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Thread: What is a good, economical solar heater?

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    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    San Jose, CA
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    What is a good, economical solar heater?

    I've seen a bit of variation between the prices of different brands of solar heaters. Is there really a significant difference?

    I was looking at this:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/8-4-x-12-Inground-P ... 286.c0.m14

    along with this controller:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/GL-235-pool-solar-p ... 286.c0.m14

    This one comes with the controller for less $$.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/8-Panel-Inground-Po ... 286.c0.m14

    This one that comes with a controller for almost double the price.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/8-4x12-Swimming-Poo ... 286.c0.m14

    Are any of the above good? Are there any other good options out there for a decent price?
    20,000 Gallon IG Plaster Pool
    36 sq ft DE Filter
    Polaris 180 cleaner

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
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    SW Indiana
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    Re: What is a good, economical solar heater?

    Warranty varies quite a bit. I have Aquasol, made by Solar Depot. Fafco, Heliocol and Enersol are also reputable brands. Check out the Florida Solar Energy Center http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/consumer/sol ... /index.htm for collector ratings and installation information. Just don't buy into the sizing guide, as it's more for areas with year-round swimmig weather.
    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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    Jun 2009
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    Re: What is a good, economical solar heater?

    Thanks for the link, unfortunately most of the models I had seen are not rated.

    It does look like most collectors produce around 1000 BTU/ft^2 +/- 100 BTUs.

    It looks like the Sungrabber ones are made by Fafco. I'm leaning in that direction now, especially considering that they are less than $200 delivered per 4'x12' collector.

    Now I'm going through the logistics of placing the collectors on the roof.

    We don't have much room on the south facing side of the roof, the east side has the most unobstructed sun and lots of space. We also have some room on the west side. I was planning on placing some panels on the east and west sides so they get hit in the morning and afternoon.

    I was wondering if putting two sets of panels, with one on the west and the other on the east is doable. If so what is the optimal plumbing for this setup? Can the water go uphill on one side and downhill on the other, or should the water always be going uphill?

    My idea was to hook up the water coming from the filter to the lower end of the panels on the west side, then connect the output from the top of the panels on the west side to the top of the panels on the east side then route the water from the bottom on the panels on the east side back to the return.
    20,000 Gallon IG Plaster Pool
    36 sq ft DE Filter
    Polaris 180 cleaner

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: What is a good, economical solar heater?

    Quote Originally Posted by hotarri
    I was wondering if putting two sets of panels, with one on the west and the other on the east is doable. If so what is the optimal plumbing for this setup? Can the water go uphill on one side and downhill on the other, or should the water always be going uphill?

    My idea was to hook up the water coming from the filter to the lower end of the panels on the west side, then connect the output from the top of the panels on the west side to the top of the panels on the east side then route the water from the bottom on the panels on the east side back to the return.
    You can have two banks, but you don't want to route the output of a panel anyplace but back to the pool, and you don't want water going down through the panels.

    Running already heated water through panels really causes an efficiency hit, and water needs to enter from the bottom to purge the air. You also need them plumbed so the water drains back to the pool when the pump shuts off or the panels can overheat and be damaged.
    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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