Solar lily pads provide a water-warming pool option that doesn't require electricity or wrestling with a large, awkward pool cover. Lily pads generally only cover part of the pool. This allows you to swim without removing them all. You can also clean the pool with the pads still in place. Solar lily pads work by absorbing heat from the sun. This heat is then transferred to the water beneath. The water first warms at the surface, so it's necessary to turn off pool pumps during the day so they don't suck in this newly warmed water.
Things You'll Need
- Hula hoops
- Plumber's putty
- Plumber's tape
- 6-mil black plastic
- Epoxy glue
Seal the joint on the hula hoop with plumber's putty. Inspect the hoop for any holes around its length and fill these with the putty. Wrap plumbing tape around the joint and around any other areas with filled holes so water can't enter the hula hoop tube.
Lay the hoop on top a sheet of 6-mil black polyethylene film, which is the plastic commonly used for gardening and landscape projects. Cut the plastic film so it is 1 inch larger than the hoop on all sides.
Run a bead of waterproof epoxy glue on top the hoop. Lay the black plastic on top the hoop and stretch it taut. Clamp in the plastic to the hoop as the epoxy dries, which can take up to 24 hours.
Remove the clamps. Cut the excess plastic off where it overhangs the hoop.
Punch a hole through the center of the plastic with a nail. Punch eight additional holes in a circle halfway between the center of the plastic and the hoop frame. These holes provide a vent so air doesn't become trapped beneath the lily pad.
Float the completed lily pad on your pool. Make enough to cover at least half the water's surface to experience optimum solar heat gain.
Tips & Warnings
- If you prefer to avoid epoxy glues, it's possible to melt the black plastic and hoop together using the tip of a soldering iron.
- Rinse the dust off the surface of the lily pads as it builds up. A dusty surface prevents the pads from fully absorbing and transferring heat.
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