While most solar cover manufacturers recommend removing the cover, if you don't have a reel and the help of at least one other person, that's not always possible. With any method you use the goal is to fold the cover compactly at the end of the pool. Keeping the cover compact stores it out of the way until you are ready to use it again. Removing it by yourself is more difficult, but certain techniques can make the task easier.
The general recommendation for removing a solar pool cover without a reel is to use the fan-fold technique. This technique is considered one of the best ways to compact the pool cover for storing at the end of the pool. The solar cover is folded accordion style until it is stacked at the end of the pool. This folding technique is possible with one person, but easiest with two people doing the folding.
In the Pool
If only one person is able to remove the pool cover, standing in the pool allows you to grip the center of the solar cover, making it easier to control removing the cover. Fold over one end of the pool cover before getting in the pool. Enter the water on the end where you removed the cover slightly. Fold the cover over until you reach the end.
Out of the Pool
If you can't gain access inside of the pool because it's dirty or for other reasons, work on the side of the cover, starting from one end. Grip the solar cover and start pulling it towards the opposite end. Depending on the size and thickness of the cover, you may have to pull it straight as opposed to folding it. If the cover becomes bunched on one side and difficult to move, switch to the opposite side and pull the cover across the pool until it is equal with the bunched side.
Other Considerations and Warnings
Keeping the solar cover on the pool when it's not in use traps in the heat and prevents water evaporation. Place the solar cover on the pool in the early spring for an earlier swimming season and in the fall to extend the swimming season. Storing the solar cover during the winter keeps it protected from damage from the cold and snow. Removing the solar cover when you apply chemicals to the pool water protects the cover from weakening from exposure to the chemicals.