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Thread: 3 way valve and solar heater situation

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    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Vero Beach, FL

    3 way valve and solar heater situation

    I installed solar panels and a 3 way valve so that I can divert a portion of the flow to the panels, or shut them off completely. The recomendation is to adjust the valve so that you get a 1 psi rise in pressure which should give the recommended flow rate through the panels. Even looking at the pressure loss vs flow cureves for the panels, 1-2 psi is where I wanted to be. So I adjusted the valve for a 1 psi pressure increase. I noticed the temp rise in the pool after a full days worth of sun and I was happy with the results.

    However, I recently purchased a 3 way valve to install on my inlets and noticed that these valves significantly reduce the flow rate. If the gate is positioned for equal flow between two of the three ports, it blocks 2/3 of each port. Turning off the solar and then adjusting my outlet 3 way valve, I noticed a 2-3 pis increase just by turning the valve slightly. So, I adjusted my solar valve so that I had a 4psi increase, and now I am getting incredible performance from my solar panels.

    Its dishartening to realize that the 3 way valves restrict the flow so much. On my outlets going to the spa and pool, I've tried positioning the valve such that all ports were open, but then my spa waterfall is pathetic, so I need the 3 way positioned in the middle.
    25' x 13' Roman, 12000 gal IGP, Plaster, with 500 gal Spa
    SWG, 1 HP Max Flo Pump, C-900 cartridge filter
    Solar heat

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    SouthWest Alabama

    Re: 3 way valve and solar heater situation

    Most of these type 3-way valves are not really designed to be multiport control valves. They're more designed to be multiple port block valves. What you've discovered is exactly why I prefer individual full port valves.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

  3. Back To Top    #3
    mas985's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Pleasanton, CA

    Re: 3 way valve and solar heater situation

    First, depending on your solar setup, 1-2 PSI rise can be too low and doesn't account for the head loss in the pipes themselves. The manufacture may specify 1-2 PSI loss in the panels, but you will probably get close to that in the pipes as well so you might want to target a 4 PSI rise.

    As for your valve, you should be able to position the 3-way valve so the spa is completely open and the pool returns are only slight closed. This would have the the handle pointing somewhere between the spa pipe and the common pipe. This should provide a bit better performance than having the pool and spa part way on. However, this will only work if the pool and spa lines are on opposite sides of the valve.
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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