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Thread: Solar heater suggestions?

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    Solar heater suggestions?

    I have a 18' x 54" Sharkline pool and would like to have a better solar heater. I currently have one of the GAME dome and I think it does help some but would like more heat. I can put more of the GAME heaters in series, or would a panel be a better option?
    I do have a south facing garage roof just a few feet from the pool that I could mount on. My pump is a 40GPM Hayward.
    Thanks.
    Round 18' Sharkline pool, 8600 gallons of well water. Hayward 40gpm single speed pump and DE filter

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Solar heater suggestions?

    When it comes to solar heat, it is all about area, and those domed or arced panels are just gimicks. As it is under ideal conditions (no wind and day time temperature within about 20 degrees F of the desired pool temperature) the basic plain black plastic solar heater panels are around 90% efficient at absorbing solar heat and putting it into the pool water, so there just is not that much room for improvement.
    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
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    Re: Solar heater suggestions?

    Thanks Isaac!
    Any brand recommendations? Fafco seems popular here but get mixed reviews on Amazon. I gather that the "Intex" style solar panels will not handle my pump but most do not give a GPH capacity?
    Round 18' Sharkline pool, 8600 gallons of well water. Hayward 40gpm single speed pump and DE filter

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Solar heater suggestions?

    I am very happy with my Vortex panels, aka Techno-Solis.
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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: Solar heater suggestions?

    I too like my Techno-Solis panels, they unfortunately are rather rigid and must be shipped truck freight (think thin plywood which can be bent into U to fit on a framed pallet), but can't be rolled up and shipped in a small box like some products.

    As to the Fafco panels, I assume you are talking about the Fafco Bear DIY kit panels. Having never owned this brand, my biggest complaint about them is the instructions, which have been dumbed down to the point that they could be followed by a 3rd grade drop out. Unfortunately in so doing many important concepts and concerns for proper installation have been left out in favor of an iMac there is no step 3 style of installation instructions.

    Having said that if you are looking at roof top installation, you should look a panels designed for inground pools that are generally 4x10 or 4x12 with the small water tubes running top to bottom, not side to side like the 2x20 Fafco Bear and others that are designed to install on the ground or on a rack.
    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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    Re: Solar heater suggestions?

    I bought the vortex panels from solar direct back about 10 years ago and most now need replacement due to leaks. The vacuum breakers work as intended and there is a header bypass and drain vlave so the problems aren't related to freeze damage but rather that the plastic becomes brittle and cracks after too many years in the sun. These panels are very difficult to repair if they have a leak compared to the fafco panels which can be easily patched using readily available plug kit. I would steer clear of the vortex panels for this reason.

    In northern california, electrical solar installs are becoming quite popular due to outragous (compared to other states) cost of a kw of electricity ($0.38 vs. $0.09 I paid in houston) so used pool solar panels can be found on craigslist for very reasonable prices as they are removed to allow electrical solar install. Not sure if this is the situation in the n your area but might be worth scouring craigslist to find some used ones. I bought 6 fafco panels that were about 6 years old for $40 per panel and will be installing them as replacements this weekend.
    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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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Solar heater suggestions?

    Good info on lifespan and repairing the vortex/Techno-Solis panels. Mine are 4ish years old.
    TFP Moderator
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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: Solar heater suggestions?

    There was another thread on here a year or so ago regarding the first leak on a set of Techno-Solis / Vortex panels at about 8 years of use (I think in Arizona) and a repair technique using plastic welding. Overall I think this fits in with the expected useful life of pool solar panels being around 10 years, those that have longer warranties are often much more expensive (to pay for expected warranty replacement) or prorate the warranties.
    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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    Re: Solar heater suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
    There was another thread on here a year or so ago regarding the first leak on a set of Techno-Solis / Vortex panels at about 8 years of use (I think in Arizona) and a repair technique using plastic welding. Overall I think this fits in with the expected useful life of pool solar panels being around 10 years, those that have longer warranties are often much more expensive (to pay for expected warranty replacement) or prorate the warranties.

    Ive read and used multiple repair procedures for welding these panels but they are very tricky to do correctly and success rate for me was ~50%. Ive repaired leaks sucessfully for about 3 years now but this year cracks began to show on the backside in addition to the top. As you said, 10 years is about it for lifespan so ultimatley you are only delaying the enevitable.
    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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