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Thread: Going solar with intex, can you help???

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    Going solar with intex, can you help???

    I am thinking of getting a 4x20 fafco solar panel for my 2000 gallon pool which will be upsized to 3500 gallon next year.

    Location gets good sun around 8 hours a day. I plan to mount it on a 6 foot fence that is next to the pool.

    My question/concerns are the intex fittings on my intex 1650 sand filter and the intex SWCG. The plumbing of the solar panels seems easy enough until I get to the non standard intex fittings. Any lessons learned from your set up would be appreciated.

    I saw these panels on ebay for $240 with shipping. I would like to set it up this fall to make setup next spring easier. My current temps with a solar cover are near 90 degrees. I'm hopeing the solar panels will keep the water above 70 deg. until November. For less than $300 I will take a chance and see.
    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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    cubbybeave08's Avatar
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    Re: Going solar with intex, can you help???

    Quote Originally Posted by BBBliever
    I am thinking of getting a 4x20 fafco solar panel for my 2000 gallon pool which will be upsized to 3500 gallon next year.

    Location gets good sun around 8 hours a day. I plan to mount it on a 6 foot fence that is next to the pool.

    My question/concerns are the intex fittings on my intex 1650 sand filter and the intex SWCG. The plumbing of the solar panels seems easy enough until I get to the non standard intex fittings. Any lessons learned from your set up would be appreciated.

    I saw these panels on ebay for $240 with shipping. I would like to set it up this fall to make setup next spring easier. My current temps with a solar cover are near 90 degrees. I'm hopeing the solar panels will keep the water above 70 deg. until November. For less than $300 I will take a chance and see.
    The problem as I see it is that the intex pump may not have enough power to move water through the solar bear. I have a 2 hp pump, and when I run the water through the heater panels it cuts the flow in half easily. Now that cuts it from 2 hp down to 1 hp which is still enough to have good circulation in my 24 foot pool...but I am not sure what that will do to the smaller pumps with an intex pool.
    Beave
    Aqua Leader 24ft Round AG Wil-Bar Influence w/54 inch walls 13,500 gallons
    Swimline J-Blue Opal Liner, 1 4X20 Fafco Solar Bear Solar Heater
    Hayward 2 HP Swim Pro Voyager Pump Micro 150 with 4 way timer
    Swim Pro Voyager Filtration System with Hayward ABS Pearl wide mouth skimmer

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    cubbybeave08's Avatar
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    Re: Going solar with intex, can you help???

    Quote Originally Posted by BBBliever
    I am thinking of getting a 4x20 fafco solar panel for my 2000 gallon pool which will be upsized to 3500 gallon next year.

    Location gets good sun around 8 hours a day. I plan to mount it on a 6 foot fence that is next to the pool.

    My question/concerns are the intex fittings on my intex 1650 sand filter and the intex SWCG. The plumbing of the solar panels seems easy enough until I get to the non standard intex fittings. Any lessons learned from your set up would be appreciated.

    I saw these panels on ebay for $240 with shipping. I would like to set it up this fall to make setup next spring easier. My current temps with a solar cover are near 90 degrees. I'm hopeing the solar panels will keep the water above 70 deg. until November. For less than $300 I will take a chance and see.

    Where are you located. It seems that if your solar cover is keeping you in the 90s...You would not have that much trouble keeping it in the 70s until November. I live in NW Indiana and my Solar Bear keeps my pool 82-88 without the solar cover...Just wondering if the Fafco is over kill for such a small pool.
    Beave
    Aqua Leader 24ft Round AG Wil-Bar Influence w/54 inch walls 13,500 gallons
    Swimline J-Blue Opal Liner, 1 4X20 Fafco Solar Bear Solar Heater
    Hayward 2 HP Swim Pro Voyager Pump Micro 150 with 4 way timer
    Swim Pro Voyager Filtration System with Hayward ABS Pearl wide mouth skimmer

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    Re: Going solar with intex, can you help???

    Thanks for the input. The intex pump is concern. I was debating if a dedicated fafco pump would be needed that would not be affected by filtering. Then again the solar panels might be overkill.

    Personally I like colder water with my hot tub but the kids 3 and 1 y/o don't last long in the cold water. This is my first year with the pool. Maybe I should go slow, monitor temps and sun paterns during the fall and spring to evaluate if the solar is needed.

    Honestly I think I would only use it in April/May and October/Noverber, but for less than $300 it would be worth it if the pump supported it.
    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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    Re: Going solar with intex, can you help???

    Well I am going solar. Just bought a 4x20 fafco on eBay for $240. I think I have the plumbing figured out. Have plans for s PVC rack mounted to the fence. Hopefully the intex pump will support the panel.

    I think this will make a huge difference in my pool and maybee make my swim season two months longer. I was just thinking about it too much, had to take the chance to see if it works for my set up.

    I will let all know how it goes.
    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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    Re: Going solar with intex, can you help???

    Please keep us informed- I'm curious about your results too. I'd LOVE to extend the season!
    Intex Ultra Frame 18' X 48" 7600 +/- gallons
    Columbia 50 LB sand filter/ HP pump, $$ WELL spent(2nd best thing bought for the pool)
    Virginia Beach, VA
    TF100 test kit- Money WELL spent (best thing I've ever bought for the pool)
    Leisure bay hot tub

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    Re: Going solar with intex, can you help???

    The fafco panel came in today. Got home from work at 5:30 and did a quick set up to the pump, SWCG, and return to the pool. The 1/2 HP intex 1600 supports this panel fine. If flow drops below 700 gph the SWCG shuts down and there is no danger of that.

    One thing I was not expecting was how difficult the panel was to manuver out of the box. It has "memory" from being rolled into a tube and stored in a box for who knows how long.

    After I verified I could hook it up and the pump would support it I decided to unroll it and lay it out flat on the yard with a few 40 lbs bags of dog food on the ends. I plan to let it set in the sun tomorrow to loose it's "memory" of being rolled up.

    I built a rack out of 3/4 inch PVC to mount the panel to a fence near my pool. I hope this rack will support the weight of the panel.

    Sunday I will try to mount the panel to the rack and hopefully all goes well and my pool will be near 90 Monday.

    I will try to figure photobucket out and post picks after I get the set up dialed in. Any suggestions from those of you that might have gone through this with intex equipment are still welcome. Thanks
    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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    Re: Going solar with intex, can you help???

    The fafco panel could not be easier to set up. Works great! I got it plumbed up at 1:30 this afternoon. Ambient air and pool were 80, water from the return was 86.

    The PVC rack did not work. Just too much weight. A panel that size needs 2x4's at a minimum. Still debating the optimum placement of the panel.

    Clearly the intex 1600 is supporting the panel but I think the 1HP 2650 would transfer more heat. The panel was not cool to the touch although I have no reference as to what a panel would feel like that was performing optimally. I think I will stick with the 1600 though as it is working and only draws 300 watts per hour as oppose to the 600 watts per hour the 2650 draws.
    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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    Re: Going solar with intex, can you help???

    Today was the coolest/cloudiest day of the summer. High temp was 85. Solar panel started at 1:30 at 5:00 pool temp raised from 80 to 85. Maybee it would have hit 82 without the panel.
    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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    Re: Going solar with intex, can you help???

    Hmmmm... This has me wondering if a solar panel would work for us. Yesterday was probably 68 degrees out with steady rain all day (obviously not going to get much on a day like this). Our Intex is roughly 5,000 gallons, and we'll be getting something bigger next year. 3½ hours, 2K gallons, benefit of 3 degrees. I wonder what that scenario would be like for 8-10 thousand gallons on a sunny day?
    Intex Ultra Frame 18' X 48" 7600 +/- gallons
    Columbia 50 LB sand filter/ HP pump, $$ WELL spent(2nd best thing bought for the pool)
    Virginia Beach, VA
    TF100 test kit- Money WELL spent (best thing I've ever bought for the pool)
    Leisure bay hot tub

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    Re: Going solar with intex, can you help???

    Yesterdays temp gains were with 1 1/2 hours direct southward sun. After 3:00 the panels are shaded. Today is sunnier/warmer ambient air at 84 now. Started the panels at 10:30 with a water temp of 80. Two hours later the water is at 86.

    I will be having a rack made out of 4x4's and 2x4's and place that in a south/west orientation which will give my setup sun from 10:00 till 5:00 in the spring/fall.

    This year was a very cool summer for us. We usually get the heat that areas like Texas experienced this year. I could see the need to use these panels in the summer to cool the pool as well as making the temps more comfortable in the spring/fall.

    If you want quick heat regarless of the weather you need a gas heater. Still a solar cover and solar panels would help a gas heater and the cost of the panels would be recouped in gas savings.

    You will need more than one panel for your proposed set up. I would guess 3 to 4 depending on sun exposure. For me I never see a need for a pool larger than 8000 gallons or so. I'd rather have a smaller pool that I can maintain the temp on and use it longer.
    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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    Re: Going solar with intex, can you help???

    Forgot to mention my Intex fittings. I tried to pull from all ideas on the intex thread but my SWCG would slowly leak. What I did was cut the end of the intex hose that came with the SWCG.
    I took the fitting from that hose and slid the hose that came with the fafco heater over it. Very tight fit, had to put the end of the fafco hose in boiling water to make it pliable enough to slip on the fitting. No leaks.
    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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    Re: Going solar with intex, can you help???

    Pump/Panel ran for 6 hours today. Pool temp went from 80 to 90, ambient air high temp was 91.I think I will be swimming through October and opening in late March. I am happy with this $240 addition to the pool. If your location will support them I definitely recommend going solar.
    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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    Re: Going solar with intex, can you help???

    Thanks for the updates, I'll be keeping this thread in mind. I don't know what we'll have for a pool yet, but there will be something back there.
    Intex Ultra Frame 18' X 48" 7600 +/- gallons
    Columbia 50 LB sand filter/ HP pump, $$ WELL spent(2nd best thing bought for the pool)
    Virginia Beach, VA
    TF100 test kit- Money WELL spent (best thing I've ever bought for the pool)
    Leisure bay hot tub

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    Re: Going solar with intex, can you help???

    Today will be the big day to see of the 1/2 hp intex 1600 can support the solar panel. The panel has had good flow/performance being on the ground faceing southward.

    Today I will be mounting it to a rack in a south/west orientation. If I have the panel faceing south my house starts to shade the panel at 3:00 and by 4:00 it is compleatly shaded. I will mount it on a rack with the top of the panel being about 9 feet high. In this orientation it will get full sun untill 5:00 and be shaded at 6:00.

    My only concearn is weather the pump will get the water up 9 feet and have adequate flow to cool the panel/heat the water. This pump has suprised me so far, I think I will be pushing it's limits today.
    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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    Re: Going solar with intex, can you help???

    Surprisingly the 1/2 hp intex supports the fafco panel mounted 9 feet high. The SWCG shuts down below 700 gph and it is happy.

    If I had to guess I would say flow has been restricted by 30%. I put my DIY fountain on my return to gauge the return flow. Without the panels if I had the fountain wide open it would spray just over the other side of my 12 ft pool. Now with the panel it will spray about 9 feet across the pool.

    This weekend I will have time to play with the manual bypass valve and gauge the temperature of the panel to see if it is performing efficiently.

    For a pool around 5000 gallons with 1 fafco panel I don't see a need for a larger pump than the 1/2 hp intex. The 1hp draws twice the electric 600 watts an hour. For heating/cooling I will run this 8 hours a day. My electric rates top out at 0.30 kWh.
    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

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: Going solar with intex, can you help???

    Thanks for the update. I've been out of town and saw a LOT of Intex pools in West Virginia, all of them were either empty or green. Even the ingrounds were closed & covered. Ours turned green in my absence, I think it's time to drain it & dispose of it. The ring is dried out & getting brittle.
    Intex Ultra Frame 18' X 48" 7600 +/- gallons
    Columbia 50 LB sand filter/ HP pump, $$ WELL spent(2nd best thing bought for the pool)
    Virginia Beach, VA
    TF100 test kit- Money WELL spent (best thing I've ever bought for the pool)
    Leisure bay hot tub

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    Re: Going solar with intex, can you help???

    Sad to hear the season ending. Soon that time will be here for me, but yesterday the pool hit 96. Even my 3 y/o said it was to warm. My pool tends to lose 6 deg overnight with a solar cover on. This morning the temp is at 90.

    For a larger pool the solar heating will be slower. Heating takes days not hours. Maybe you only get a 2 deg temp gain a day but over a week the temp could go from 75 to 85.

    Finding a good place for the panel was the difficult part for me. The rack I had built cost more than the panel. A roof mount would be best if it can be done.
    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

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: Going solar with intex, can you help???

    I've got a shed with good sun exposure I could mount a panel(s)to, but it's 12 feet to the peak of the roof. We had one of those "bubble wrap" solar covers and it helped, but it fell apart in somewhat short order. I'm not sure what size or type of pool we'll have yet, we haven't even taken down the current pool.

    I'm also thinking that I might use the small pump that we picked up somewhere to run independently and dedicated to the heater. I've had it set up on an old pool ladder and draped the hoses over the side, aiming the return to make a slow whirlpool. It helps get the dirt into the center of the pool (easier to vacuum) and also helps disperse chemicals (going to look REALLY closely at BBB for the next one). It would be a good place to put a stabilizer sock too.

    I'd love to have 96 degree water again! My thermometers never came out of the shed this year, not that they're accurate anyway. It was either warm enough or it wasn't.
    Intex Ultra Frame 18' X 48" 7600 +/- gallons
    Columbia 50 LB sand filter/ HP pump, $$ WELL spent(2nd best thing bought for the pool)
    Virginia Beach, VA
    TF100 test kit- Money WELL spent (best thing I've ever bought for the pool)
    Leisure bay hot tub

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    Re: Going solar with intex, can you help???

    I was so impressed with the solar I added another panel to my set up to give 100% solar/pool surface area coverage. This weeks highs have been mid 80's with lows around 60. Average ambient temp which my pool would be without solar has been in the low 70's. Third day with the second panel on and I'm 20 degrees above average at 90 degree's today.

    The intex 1600 just supports these two panels. If I had to guess I would say each panel cut flow by 25%. The SWCG is supported and that takes 700 gph but there is definitely less than 1000 gph from the returns. I have been considering a 2 speed 1 hp pump with cartridge filter but it will cost about $750. For my small pool running the solar for 6 hours still gives me a full turnover. A larger pool would at the very least need the intex 2650 or a more powerfully pump.

    One thing is for sure, I had a great time with the kids in the pool this evening. If you have the space to go solar it is worth the money.
    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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