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Thread: Could use some help with solar heater.

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    Could use some help with solar heater.

    I have a DIY solar heater I'm trying to get working, I'm using 1/2" piping and taking it up on the garage roof that has a total lift off about 15-20 feet (to the top of the ring), I'm estimating there since I didn't have time to measure. I'm using the intex pump that came with my pool which is a SF80110 (according to my manual, it's a 1600 GPH pump).

    My problem is that I can't seem to get any flow from it since I put it on the roof. When it was on the ground I had no issues, now on the roof I can sometimes get a trickle but most of the time I can't get any flow at all even with the bypass completely closed forcing all the pump flow through the heater.

    Does this pump just not have enough head pressure to pump it that high or is it more of a prime issue. If it is just likely not priming, how would I go about getting it to prime? I've included pictures of my setup for reference, thanks in advance! 20160822_073949.jpg20160822_073936.jpg

    Intex 24x12x52 AGP (8400 Gallons), Intex CS8110 SWG, Intex SF80110 Pump w/ Sand Filter

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help with solar heater.

    How many gallons is that pool? Both the pump and filter seem exceedingly small. I think you hit it correctly that your pump just doesn't have enough "oomph" to get the water up there.

    You should be able to tell if it's priming by looking into the pump skimmer basket.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help with solar heater.

    That small pipe combined with the lift is probably the issue. 1/2 pipe only has about 1/7th the water capacity of the 1.5" PVC, so you are really making it hard on the pump, then you are adding another ~10ft lift putting it on the roof.

    Your best answer is to plumb 1.5" to the roof and make a manifold to split the flow to about a half dozen smaller coils.
    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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    Re: Could use some help with solar heater.

    It is a 8400 gallon pool.

    Intex 24x12x52 AGP (8400 Gallons), Intex CS8110 SWG, Intex SF80110 Pump w/ Sand Filter

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    Re: Could use some help with solar heater.

    Best bet is to find a used solar panel or two on ebay for cheap and plumb with 1 1/2" line. With many people adding solar electrical systems these last few years, it is very common to find people having to reduce or remove their solar pool panels to make way for these systems so,they end up on ebay. I bought 6 fafco panels recently to replace my aging vortex panels which had begun to spring leaks. Panels run from $25 ~ $75 each depending on age and size. You will get way more heat out of something like this than a piece of pvc tubing.
    18,000 gunite pool/spa combo. Pebble tec, iaqualink rs8, cl580 filter, aquapure 1400, 400k btu lx heater, 10 solar panels, jandy 1hp, 1 1/2hp, and 2hp stealth pumps for circ, spa, waterfall

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    Re: Could use some help with solar heater.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rossterman View Post
    Best bet is to find a used solar panel on ebay for cheap and plumb with 1 1/2" line. With many people adding solar electrical systems these last few years, it is very common to find people having to reduce or remove their solar pool panels to make way for these systems so,they end up on ebay. I bought 6 fafco panels recently to replace my aging vortex panels which had begun to spring leaks. Panels run from $25 ~ $75 each depending on age and size. You will get way more heat out of something like this than a piece of pvc tubing.
    This may not be a bad idea, I was hoping to get this up and running to extend my season a little and then look into something like this next year, i think I would need a new pump to run a setup like that though... Or at least a second pump to run only the panels.

    Intex 24x12x52 AGP (8400 Gallons), Intex CS8110 SWG, Intex SF80110 Pump w/ Sand Filter

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Could use some help with solar heater.

    Solar pool heat is all about surface area a typical 4x12 solar heating panel has dozen of small tubes that connect the two main 1.5 inch headers giving them a highly optimized effective surface area of 48 sq feet, vs this tubing you are using which may have a surface area of 2 or 3 sq feet. In addition you have a great deal more back pressure limiting flow with your setup.
    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: Could use some help with solar heater.

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
    Solar pool heat is all about surface area a typical 4x12 solar heating panel has dozen of small tubes that connect the two main 1.5 inch headers giving them a highly optimized effective surface area of 48 sq feet, vs this tubing you are using which may have a surface area of 2 or 3 sq feet. In addition you have a great deal more back pressure limiting flow with your setup.
    How is surface area calculated in this instance? I have 500 feet of tubing running around in a circle. The pre built solar heaters look to use a 1-1/2" PVC manifold that connects a series of tubes nearly identical to the ones I'm using. I think I need to study up on pump operation...

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
    That small pipe combined with the lift is probably the issue. 1/2 pipe only has about 1/7th the water capacity of the 1.5" PVC, so you are really making it hard on the pump, then you are adding another ~10ft lift putting it on the roof.

    Your best answer is to plumb 1.5" to the roof and make a manifold to split the flow to about a half dozen smaller coils.
    I missed this post earlier, but it answered some questions. So it will be easier for the pump to have 1-1/2 inch to the roof then a manifold to split it through the lines than trying to force it all through a 1/2" tube? I did notice my pressures raise drastically since doing this, and thus I haven't run the pump much with it up there for fear of burning it up.

    Last edited by Dragoth; 08-22-2016 at 06:49 PM. Reason: Missed previous post
    Intex 24x12x52 AGP (8400 Gallons), Intex CS8110 SWG, Intex SF80110 Pump w/ Sand Filter

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