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Thread: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

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    Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    So I posted on my local City Data website regarding solar asking about a manufacture here in town. I didn't receive a single comment on the manufacture but I received many comments on how crappy solar was, how it won't extend your season at all, how it breaks constantly, leaks, etc. and that I should get a gas heater (I don't have a spa so I didn't put one in with my build).

    Well the thing I like about solar is once I put it in other than a little extra energy running higher rpms it's paid for, unlike a gas heater that depending on your gas rate I imagine could run $3 - 4 an hour to run. My cost to install the two is practically the same.

    All of my neighbors have solar, the two right next to me and the one next to them all swear by it, love it. Never have any issues, when they did the warranty replaced the panel etc. Their experience has been great. What gives?

    Anyone have thoughts here? If you have them would you do it again?
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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    Yes I would do it again, in fact I already did, very old leaking solar came down with roof replacement just under 4 years ago, new solar went up in the spring 3 years ago. No leaks yet, although my solar controller is acting up a little (temperature setpoint on the knob is about 10 degrees off from the digital display, and setting tends to jump, tried cleaning with deoxIT, but it did not help, living with it for now until it gets worse). At the moment the whole point is rather moot, I don't think I have seen the sun for more than 5 minutes in the last week.
    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: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    Hi, I'm considering solar also. I did a bit of research and saw gas is meant for fast heating on weekends. As you are aware gas prices are not cheap, and considering you have a vsp you can dial the speed to consume less energy. Assuming you have an automation sustem (i think you do), it should be possible to wire an automated valve that only opens when the panels heat up. You live in vegas so the solar is a great idea. With all heating systems, especially solar in vegas, I think a solar blanket at night would be a must.

    I've had a solar blanket on my pool and it was a mess. Having two seperate pieces for an L shape pool was terrible. I never felt like rolling it and unrolling it because of the effort involved. Worst of all I would get debris on top of the cover every night, which I would struggle with as I was rolling a combersome 40 lb piece of plastic. Honestly.

    I'm sorry I couldn't give you first hand experience, but the idea of solar covers makes me cringe. I imagine the benefits of solar aren't that great without a cover trapping the heat for the next day.
    14K gallons vinyl IG pool, L shaped diving, hayward s-200 sand filter/side mounted multiport, hayward cl200 chlorinator, Pentair Intelliflo VSP, 1.5" cemented plumbing, Dolphin diagnostic. 3 Returns, 2 skimmers, 1 MD, 1 polaris port.

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    Re: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    Thanks for the input. Yes living in Vegas solar seemed to me to be a no brainer, which is why I posted on City Data.

    I have a cover but since my build last spring I haven't taken it out of the box. I see the PITA it is with my neighbors pool which is smaller than mine and also we've enjoyed the view of the pool so I haven't taken it out of the box. I suppose if I really wanted to swim early and late then throwing the solar cover on would be a must.
    SUMMER 2015 BUILD IG gunite 38 x 31, 28,000 gal, 110' perimeter, Intelliflo VS, Whisperflow 3hp, Intellibrite LED x2, Clean & Clear 520, Screen Logic, Intelichlor 40, Quartzscape Blue, K-2006C, Speedstir, Aquanaut 400 (4 wheel The Pool Cleaner)

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    Re: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    I had a pre-existing solar setup at my last house. It was a great system, found out later it's the most
    expensive one out there rated for 20+years.

    It truly seems like magic on a sunny day to feel hot water coming out of the jets & knowing all it's doing is going
    through those panels.

    Because of this I was swimming the first week of May last year (instead of mid june) and by July I could get the pool temp
    up to 87 degrees which felt like bath water / a little too warm.

    I have gas heating for the pool I own now and when the heater needs a replacement, I'm going to
    remove it and have solar installed.

    Solar blankets can be a pain...one thing to keep in mind is an 8 mil cover is fully sufficient.
    Anything thicker than that usually takes two people to deal with and doesn't last any longer than an 8 mil.
    For special shape pools it's recommended to cut the cover in sections for ease of use.

    Without a blanket, you lose A LOT more water to evaporation, not to mention pool temps
    go down much quicker. Also if you don't use a clear cover you burn less chlorine off
    each day. Even for a high cya of 70 I had. I had a blue cover.
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    Re: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    Ok which solar system is the most expensive out there and lasts 20 plus years?

    If you have solar you need to understand that to extend the season you need to use a cover or it doesn't work.

    Mine works fine but the blanket really helps.
    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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    Re: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    The panels were made by Solar Industries.

    They claim to be #1 and the pioneer of panel heating systems going back to the mid 70's.

    I contacted the installer from the sticker on the plumbing and they verified the install
    from 1993 so these panels were 22 years old.

    Their website says the warranty is 35 years.
    16x32 IG Vinyl, 13,000 Gals. Hayward S-244T sand filter, SP2810X15 pump
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    Re: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    One thing that is important to remember about these solar panel warranties is they often don't cover labor or shipping for replacement panels. Also many panels are sold through different distribution channels at different prices with differing amount of warranty coverage, so actual life of the panels may not reflect warranty coverage, some are also only warranted for the original owner. So a lot of that money going towards paying for panels with longer warranties, is just going toward prepaying for replacement of panels that are likely to fail in 10-15 years. Having said that the prime failure source for quality built panels tends to be abuse / improper installation related. This includes rubbing from expansion and contraction as well as hold down straps, freeze damage and pressure / heat related failures. For some reading on the topic see Hot Sun Industries Case Study Rigid Solar Pool Heating Panel Issues with Pressure and Variable Speed Pumps Note this has a certain slant towards selling their solution, but does contain a lot of good general information too. Also read Proper Swimming Pool Mechanical System Design and Plumbing For Solar
    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: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    I paid to have solar installed at my first house and when we moved I did a self install of some used panels that I found on Craigslist. We were swimming a month ago we could probably swim earlier if I ever use a cover but we don't.
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    Re: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    Being in Las Vegas you can also use the panels at night to help cool down the pool if it becomes too hot for your liking.

    A cover is required when the night temps are still in the 50's, once the temp stay above 60 then you will not need a cover to maintain the water temp.

    I personally did not care for the 8 mil cover I had as it was more prone to being displaced by the wind and it did not keep as much warmth in as our 12mil cover. The life span of the cover has very little to do with how thick it is. It has more to do with the conditions it is exposed to and how it is stored.

    For how much we use the pool, having solar is the best add on that we did. We have kept our pool in the 80's for 9 months a year for the last several years.
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    Re: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    All, thanks for the feedback, I greatly appreciate it.

    The company I'm leaning towards is Suntrek, they're the manufacture so I'll be buying directly from them and having a third party install it for me. The third party provides a 1 yr warranty on their labor and Suntrek offers a 15 year warranty on the panels/parts. I won't be in my current home more than 10 years.
    SUMMER 2015 BUILD IG gunite 38 x 31, 28,000 gal, 110' perimeter, Intelliflo VS, Whisperflow 3hp, Intellibrite LED x2, Clean & Clear 520, Screen Logic, Intelichlor 40, Quartzscape Blue, K-2006C, Speedstir, Aquanaut 400 (4 wheel The Pool Cleaner)

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    Just another +1 for solar. Mine is undersized but still gives us many extra swim days. They help a ton recovering from rain, cold fronts, cloudy days. We don't have enough panels to really extend the season and we don't use a cover.

    I would love to install more panels but can't. In a couple of weeks I'll be installing a small heat pump and an 8mil clear cover to supplement my panels.
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    Re: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    pooldv, why the clear cover? it may help in fringe season when the air is cold or windy, but under normal circumstances your panels will take about a 10% performance hit
    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: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    Why would a cover on the pool cause a performance hit on the solar, wouldn't it help preserve the heat produced by the panels by insulating the pool and reducing evaporation?
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    Re: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    I read it as covering the panels, not covering the pools.

    Covering the pool would help, covering the panels would reflect a certain amount of the potential incoming energy
    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: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    ah ok got it
    12,300 Gallon, IG PebbleFina, 3 ft sheer, 2 Jandy nicheless LED lights, Jandy Pro 1.5HP VS pump (A.O. Smith Motor), PB4-60 Booster pump, Polaris 280, Jandy cv340 cartridge filter, Zodiac Z4 control panel W/iAquaLink, Stenner pumps for chlorine & MA connected to WiOn WiFi switches, TF-100. You can support TFP with AmazonSmile just click the link!

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    Yep, it's an 8mil, clear solar cover for the pool. The only thing covering my solar panels is pollen!
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    Re: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    I suppose toward the end of the season if we want to keep swimming I'll pull my solar cover out. Right now it's just taking-up space in my garage.
    SUMMER 2015 BUILD IG gunite 38 x 31, 28,000 gal, 110' perimeter, Intelliflo VS, Whisperflow 3hp, Intellibrite LED x2, Clean & Clear 520, Screen Logic, Intelichlor 40, Quartzscape Blue, K-2006C, Speedstir, Aquanaut 400 (4 wheel The Pool Cleaner)

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    Re: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    Quote Originally Posted by QingGuy View Post
    I suppose toward the end of the season if we want to keep swimming I'll pull my solar cover out. Right now it's just taking-up space in my garage.

    I made my own system. Have 2 500' coils of 1/2" on the roof with south view and one other 150' facing east. Im getting 300,000BTU out of them. I took my pool cover off on Tax Day...that is easy to remember right! Pool gains 3 - 4 degrees per day (8000 gallon in ground pool) and looses 1 - 2 degrees at night if stormy and rain otherwise a degree or less. It runs 10:30am - 4:00pm. Im in New Orleans. Been swimming for 2 weeks now, water temp hit 81 yesterday. Would have been better but its been overcast 85% of March and April this year....very rare for us to have that much rain and overcast weather, guess its the El Nino effect which is apparently the worse in 50 years.

    I get 15 GPH flow at 4 degree temp change. WAY better than most commercial systems. I had one of those roll down systems...JUNK.....wind blew one off roof in a storm, which is why I decided to do my own. Total costs for mine is approx 350$ most of which was the "infrasturcture" to get pipes to the roof and bring back. I'm going to install one more later which is fairly simple now that plumbing is in place. Absolute no brainer, Im sure Ill be able to swim well into November this year. I plan on buying a small Hayward nat gas unit to heat during late Nov - Feb. Going to have pool covered with an acrylic roof in the fall and place two infrared heaters inside.

    So yes....this is a great idea solar, and its free once its in. My pal in Florida pays an extra 400$ a month to heat his pool in the winter months and it takes 3 days to bring it up a few degrees.

    If your "handy" then its fairly inexpensive, but if your not, your going to be looking at a few thousand.

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    Re: Solar Would you do it again/Is it all that they advertise?

    @rick999 - unfortunately I'm about the least handy person you'll come across. 9 4x12 panels with all connectors, pipes, controller etc. is costing me $3,100 installed. Boy do I wish I was handy . . .


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