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Thread: DIY solar heating

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    DIY solar heating

    I having an IG pool and am looking to solar heat it. I do not want to build my own solar panels, but I do want to install it. Has anyone bought panels and kits? Any recommendations? I live in Jacksonville, Florida and would like to let my kids swim 10-12 months a year if possible. I don't want to got with heat pumps or gas. Thanks!

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: DIY solar heating

    Sure lots of us have done it, my suggestion if you are going to go the DIY install process of commercial panels is read as many of the commercial panel installation manuals as you can, not just the one for the brand you end up buying as it seems none cover everything you need to know and many miss out of the little things that matter. As to the 10-12 month part in your climate, 10 month is possible assuming you have enough room for solar panels, 12 months is MUCH more difficult, not only due to the lower ambient temperatures, but also there is just not that much available heat in the sunlight in the winter. Think of how much harder it is to get a sun tan in December vs July, what ends up happening is the solar heating will be gong great until some point in the autumn there will be a tipping point, then there will be several cloudy days, the pool temperature drops and even if the sun comes back out every day for a week, or two the pool will never regain the temperature it lost.

    Ike


    ps try doing a search on solar heat and you will find a number of install threads
    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: DIY solar heating

    The largest problem with dye is all the major brads are generally sold through exclusive local distributors who generally want to do the install too.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: DIY solar heating

    I purchased my panels and install kit from solardirect.com and installed them. I didn't add the solar controller until later and it made a big improvement in my heat gain because it closed when solar heat wasn't available and stopped cooling my pool when it was cloudy or raining. There are pics in my build thread, link in sig.
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: DIY solar heating

    What gwegan said is somewhat true, however it is possible to buy many brands of solar panels for DIY install often through national distributors like the above mentioned Vortex panels from solar direct which are private label version of the Techno Solis panels. Mine are Techno Solis panels bought through poolheatpumps.com. Another private label out there is Elm solar panels which seem to the the same as one of the AquaTherm panels just sold under a private label through various online merchants, in fact their old install manual on the web site had the aquatherm logo on it. Private labelling is a common process in the pool solar panel industry and is used to sell the same panel at different prices with different levels of warranty as the private label process shifts warranty issues from the manufacturer to the private label distributor. Even some of the biger companies like Fafco will sell to DIY although you may have to inquire about it as it is not widely advertised. The one that seems hardest for DIY'ers to deal with is Helicool with all their proprietary mounting hardware, etc. One possible benefit to picking Techno-Solis for you is that they are made in Tampa so truck freight should not be too high.

    Ike
    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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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: DIY solar heating

    I bought mine used off Craigslist and installed them myself. Sourcing some of the missing Heliocol parts was a little challenging, but there are places that sell the parts.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: DIY solar heating

    Has anyone used the DIY panels you can buy online or in the stores? How well do they work and is there anything extra needed for them? I would get enough panels to equal the sq ft of the pool and attach them to my shingle roof.

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: DIY solar heating

    There are a number of gimmick products sold for DIY solar particularly for above ground pool use such as the domed spiral heaters, the arched heaters, and soft fabric mat heaters. The thing to remember about all of these products is solar pool heating in the typical situation of daytime high temperatures in the 60-80 degree range is best done by an unglazed collector like common black commercial panels, and it is ALL about surface area of the panel and ease of flow for water through the panels. Now there are roll up strip panel DIY kits most with 12 to 24 inch wide header pipes with strips of smaller tubes connecting them that are 20 feet long that roll up in the box. These kits can perform well if you chain enough of them together for the size of your pool. However they are really meant for seasonal use to be rolled out on the ground, or on a support rack built next to the pool. They are not really intended for permanent rooftop mounting, although some people here have done it. My big concern on these is lack of durability compared to the commercial built panels designed for roof top mounting, part of this is the fact that they are 20 ft long and generally must be ran with flow side to side instead of bottom to top like most roof mounted panels. The problem with side to side running panels mounted on a roof is they tend to sag in places letting water and air get trapped which can block flow and allow water to not drain from the panels and potentially freeze and crack the panels in the winter, and while I know it does not freeze often where you live, it does happen.
    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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