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Thread: @SOLARFORUM - OK, Here I go. FAFCO panels arrived today!

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    @SOLARFORUM - OK, Here I go. FAFCO panels arrived today!

    I am tagging my solar posts with @SOLARFORUM so anyone interested in solar can just search on that term.

    FAFCO panels arrived today!

    Ordered from these guys on EBay:

    solar-discounters - FAFCO SOLAR BEAR 4'X20' POOL HEATER-w/Valve & 6' Hoses - $279 each including shipping.

    I gave them my credit card number on Monday and the panels arrived today, Saturday.

    So far, so good.

    I am making this up as I go along. I'll keep you posted.

    [attachment=0:2ye1h71d]FAFCO-Solar-Bear-for-web.jpg[/attachment:2ye1h71d]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    "Whatever happened to the guy who drained his whole pool?"
    27,000 gal plaster in-ground
    Compupool 40k SWG from eBay - works great!
    Polaris 380
    Hayward DE
    1.4 HP Hayward Northstar pump
    Two FAFCO Solar Bear panels now heating the pool!

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    midtngal's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
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    Nashville, TN
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    Re: @SOLARFORUM - OK, Here I go. FAFCO panels arrived today!

    Well, I for one am going to be watching VERY closely! I also got panels from those folks on Ebay but they are still in the box....and I got them in April! I've had so many problems with the pump and such that I haven't had a chance to put these up. So I would love it if you would give step by step directions on what you do. At this point, I will most likely wait until Spring but am kinda clueless on how to do this but don't care to pay someone to do something that I have every confidence in myself to do. So....keeps us posted! Pictures would be FABULOUS! Good luck!

    Karen
    10,700 gal IG vinyl
    Pentair Triton II TR50 sand filter
    Hayward SharkVac XL cleaner; Emerson 1HP pump
    Bioguard Mineral Springs SWG
    2 skimmers

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    linen's Avatar
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    Twin Cities, MN
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    Re: @SOLARFORUM - OK, Here I go. FAFCO panels arrived today!

    I love our solar. Raised the pool from 78 to 83 F just in time for friends coming over to swim and eat smoked spare ribs poolside though it is now cloudy

    Where do you plan to put them?
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    linda1's Avatar
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    Mar 2010
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    Western Pa.
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    Re: @SOLARFORUM - OK, Here I go. FAFCO panels arrived today!

    I have the same ones, but they are still in the box. I don't think we will bother with them this season but will follow threads with installation hints and suggestions.
    30 ft. round Conquest agp, 19,800 gal; Pentair Easy Clean 1 hp DE EC60 filter system
    Hayward H250N gas heater; TF100 Test Kit
    2 Fafco 4x20 sunsaver solar bear solar panels
    Dolphin E 10 ~ Zoomerang slide
    Majestic 8000 Above-Ground Pool Step

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    Re: @SOLARFORUM - OK, Here I go. FAFCO panels arrived today!

    I could not be happier with these panels.

    I was literally heating my pool 45 minutes after I opened the boxes.

    The panels seem to be very good quality with heavy plastic and high-quality fittings.

    The panels use standard 1.5 inch threaded fittings. These are the same as the outlets on my pool return.

    Bingo!

    I hooked them up in about 45 minutes with just one trip to Lowe's to buy two fittings and some ring clamps.

    Also included were two six-foot flexible pipe pieces per panel and fittings for a roof mount.



    So ... I did a quick and dirty set-up from the pool return and I now have a solar heated pool.

    This will keep things warm while I contemplate the details of a roof mount.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    "Whatever happened to the guy who drained his whole pool?"
    27,000 gal plaster in-ground
    Compupool 40k SWG from eBay - works great!
    Polaris 380
    Hayward DE
    1.4 HP Hayward Northstar pump
    Two FAFCO Solar Bear panels now heating the pool!

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    Re: @SOLARFORUM - Pictures of the install

    [attachment=2:2119p13h]Pipe-layout-for-web.jpg[/attachment:2119p13h]

    [attachment=1:2119p13h]Conectors-for-web.jpg[/attachment:2119p13h]

    [attachment=0:2119p13h]outlet-for-web.jpg[/attachment:2119p13h]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    "Whatever happened to the guy who drained his whole pool?"
    27,000 gal plaster in-ground
    Compupool 40k SWG from eBay - works great!
    Polaris 380
    Hayward DE
    1.4 HP Hayward Northstar pump
    Two FAFCO Solar Bear panels now heating the pool!

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    midtngal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    485

    Re: @SOLARFORUM - OK, Here I go. FAFCO panels arrived today!

    Well, see ....now there's my first minor issue...my pipes to/from the pool are 2 in. so I will need to buy adjustments for the fittings. I also did not get any of the flex piping so I will need to buy this. None of this is a big problem...just another step. I haven't even looked yet, but I am assuming that Lowe's/Home Dept sells the black flex piping??? I'm not going to mess with them until I do the roof mount. I don't see any reason to put them up now only to be out there during the winter and possibly get damaged, even though they are made for year-round mount. But I also will not need them as I am going to have to close the pool down @ 9/15. The temp here in Nashville is enough, along with the solar blanket, to keep it swimmable until then.

    But.... I'm still watching and taking notes! I very much appreciate this thread!

    Karen
    10,700 gal IG vinyl
    Pentair Triton II TR50 sand filter
    Hayward SharkVac XL cleaner; Emerson 1HP pump
    Bioguard Mineral Springs SWG
    2 skimmers

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    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    7

    Re: @SOLARFORUM - OK, Here I go. FAFCO panels arrived today!

    Will also be watching this thread closely. I will be installing one if these panels next season aswell.
    21' Sharkline Venture AGP (10,400g)
    Hayward PowerFlo Matrix 1hp pump
    Hayward 21" sand filter (200lbs)
    Hayward 900 auto vacuum
    Fafco Solar Bear 4x20
    Hard plumbed

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    Re: @SOLARFORUM - Update 9/3/2011

    Update

    Water temperature was 84 the day I started up the panels.

    Last night it was 88.

    This morning 86.

    Air temperature has been 4-8 degrees cooler than the week prior to the install.

    I added a SmartPool AP72 SolarPill I/G Pools (up to 30,000 gal) yesterday.

    We'll see how it works.

    Still contemplating putting the panels on my raised metal roof.
    "Whatever happened to the guy who drained his whole pool?"
    27,000 gal plaster in-ground
    Compupool 40k SWG from eBay - works great!
    Polaris 380
    Hayward DE
    1.4 HP Hayward Northstar pump
    Two FAFCO Solar Bear panels now heating the pool!

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: @SOLARFORUM Project cost so far about $600

    So far about $600 in the project.
    Mostly the panels plus a few fittings and a package of ring clamps.
    "Whatever happened to the guy who drained his whole pool?"
    27,000 gal plaster in-ground
    Compupool 40k SWG from eBay - works great!
    Polaris 380
    Hayward DE
    1.4 HP Hayward Northstar pump
    Two FAFCO Solar Bear panels now heating the pool!

  11. Back To Top    #11

    @SOLARFORUM - Temperature up 3 degrees in 6 hours.

    3:40 PM and the pool is up to 89.
    That's roughly 3 degrees in 6 hours of peak sun.
    "Whatever happened to the guy who drained his whole pool?"
    27,000 gal plaster in-ground
    Compupool 40k SWG from eBay - works great!
    Polaris 380
    Hayward DE
    1.4 HP Hayward Northstar pump
    Two FAFCO Solar Bear panels now heating the pool!

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Central Califorina
    Posts
    208

    Re: @SOLARFORUM - OK, Here I go. FAFCO panels arrived today!

    You have inspired me to go solar too. As I only have a 2,000 gallon AGP an 80 s/f panel should make a huge difference. I have to take a close look at my intex plumbing with SWCG tomorrow to see how I will plumb everything.

    With a solar cover I can get my water to 90 by days end, just where my 3 and 1 y/o like it. My wife will sigh when I tell here my pool project is growing more but willingly accept it as it gets me and the kids out of the house for an hour every evening. Peace and quite is priceless for a stay at home mom.

    With the solar panel and a hot tub I think we might be able to use the pool thru November and open in early April. If these panels give me a 8 month swim season it will be money well spent.
    3500 gallon 14x42 Intex Ultra Frame
    1/2 HP Intex 1600 sand filter/pump - Intex SWCG
    Two 4x20 Fafco solar panels.
    Taylor K-2006
    Marquis spirit hot tub - Grill Dome ceramic grill/smoker

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    kenandshari's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    Location
    Savannah, GA
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    Re: @SOLARFORUM - OK, Here I go. FAFCO panels arrived today!

    I installed our solar back in April. We have Aquasol panels roof mounted. I did the entire install myself in about a week of evenings after work. Search our posts for things I learned. I remember having a few "watchers" on my install as well. Not really all that difficult of a project. I'd recommend getting some climbing rope to tie yourself off when working on the roof for safety. More details are in my posts about the job. Best of luck to you.
    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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    kenandshari's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    Location
    Savannah, GA
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    Re: @SOLARFORUM - OK, Here I go. FAFCO panels arrived today!

    I'll paste some of my previous posts below that you may find helpful. You won't regret adding solar once it's all installed and working. We don't use our solar cover in the summer here and Friday night was kind of cool (low 70's) for here. Yesterday we ran the solar in the morning and brought the pool up from 80 to 88 by about noon. (air temp was 90 and full sun on pool to help out). We had 3 families over in and out of the pool all afternoon until about 10:30pm and the water only dipped to about 85 by the time everyone was done with the pool. We haven't been using our solar since early June I think. Nice to have when you want it though.

    Posts are below:
    ==============================================
    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

    ====================================================

    You are in TN, so I would think that you have enough available sun to go with solar. Check sites that sell solar for their recommendations for your location and pool size. I only have limited experience with this, but so far, initial purchase price is about the only cost involved. This makes it the best long term option IMHO. You can automate it so you don't even have to think about it once it is set. You don't really even need the air to be all that warm since it is the same principle as a water hose laying out in the sun. Even on a cool day, the sun heats the water that's been sitting in the hose and you feel the heat as soon as you turn on the water. Solar panels do this far more effectively than the water hose I just described though. It's been a long time since college physics, but I'm pretty sure that this is the 1st law of thermodynamics. In lay terms, heat goes from where it is to where it isn't. I had a nerd moment there.

    Back to researching your options, We researched various heating options during our decision as well (search our other posts to see more about that.) Anyway, we went with solar in early April and the DIY install was fairly easy. It can be done in a few days if you plan it out well before you begin. The cost for everything in our system was under $2000. Our air temps were in the upper 70's to upper 80's in the day when we started using it and within a few days our pool went from about 72 to holding 85. We used our solar cover when not swimming to prevent heat loss and help maintian the temp over night - lows back then were 50's mostly. By mid May we were at 90 daily without using the cover. We now have it set at 88 and it holds that fine. BTW, we have 5 Aquasol panels 4' x 12' roof mounted on a south facing roof. We get full sun on the panels over 8 hours a day. Since we run the pump about 10 hours a day anyway, the purchase price was the only real cost we've seen so far. 5 panels is actually 1 less than the minimum recommended for our size pool and our location, but so far it's working fine for us. I can easily add 3 more if needed and may add to our system in the fall once we can determine if that will extend pool use enough to justify it. Hope this helps you in your research.

    ===================================================

    (context of this one was bubbles out of the returns when solar is on) -- We just installed our pool this year so my experience is limited, but if you have a cartridge filter, when is the last time you cleaned your filter? The filter catches a lot of debris from the initial pool installation as well as when you vaccum. We begin getting bubbles from the solar air relief valves on our system about the same time the filter gets dirty. 30psi is the magic number for us. We had a big party for the kids this weekend with about 30 kids in & out all day and that was enough to require filter cleaning.

    ===================================================

    (Mounting solar panels on the roof) -- I just did my DIY solar install a few weeks ago (automated and all that) and agree with all above on the holes. I wrestled mentally with the idea of putting holes into a roof that does not leak. I discussed it with a roofer I know and felt better about the whole process after that. You can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs, so you'll just have to go for it. Buy high quality sealer and keep a couple of old t-shirt sized rags on the roof with you as you work. That sealer is very messy and I promise that you WILL need the rags. Goo Gone and GoJo work well for getting it off of your hands at the end of the day. I hear that latex surgical gloves are a good clean hands option as well. (I just got dirty and used the aforementioned cleaners after the fact.)

    Here's how you safe yourself on the roof: get a decent climbing rope for you and something adequate for your tool bag. Tie the ropes off to an immovable object (a tree works well) on the opposite side of your house from where you are working and take the rope over the peak of the roof so it hangs down on the side you need to work on. Tie yourself off with this (70's Batman & Robin climbing style). Use caribeaners to clip yourself in and make adjustments etc. so you can easily move around. Once you are secure up there it gets pretty fun. There's rock climbing sites out there that can show you how to tie off & secure yourself --it is really easy to do, keeps you safe, and frees up both hands and your mind so you can work efficiently and effectively. Now, for the cheaper grade rope, get yourself a tool bag and load it with all the things you may need up there. Pull it up to the roof and tie it off. You can use dummy chord on things you may drop and break (drills and such). You may want to use gloves depending on roof temp so you don't burn yourself. Having lots of pockets is a plus too..they come in very handy on the roof. Oh, and get good galvanized lag bolts, you don't want rust up there.

    Now that you're tied off and safe, working with the panels on the roof can be a pain as well. You can preset them by tieing them off with ropes so you don't have to hold and drill at the same time. I did not have a helper up there, so I had to get creative on how to make it happen. I tied my panels off and pulled them up to the roof, then tied them in to my ropes to hold them where I wanted so I could align them, drill, and bolt. It went pretty smoothly. Basically, I pulled a page from some things I had been trained on in the past and applied it creatively to my project. Hope this keeps you safe and helps you out. I installed 5 each 4' x 12' panels this way. Oh, you'll need to use the schedule 40 PVC to connect it all together. Just get white pipes (unless you have black available in your area) and paint them black with the plastic formula spray paint for the pipes that will go on the roof. I cut and dry fit all of my pipes, then I glued my roof pipes in sections and painted them on the ground. After they had adequate time to dry, I took them up to the roof and installed them. I scratched them in some places so minor touch-up painting was all I had to do on the roof...simple to do. I initially made the mistake of using black ABS pipe to span a skylight and learned that ABS is a bad choice...the hard way. There's always time to do it again...the right way. Good luck with your install.

    ===========================================END OF PREVIOUS POSTS

    There were some others as well, but these seem relevant. I've only installed solar once, so that's all the experience I have at it but I'm happy to share what I learned. If you nave questions about what I did on ours just ask. (PM to get my attn) Best of luck to you!
    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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