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Thread: Why such price difference with Solar Panels? and what else??

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    Why such price difference with Solar Panels? and what else??

    My pool will be here in a little over a week. I want to purchase a 4x20 Solar Bear panel. I have been looking online. Why is there such a big price difference from stores? Am I missing something, like are these the same items? This is an example, but many shops have HUGE price differences. I know between the two I am linking to, that one is 2" header and one has 1 1/2" header. That is the only difference I see. Is the 2" header THAT much better?? I plan to have my panel next to the pool, ground level, or slightly above, if I put on a rack. It will be by the pump.

    2": http://www.poolsupplyworld.com/poolsupp ... /NS725.htm

    1 1/2": http://www.nationaldiscountpoolsupplies ... plabg.html

    Also, what else will I need for this? Since I am installing close to ground level, I don't need vacuum plug or whatever, correct? Do I need anything other than a 3 way valve?

    Also, if I need more hosing, which do you suggest? Below is a link to a few kinds: Flex PVC Pool & Spa Hose, High Grade Filter Hose w/cuffed ends

    http://www.nationaldiscountpoolsupplies ... abgrf.html
    14.6K gal., 24ft, 54" above ground. 2HP, 2speed Hayward pump (4psi low, 18psi hi), 150sqft cartridge filter. 4x20 solar panel (6 psi).

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    Re: Why such price difference with Solar Panels? and what el

    I have installed many solar heaters down here. To put my 2 cents in, most of the smallet above ground pools we put up (say, smaller that 24' Round or 16X32 Oval) we piped them in with 1-1/2" PVC. If the pool is piped this way, then using 2" headers won't make that big of a difference since most of the water will be restricted at the pump and filter anyway. The larger pools usually had 2" PVC on larger pump/filter systems. The purpose of the 3-way valve is to adjust the water through the panel. The slower it moves through, the more time it has to heat it. Sending all the water through would go to quick to heat efficiently as well as cool the insides. you would put the 3-way valve after the filter and a T fitting after to tie in to the pool return. Hope this give you some insight.

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    Re: Why such price difference with Solar Panels? and what el

    Quote Originally Posted by Insomnix
    I have installed many solar heaters down here. To put my 2 cents in, most of the smallet above ground pools we put up (say, smaller that 24' Round or 16X32 Oval) we piped them in with 1-1/2" PVC. If the pool is piped this way, then using 2" headers won't make that big of a difference since most of the water will be restricted at the pump and filter anyway. The larger pools usually had 2" PVC on larger pump/filter systems. The purpose of the 3-way valve is to adjust the water through the panel. The slower it moves through, the more time it has to heat it. Sending all the water through would go to quick to heat efficiently as well as cool the insides. you would put the 3-way valve after the filter and a T fitting after to tie in to the pool return. Hope this give you some insight.
    Thx. Ya, from what I saw, the setup I am getting is 1 1/2" pump/filter system. In order to have any advantage, I would have to change all those hoses too. Even if I did go to 2" for all hoses, once I get to the solar panel, if it were 1 1/2, I would just get an adaptor anyways, right? I don't see how the 2" headers make much difference, when it is running right into small tubes. Still not sure about all the fittings I need.
    14.6K gal., 24ft, 54" above ground. 2HP, 2speed Hayward pump (4psi low, 18psi hi), 150sqft cartridge filter. 4x20 solar panel (6 psi).

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Why such price difference with Solar Panels? and what el

    The main difference is one store is charging more than the other. Mine claimed to be 2" headers too, but it's not and accepts standard 1.5" pvc fittings. I plumbed mine using flex pvc http://www.nationaldiscountpoolsupplies ... pospa.html (you can find it much cheaper) and sch 40 glued fittings. IMO clamps and flex hoses are to prone to failure.

    Insomnix mentioned you want slow water movement, but that's actually not the case. You certainly do not want to send 100% of the flow of the water to the panels (avoid significant PSI and potential panel damage), but it should move fast enough that the panels are always cool to the touch for maximum heat gain. Giving the water to much time in the panels creates a larger pool water/panel temp differential and is less efficient. When adjusting flow to the panels, aim for a 2-3psi rise. They are working properly if the are cool to touch
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Why such price difference with Solar Panels? and what el

    +1 on what dmanb2b said about rapid water movement. You want as much water flowing through the panels as the panels are rated for. Faster water movement means a larger temperature difference and more efficient heat transfer.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    kenandshari's Avatar
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    Re: Why such price difference with Solar Panels? and what el

    I did my own solar install in April and found price variances everywhere. I just went with what I thought was a good system, peroid. I wanted to install it and not have to mess with it for a long time. So far so good on that, and time will tell I met my goal there. The plumbing was a lilttle confusing at first look, but after some planning time to throroughly understand how it all has to work it turned out pretty simple and our system works well. One good resource that has good "cartoons" and videos explaining the whole thing is h2otsun industries.

    http://www.h2otsun.com/pools/index.html

    I learned a lot on this site. Good luck.
    Ken & Shari
    Savannah, GA
    16' x 40' freeform fiberglass inground (Pacific model, mfg by Tallman Pools), 23k gal, 2" plumbing throughout, Intellichlor IC-40, Easy Touch controller, Intelliflow VS 3050 pump, Pentair Clean & Clear Plus Quad Cartridge filter. 4 Jandy deck jets (3/4" plumbing), Fiberstars color changing lighting, SR Smith salt friendly diving system, Interfab Wild Ride slide, Aquasol Solar Heat (5 panels 4'x12' DIY install automated with ET) RIP Nitro Wall Climber Mar 2011-Aug 2012, Nitro is survived by a Polaris 360.

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    Re: Why such price difference with Solar Panels? and what el

    Ok, well, I think I will just go for the solar bear 4x20 from a good place, at a good price. I think the 1 1/2" will be fine for me. I have looked at so many different installation instructions, I am dizzy. On Fafco's site, they show hooking it up directly between the filter and inlet. No 3 way valve or anything. I totally understand why a 3way valve is a much better idea, and not relying on the valve that comes inline on the solar panel. I would use the 3 way valve, to allow ONLY enough water to the panels for it to work correctly, not allowing ALL the water to it, since my pump would push too much psi, correct? Ok, if so, here is a dumb question, how do I measure the psi? Secondly, when at ground lvl, do I need all the check valves, and even a vacuum release valve?
    14.6K gal., 24ft, 54" above ground. 2HP, 2speed Hayward pump (4psi low, 18psi hi), 150sqft cartridge filter. 4x20 solar panel (6 psi).

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    Re: Why such price difference with Solar Panels? and what el

    Quote Originally Posted by dmanb2b
    The main difference is one store is charging more than the other. Mine claimed to be 2" headers too, but it's not and accepts standard 1.5" pvc fittings. I plumbed mine using flex pvc http://www.nationaldiscountpoolsupplies ... pospa.html (you can find it much cheaper) and sch 40 glued fittings. IMO clamps and flex hoses are to prone to failure.
    Anyone buy flex hose from flexiblepvc.net before? Their prices seem very inexpensive. $30 for 25 ft.

    http://www.flexiblepvc.net/Flexible_PVC ... ewhite.htm
    14.6K gal., 24ft, 54" above ground. 2HP, 2speed Hayward pump (4psi low, 18psi hi), 150sqft cartridge filter. 4x20 solar panel (6 psi).

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Why such price difference with Solar Panels? and what el

    Quote Originally Posted by Drayken
    question, how do I measure the psi? Secondly, when at ground lvl, do I need all the check valves, and even a vacuum release valve?
    PSI on the filter guage

    No check valves or vacum if they are on the ground...when not in use during mid summer, I just turn them on every few days to keep the water inside "Fresh". The have plugs on the other end if you ever need to drain them.
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Why such price difference with Solar Panels? and what el

    Think I got mine from plumbingsupply.com
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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    Re: Why such price difference with Solar Panels? and what el

    Thanks dmanb2b, got the PM. I think I am about there. So I will go pool, pump, filter, 3 way valve. I will then, on the return from the panels, bring it to a "T" back to the inlet of the pool. I won't use the valve that is in the panel itself. I will use the 3way to control how much flow goes to the panels, or shut the panels off completely from there. (the 3way will go to the "T" also.)
    14.6K gal., 24ft, 54" above ground. 2HP, 2speed Hayward pump (4psi low, 18psi hi), 150sqft cartridge filter. 4x20 solar panel (6 psi).

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