also cut down cleaning time by keeping dirt and other debris out of the pool
- It will conserve water by reducing evaporation by up to 98%+. Tests prove for an average sized pool 5m x 10m (16’ x 32’) around 45,000 litres (10,000 imp gallons) of water can be saved per year
- EnergyGuard™ and CoolGuard™ bubble covers will reduce the filter/pump time by up to 50%
It is highly recommended that the first step in cutting pool energy loss, be the evaluation of the economics of using a Plastipack swimming pool bubble cover.
How long will it last?
With UV (Ultra Violet) and pool chemicals such as Chlorine a pool cover lives in a very harsh environment. The chlorine in the water is constantly attacking it, the UV rays produced by the sun attacks it and heat will also play its part in accelerating the effects of the chlorine and UV
Bubble covers have a limited life and will only last around 50 - 125% of their life span depending on the amount of care given by the owner. Our new EnergyGuard™, Sol+Guard™ and CoolGuard™ have a 5 year pro rata warranty.
The environment in a pool is created by:
- The amount of UV rays produced by the sun. UV map
- The volume of pool chemicals (such as chlorine) in the pool water
- The chemistry parameters that balance the pool water (pH) Potens Hydrogen, (CH) Calcium Hardness, (TA) Total Alkalinity
- The heat of the pool water (whilst the cover is on the pool)
- The heat generated in the pool cover (whilst the cover is off the pool water)
- A combination of all the above factors
To summarise: A swimming pool with a high volume of chlorine / unbalanced water, will reduce the lifespan of a bubble cover, and speed up the process of degradation.
How to increase the life span
Ensure the pool water is balanced
- Potens Hydrogen (pH)
Ideal 7.4 range: 7.2 to 7.8
If the pH is too low the water becomes very corrosive
If the pH is too high scaling will occur
- Calcium Hardness (CH)
Ideal 275 range: 150 - 400 ppm
If the CH is too low the water becomes corrosive
If the CH is too high scaling will occur
- Total Alkalinity (TA)
Ideal 100 range: 80 - 120 ppm
If the TA is too low the water becomes corrosive
If the TA is too high scaling will occur
Do not allow the FC (Free Chlorine) level to exceed 4.0
ppm (4 parts chlorine to 1 million parts water, which
is 4 ml per litre) the ideal 2.0 ppm range is between
1.0-3.0 ppm. The ideal CC (Combined Chlorine) level
is 0 ppm and should not exceed 0.2 ppm
These levels provide a guideline of recommended ranges
for safe bathing. Consult your water treatment supplier
for further information.
When a pool is “shock dosed” with shock
chlorine, ensure the pool cover is completely
removed from the water surface area and
replaced only when the chlorine level is back to normal.
High chlorine levels and unbalanced pool water will
increase the corrosive effect on the pool cover and
lead to premature aging, bleaching, discolouration
and crystallization of chemical residue on the top
surface of the bubble cover.
Chlorine in its natural state is a gas, however, when
it is added to the pool water (solid, liquid or gas)
it automatically reverts back to its natural state
(a gas) and rises through the water then dissipates
into the atmosphere though evaporation. When a bubble
cover is installed on a pool this evaporation does
not occur, and the chlorine re-circulates through
the water, a movement created by the pool pump and
filtration equipment. This action sanitizes the water.
The volume of chlorine in the pool will increase,
when the cover is installed and the water will test
higher. To avoid a higher concentration of chlorine
the level and input of chlorine must be reduced, between
30 - 60 % Turn down the controls on your automatic
dispenser or salt-water chlorinator, if physically
adding, reduce the quantity to obtain the correct
chlorine levels and water balance.
Ensure your pump and filtration system is operating
during the hot part of the day 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
whilst a solar or energy absorbing cover is installed
on a pool. The sun heats the water penetrating
cover or absorbs, heat through EnergyGuard™
cover, warmer water rises together with the
chlorine gas, while the water beneath remains cool.
We need to relieve the heat and get the chlorine moving
throughout the water again. This will mix and circulate
the concentrated level of chlorine, warmer and cooler
water, and keep the build up of chlorine away from
the cover. All of this will gain the best benefits
from the solar pool cover and will help to prolong
A solar pool cover consists of two layers of material
De-lamination refers to the two layers separating.
This is very rare, but can occur in certain cases.
Material de-lamination caused by faulty manufacture
would mean the two layers of material separate completely,
this is very rare.
De-lamination is caused by overheating.
If the pool cover is left on the roller without protection
and exposed to full sunlight for even short periods
of time - as little as 5 minutes when it's very hot
- overheating can occur (Not if you use a Plastipack
Reflective Storage Cover).
You will see evidence of this by the top of the bubbles
becoming convex - or bulging out - rather than being
In severe cases this can cause pockets of de-lamination.
These look like big bubbles, eventually showing a
pattern running across the width of the cover.
The de-lamination will typically occur in "patches"
at the end of the cover farthest from the roller when
on the pool.
In severe cases there will be de-lamination lines
across the cover parallel to the roller.
You will notice that when you wind the cover onto
the roller that the de-lamination lines will line
up on top of each other. This is because the sun's
rays hit the top of the roller and pass through the
first few layers of pool cover.
Pool cover’s can magnify the sun's rays as they
pass through - generating enough energy to superheat
sections of the cover to a similar temperature to
that used to laminate the layers during manufacture.
The air inside the bubbles gets extremely hot and
expands creating enough pressure to "pop"
open the top and bottom layers.
As de-lamination caused by overheating is totally
preventable this is not covered under any warranty.
Solution is to always ensure that that when not on
the pool protect your bubble cover with a Reflective
Water condensation in
The polyethylene plastic material used in the manufacture
of pool covers is not impervious. This means it will
allow small quantities of liquids or gases to go through
it. Some water vapour will permeate the material and
enter the bubbles. As the temperature outside the
bubble drops below ‘dew point', the water vapour
inside condenses, leaving a small quantity of water
in the bubble.
This condensation is perfectly normal and does not
affect the cover's performance or life span in any
way. As soon as the temperature inside the bubble
increases again, the water will evaporate.
Shrinkage of polyethylene
bubble pool covers
Creases in the material formed by folding or rolling
the cover when off the pool can affect the fit. Another
phenomenon that has been observed is when the air
in the bubbles expands and the pressure increases
within the bubbles. The tension within the material
will rise and a slight reduction in the cover size
will occur. This “gassing up” phenomenon
appears to be connected to water temperature and an
imbalance of water treatment. Often in this situation
close examination of the bubbles will reveal small
amounts of moisture within the actual bubbles caused
by condensation. The pool chemistry must be tested
and brought back to within recommended parameters
as quickly as possible to avoid permanent damage to
the cover. Finally, if covers are left exposed to
direct sunlight when off the pool, high temperatures
can build up in the material. These temperatures can
reach levels where permanent deformation will occur
in the material, which will lead to further shrinkage
usually seen as wrinkled strips across the pool cover
. Our recommendation is that, when producing a pool
cover, 2% of the pool dimensions is added to the cover
size, to allow for possible shrinkage.
Always install and use a good quality reflective storage
cover when the cover is off the pool.
The problem of collapsed
bubbles in swimming pool covers
For many years the swimming pool bubble cover industry
has experienced bubble deflation in a very small number
of bubble covers. Tests carried out by Plastipack
have confirmed this problem is linked to the build
up of combined chlorine, and the accumulation of nitrogen
trichloride gas directly under the bubble cover.
The most common sanitizer used in swimming pools is
chlorine. When added to pool water chlorine carries
out two main functions; primarily it destroys micro-organisms
but it also acts as an oxidizer, destroying organic
contaminates. One result of these chemical processes
is to convert the active free chlorine into chloramines
and other chlorine compounds.
It is recognised within the pool industry that free
chlorine levels of between 1 and 3 ppm along with
combined chlorine levels kept well below 0.5 ppm is
the ideal condition for well balanced and healthy
pool water. However, if this ratio is allowed to reverse,
and the chloramines or combined chlorine levels climb
above the levels of free chlorine, then nitrogen trichloride
gas is produced. This is the cause of that familiar
chlorine smell, along with irritation of the eyes
of pool users.
When this problem occurs it is important to bring
back the pool water to an acceptable balanced level
of chlorination, either by shock dosing and burning
out the high levels of combined chlorine, or carrying
out a partial water change, before a replacement cover
is introduced onto the pool water surface area.
When shock dosing the pool water it is essential to
remove the bubble cover until an acceptable chlorine
levels and water balance is reached.
If nitrogen trichloride gas is allowed to build up
under the bubble cover, air will diffuse out of the
bubbles, causing them to deflate. Once the bubbles
have collapsed it is not possible to reverse the process
and a new cover will be required.
Brittle bubble cover causes
This degradation will only occur when the antioxidants
and additives present in the cover material have been
In short, the pool cover has worn out.
The UV Stabilisers help protect your pool cover from
the sun’s UV rays, chlorine attacks the stabiliser
breaking it down and so reducing the life of the pool
cover. Oxidised plastic will become a paler colour
and ultimately can be bleached white, become brittle
and will break up when you touch it.
If you have kept the recommended chlorine and water
balance to the industry standard levels in your pool,
then, this oxidised condition will mean that you have
achieved the expected life span of the cover and it's
time to replace it. If the pool cover has not achieved
its expected life, then it almost certainly has been
subjected to excessive chlorine levels/ unbalanced
water and/ or excessive UV exposure - either intermittently
or consistently Reflective Storage Cover.
Solution -never place the pool cover on a pool with
extremely high chlorine levels - for example, when
super (shock) chlorinating. This will cause a severe
immediate depletion of antioxidants from the cover
material causing a significant increase in the ageing
process and may damage the bubble wall.
Monitor chlorine levels regularly and maintain them
at recommended industry standards at all times. A
pool cover that is consistently subjected to unbalanced
water and higher than recommended chlorine levels
will have its useful life reduced due to an acceleration
of the normal ageing process.
Installing a bubble
For covers that are not hemmed with a re-enforced
Ensure the water level is correct.
Carefully un-pack the cover and lay on the water,
bubble side down, smooth
side facing upwards.
Trim the cover with a pair of scissors to fit around
the pool wall allowing for shrinkage.
Remember not to cut off too much in one go, as it
is possible to pull the cover away from the opposite
wall while cutting thus ending up with a cover too
Cut around pool ladders ensuring radiused corners
rather than square, as a right angle cut into the
cover will produce a weak point that could tear. Alternatively
fit ladder hinges that will lift the ladder away from
the pool cover.
Handling the cover
The ideal way is to purchase a good quality pool roller
that will allow you to handle the cover with ease,
therefore gaining the most benefits of owning a pool
If you have to physically handle the cover it is best
to fan fold the cover at one end of the pool.
Always install and use a good quality reflective
storage cover when the cover is off the pool.
Caring for the cover when
it is off the pool
All covers must be stored in a shaded area out of
direct sunlight. Never left out in direct sunlight
whilst folded or wound onto a roller. The heat generated
by the sun will be magnified many times, causing the
degradation of the material, the results may not be
immediate but they can be very serious.
The effects will be, very high heat concentrated inside
the cover material, leading to the air in the bubbles
expanding and forcing apart the laminated area’s
causing the bubbles to join making stripes of bigger
bubbles. This in itself is not life threatening unless
repeated constantly. The cover can also become so
hot it becomes molten and will weld itself together,
thus destroying itself, or lines of degraded wrinkled
bubbles appear across the pool cover that will also
cause the bubble cover to shrink.
Most fabricators and suppliers of pool covers supply
or have available, light opaque coloured reflective
storage covers that will help protect the bubble
cover against the harmful rays and heat of the sun.
Bubble covers for very
If you live in a climate that does become “too
hot” check out our CoolGuard
cover product, designed to help keep your pool cool
and refreshing to swim in.
Cleaning and storage of
When the cover is installed on the pool, less dust
and debris will be prone to settle into the pool most
will be blown away by the wind. (Without the cover
debris will get waterlogged and sink) Airborne dust
and debris can be swept to one area of the cover then
extracted, or with the pool filtration running, hose
the debris towards the skimmer basket.
When the pool is not in use, during the closed season,
the cover can be cleaned / hosed down with fresh tap
water, covered with the solar
protector sheet and stored in a shaded area ideally
a garage or shed.