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Thread: Solar? Hoping its for me....

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    bdenehy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Putnam Co., NY

    Solar? Hoping its for me....

    Dear all, first, thanks for all the great information on this site!!!!

    I'd like to decrease the usage of our pool heater (save money, and the environment) but don't know if solar is right for me. Here are some facts. Any help is always appreciated. I'm just daydreaming a bit an I'm not sure how much something like this would cost.

    1) we live in NY so have a short and unpredicable season. We usually only run our heater on weekends.
    2) I just contacted my propane provider and the current price for propane in my area is $3.36/gallon versus $3.34 last May. This suprises me since Liquid Natural Gas decreased from ~$11/gallon to ~$3.40 during the same time period. Is there no correlation here?
    3) As for solar panel space, I have a shed near my equipment pad with about 280 sq ft of roof surface in full sun. My pool is arount 45' x 20'x?? freeform "L" shape (~35,000 gallons). So the first question is, do I have enough surface are to make a decent difference?
    4) Next, In what sequence shoudld the water go? If the water goes through the heater first, there wont be any benefit from the solar panels since the water is quite warm already (right?). If the water goes throught the solar panel first, wouldn't give a false reading to the thermostat in the heater?
    5) Electricity? I run my main pump 12 hrs a day and a polaris booster pump for a vacuum occasionally. Would I need another pump running 12 hrs/day to push the water through the panels, or would the main pump handle this? I'd hate for my higher electric bill to offset my lower gas bill.
    5) Who would you hire to do the job and do you know a ballpark cost to expenct. Our pool builder has competant people but they are stick-up artists. Would a plumber be a better choice? I'm probably not handy enough to do it myself.

    Thanks again,
    35,000 gal vinyl, Hayward DE Filter, Hayward 400k BTU heater, SWG, Polaris 380 w/booster pump, plenty of dog hair in the skimmers.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    SW Indiana

    Re: Solar? Hoping its for me....

    A lot may depend on how that 280 sq ft is laid out. I got 192 sq ft on a 9'X24' roof which is 216 sq ft for my 20'X36' pool and have good performance. I installed it myself, and my total cost was around $1200. I'm afraid you'll find that paying to have it done will be expensive unless you can find a handyman you can trust. Plumbers and pool installers are too high for this kind of project. It isn't hard, but it can be time consuming because of the roof work.

    The solar will be fine running from the main pump. I kind of think you could just run the solar whenever it's sunny and then run the heater on the weekend as you do now when it's needed.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Re: Solar? Hoping its for me....

    Welcome John mentions the dimensions of the roof top will determine how many panels you can fit on the shed. Even if you can get a 2-3 degree change with the panels, that is that much less money spent on the propane....with a 13000 gallon pool I plan to get about 3-4 degrees out of my 4x20' solar bear panel...hope that helps
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

    Pool School, TFTestKits, Pool Calculator

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