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Thread: DIY Solar Rings (well, squares) How To...

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    Lightbulb DIY Solar Rings (well, squares) How To...

    Hey all, just thought I would share a quick visual how to on making your own solar rings. I am not sure if this has been covered here before, and I certainly won't take credit for the idea, as I saw something similar on YouTube from Mike the Poolman:



    This is mostly just a few pics showing the process. I wanted to try this project because the previous owner left a solar blanket cut in 3 parts to match the pool. I just put a deposit on solar heating, and there is no way I am messing with this blanket (been there, done that, hated it), so I figured I would give this a try as I would still like some thermal insulation at night once the panels are installed. Here is what you get:



    And here it goes!

    Step one, build a frame:



    These are precut 5 foot sections from Lowes. If you buy 10 or more they are around $1.40 each. The elbows are also sold in a discounted 10 pack. Simply put a little PVC cement in the elbow and push the pipe in. I build mine on a flat surface and realized on the second one to put the writing on the pipe down towards the ground so it doesn't show when it is floating. In a couple steps you will zip tie the blanket into the frame. Total cost including pipe, elbows, zip ties, and an estimated portion of cement is $7.50 per square if you already have the blanket.

    Step two, cut the blanket:



    Just lay the frame on top of the existing blanket and pull til the section in the frame is tight. Let your dogs inspect, just don't let them pee on the blanket. Trace around the inside of the square with a box cutter. You can use the inside of the frame as a guide and end up with a pretty square cut. (Check out my bleach bottle collection from SLAM!)

    Once the square has been traced with the cutter, it rips off pretty cleanly:



    Step three, attach:



    Using a nail or a screw, poke holes about an inch into the blanket all around the perimeter. I did three per side. As you finish a hole, run a zip tie through it, but don't tighten too much yet. Once all holes are poked and have zip ties in them, pull them tight evenly so the blanket stays in the middle of the frame.

    Step four, clean it and throw it in the pool!



    It's so nice how easy these solar squares are to clean. You just stand them up and hose them off. Scroll back up to see how dirty this blanket was!

    Most solar rings recommend an 80% surface area coverage for best effect. I think I will make as many 5X5 portions as I can then see what I can make out of the scraps. Once the pool is covered, I will let you all know if there is any change in temp.

    These took me about 10 to 15 non-rushed minutes per square. If I make 17 which will cover 80% of my pool, it will end up costing me $127. The same coverage of solar rings (those ones with the palm trees and terrible reviews) would cost me $850!!!

    Hope you enjoyed!
    Jeff || 19,000g IGP || SwimClear 3025 Cartridge Filter || Hayward TriStar 1.39 THP pump || K-2006 Test Kit || 80% Surface Coverage Heliocol || Hayward Controller || Hayward Phoenix 4X4 || "Solar Rings" || PoolSkim

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Solar Rings (well, squares) How To...

    WOW! And just think how easy these will be to store, move, put on and take off! THANKS for sharing!

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Solar Rings (well, squares) How To...

    I'm still doing durability testing on Homemade sun rings

    Actually, I've just been too lazy to make more. I will attest that unless you have a whole lot of coverage, they do nothing. The first attempt using a trash bag and the small diameter tubing finally disintegrated. The thicker polyethylene has held up pretty good so far, although it is getting brittle. I managed to split one by accident when shoving the thing out of my way with the brush. A couple of the hot glue joints have delaminated, but they are still floating.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Solar Rings (well, squares) How To...

    I think your weak link might be the zip ties. Seems like everything I zip tie has the zip ties dry rot or break down from UV. I haven't looked for UV resistant zip ties.
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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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    Re: DIY Solar Rings (well, squares) How To...

    Thanks Kim, that is what I was thinking too! I can easily sacrifice 25sqft of garage or tool shed space to store these stacked.

    Richard, interesting concept on your thread. I think these will remain pretty durable. The frame should last forever, and the only weak point I could think on the assembly is running a zip tie through the blanket as there is the possibility it will rip over time with top water weight when taking them out of the pool. However, if that is the case, I can just punch another hole and run another tie. I am not sure what the lifespan is on a solar blanket, but they look cheap enough on Amazon now that if I had to replace the innards after a couple years it will still be worth it as I anticipate reusing the frame will be no issue. My real worry is that laziness will take over and I won't finish the job either!!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Pooldv, I hadn't thought about UV making the ties themselves brittle, but that is a good point. Looks like UV resistant ties can be had on Amazon for the same price I paid for these at Lowes.
    Jeff || 19,000g IGP || SwimClear 3025 Cartridge Filter || Hayward TriStar 1.39 THP pump || K-2006 Test Kit || 80% Surface Coverage Heliocol || Hayward Controller || Hayward Phoenix 4X4 || "Solar Rings" || PoolSkim

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Solar Rings (well, squares) How To...

    My experience with the bubble wrap blanket is that if you last three years, you beat the odds. The first sign of trouble is when you start finding little blue circles in the skimmer. When that happens, trash it immediately because the thing will disintegrate and make a huge mess in very short order.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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