Just wanted to let everyone know that I recently purchased a SmartPool SunHeater 4x20 solar kit for our 24' above ground pool a few weeks ago, and I'm getting great results so far. The installation was tedious, but not difficult. My Dad and I ran 1 1/2" SCH40 from the pump area behind the pool deck in ground over to the house, up the side, and onto a roof that is slanted towards the south. I will say that the instructions are very weak with this kit, but I was able to read online for more detail on how to connect it to the system with a motorized actuator (a Hayward GL-235). Installation of the PVC and panels took about a half a day. Plumbing the "mixmaster" as I call it took a while longer because I kept having to break it apart and fix leaky joints. Its ugly, but it works as you can see in the photo.
This week's temperature in Tulsa, OK has averaged 56 to 74 degrees. Max was 84 degrees, but only for a couple hours one day. The sky was partly to mostly sunny for the majority of the week. Immediately after getting everything plumbed in and calibrated, I saw a two-degree temp rise in the water on the first 6 hours. The next couple of days I was getting a 5 degree swing from morning (68 degrees water temp) to after I got home from work (73 degrees water temp) but the water would lose most of its temp increase at night. I picked up a solar blanket at Lowes, and voila! Yesterday after work the pool temp was 80! And yes, I did take a swim. Last year we didn't dare to get into the water until June, so I'm very happy with the early start to pool season.
I've attached a couple of pics of the install (just the PVC in ground and the "mixmaster"). I'll snap a few photos of the panels this weekend and post. They look fine on the roof and lay flat. I painted the PVC a dark brown to match the house trim. I'm clearly just a hack at all this stuff, but nothing is leaking, it looks nice, and the water temp speaks for itself - I'd be more than happy to provide additional details, photos, and tell you about all the stupid mistakes I made and how to avoid them if you're considering this kit for your above ground pool.