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Thread: CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

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    CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    This thread will cover my DIY install of craigslist Heliocol panels.

    I bought 7, 4x12 panels for $300 on CL. It came with the majority of the mounting hardware.



    Problem #1

    These mounting pieces seem to be the old style sled system that requires the "z bar" for installation.





    The owner did not have the z bar. I assume the roofers tore it off when they installed the new roof.

    I can't seem to find the z bar anywhere so I will either have to order the new clamp system, which will run $80 a panel or figure out another way to mount them.

    They also came with this



    The previous owner said it was used under the panels to prevent damage?

    Any thoughts?


    The original installers also used silicone on all of the connection O rings. Is this standard practice?

    I need to clean off all of the old silicone and order CPVC pipe connectors and a VRV as well.

    I will be sharing the planned layout and plumbing after I get back in a few days from a trip.




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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    I just wanted to wish you luck, it sounds to me like the installer used silicone adhesive instead of silicone lubricant on the install (two very different things, but often referred to as silicone for short in their respective trades) , makes me wonder about their overall competence level.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
    I just wanted to wish you luck, it sounds to me like the installer used silicone adhesive instead of silicone lubricant on the install (two very different things, but often referred to as silicone for short in their respective trades) , makes me wonder about their overall competence level.
    Thanks.

    Yes you are correct it was silicone adhesive like in the corners of fish tanks. After seeing all the parts they gave me covered in silicone adhesive I wondered as well.

    Hopefully I don't have to order all new o rings too.


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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    I did not use any lubricant at all on the seals. The design really does not call for it.

    I did not have any of the mounting hardware, so I had to order the non-Z-bar stuff.

    How much of the damage prevention stuff do you have? I guess I could see it running up and down as something for the panels to slide on when they expand and contract. What kind of roof are you mounting on? How steep?

    FYI, when I talked to the people I order my parts from, they recommended replacing all the rubber seals (which I did). They also have kits that are used to fix leaks, you might want a few of those as well.

    That silicone is going to make a mess of everything if is is all down in the channels where the rubber seals are supposed to go. Might prevent a good seal.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    I did not use any lubricant at all on the seals. The design really does not call for it.
    Yea I was disappointed to see that and do t plan on using any when I mount them.


    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    I did not have any of the mounting hardware, so I had to order the non-Z-bar stuff.
    Im afraid I will have to do this as well. It's going to double the cost of the install.

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    How much of the damage prevention stuff do you have? I guess I could see it running up and down as something for the panels to slide on when they expand and contract. What kind of roof are you mounting on? How steep?
    I have 2 12' strips. I am mounting to an asphalt shingle roof. Not too steep. Normal single story home.


    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    FYI, when I talked to the people I order my parts from, they recommended replacing all the rubber seals (which I did). They also have kits that are used to fix leaks, you might want a few of those as well.
    I think I will do this as well. Minimal cost of $3 per to give piece of mind

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    That silicone is going to make a mess of everything if is is all down in the channels where the rubber seals are supposed to go. Might prevent a good seal.
    It is inside the channels where the rubber seals go. I will have to get some sort of pick to get it all out.


    15x28 free form in ground crystal Crete
    10-12k gallons
    Hayward aqua rite TCell 9 SWG
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    Hayward Star-Clear C1200

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    CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    Ok it looks like I am going to order new seals and transition to the gators clips. Another $300 but still a great deal for a helicolo system.

    Here are the two mounting options. Based on reading the install manuals they suggest having the hot return as short as possible. How big of an issue do you guys think that is?

    If it isnt a huge issue this setup would probably be easiest...

    Fo reference the equipment is located on the right side of the house the pipes would bend around the corner and then go down the side of the house.

    Option 1





    Option 2

    Involves crossing the hot return line over top of the cold line at the pump. I think it should reduce my hot line run by 20ish feet or so.






    Any thoughts?
    15x28 free form in ground crystal Crete
    10-12k gallons
    Hayward aqua rite TCell 9 SWG
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    Re: CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    I think option two looks better and will be slightly more efficient. There are clever ways to cross the pipes as you transition onto the roof which is what I had to do.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    I think option two looks better and will be slightly more efficient. There are clever ways to cross the pipes as you transition onto the roof which is what I had to do.
    Any pictures?
    15x28 free form in ground crystal Crete
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    Hayward aqua rite TCell 9 SWG
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    And show my subpar handiwork?
    I will try to get a picture tomorrow when there's some sunlight.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    And show my subpar handiwork?
    I will try to get a picture tomorrow when there's some sunlight.
    Haha thanks!


    15x28 free form in ground crystal Crete
    10-12k gallons
    Hayward aqua rite TCell 9 SWG
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    Re: CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    Here is how I switch the pipes. The supply comes up on the left and return goes down on the right. They cross at the top when coming out to go around the eave.

    You can also see the small bypass I added to help with the drain down when the pump is off (lets the supply pipes drain back through the return line and check valve instead of back through the solar 3-way). Although I used the Pentair solar 3-way that has a check valve built into it so the supply could still drain out through the closed diverter, so I likely did not need the bypass.

    You can also see that I stepped up to 2" pipe from the original 1.5" pipes for everything that I replaced.

    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    I've got some pics of my solar plumbing in my build thread in sig. Just cuz looking at more pics always helps a little.
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    CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    Thanks! Gonna be a week or so until I get all the parts in. I will keep updating the thread as it comes along.


    15x28 free form in ground crystal Crete
    10-12k gallons
    Hayward aqua rite TCell 9 SWG
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    Hayward Star-Clear C1200

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    CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    I was finally able to measure today. I can fit 4 panels on the south facing roof.

    According to my builders specs the pool square footage is 393 of unscreened pool

    4 panels gives me 192 sq ft.

    I could mount 3 additional panels on an east facing roof.

    Opinions???


    15x28 free form in ground crystal Crete
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    My pool is about 700 sf and I have 240 sf of panels. They help a lot in spring and fall. More is usually better. But, I'm not sure east is will be that helpful if it is shaded in the afternoon/evening. It could reduce the heating from the south facing panels. I would be inclined to do the 4 south panels and see how it goes.
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    No West facing option?

    Really the more sqft, the better, even if the heat supply is not ideal. In fact the futher from ideal, the more sqft you need. Although as pooldv said, if they are shaded, that could actually remove some of the heat.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    Depends, what part of Florida are you in, there is a BIG difference between Key West and Pensicola
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
    Depends, what part of Florida are you in, there is a BIG difference between Key West and Pensicola
    Split it in the middle.

    Tampa area.


    15x28 free form in ground crystal Crete
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    Hayward aqua rite TCell 9 SWG
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    Re: CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    I would say give it a try with just the 4 panels for now and see if you are happy with the results, a lot will depend on how hot you like your water, weather in a given year, etc. If you do not have one I would strongly suggest getting an automatic controller to prevent heat loss, this is particularly important during FL thermal thunderstorms which can really sap heat from the panels during the spring when you will be wanting all the BTU's available. If you don't already have an automation system that supports solar, the cheapest Solar controller on the market is the basic GL-235, cost is around $250 with valve, actuator and 2 temperature sensors, maybe less with creative shopping, the best value, bang for the buck is probably the more modern Pentair Suntouch which runs about $350 setup with valve, etc..
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
    ~Remember TFP counts on your donations to keep this site ad free~

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    Re: CL Heliocol DIY install(solar)

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
    I would say give it a try with just the 4 panels for now and see if you are happy with the results, a lot will depend on how hot you like your water, weather in a given year, etc. If you do not have one I would strongly suggest getting an automatic controller to prevent heat loss, this is particularly important during FL thermal thunderstorms which can really sap heat from the panels during the spring when you will be wanting all the BTU's available. If you don't already have an automation system that supports solar, the cheapest Solar controller on the market is the basic GL-235, cost is around $250 with valve, actuator and 2 temperature sensors, maybe less with creative shopping, the best value, bang for the buck is probably the more modern Pentair Suntouch which runs about $350 setup with valve, etc..
    I think thats the plan for now. 4 panels and see what happens. I wasnt going to use a controller because i would have to use my VSP as a single speed because it can not be controlled by a solar controller.

    If anyone has any creative ideas to get around that issue im all ears. Otherwise turning it into a single speed pump so its always ready for solar would cost me $10 a month. Not a huge deal I guess.
    15x28 free form in ground crystal Crete
    10-12k gallons
    Hayward aqua rite TCell 9 SWG
    Hayward Maxflo VS pump
    Hayward Star-Clear C1200

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