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Thread: Solar Panel, which flow is best?

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    Solar Panel, which flow is best?

    I bought a house in Las Vegas and have been messing around with the Solar System on the pool. It was off all winter, water temp got down to 45 degrees in January. I have been running the panel for a few weeks now. Our temp outside has been 70+ mostly. The pool temp seems to get up to about 70 during the day and goes down to 60 at night.

    I have a dedicated cleaner valve, and 1 valve for skimmer and main drain. I usually have the skimmer/main drain value in the middle so both run. The cleaner is usually on too. What I am confused about is where the panels are pulling the water from. Does it pull from all 3? or would it be best to turn off cleaner and close skimmer, so all water comes from the bottom main drain?

    I have been reading about Solar systems on here and it seems I need the solar blanket to stop the loss at night, but fro the numbers above does it seem that the panels are working properly? They blow out air when it first turns on and everything I just though my temp would rise faster than this.

    Pool is 12,000 IG, Hayward system
    12,000 Gallon
    Hayward 2HP Pump
    Solar Panel
    TF-100 Kit
    Built 2004, bought Dec 2007
    BBB All the Way

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    You don't say how large your solar panels are, so there isn't any way I can guess if your temperature gain is reasonable.

    From your description, and assuming you have a suction side cleaner, the solar would be getting water from all three places. You want to be getting at least a little of your water from the bottom of the pool (main drain and/or cleaner) so that the entire pool gets heated. Otherwise the water at the bottom can remain cold while the upper surface area warms up. You also don't want to set the valves in any way that restricts the flow to much (which would cause the filter pressure to drop noticeably). Other than that the solar system doesn't really care how the suction side valves are setup.
    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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    I was jus6t looking through the paperwork, good thing the old owner left it all for me. It looks like there is 8 panels total of 336sq ft. Pool is 12,000 gallons in a kidney shape.
    12,000 Gallon
    Hayward 2HP Pump
    Solar Panel
    TF-100 Kit
    Built 2004, bought Dec 2007
    BBB All the Way

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    It sounds like your panels are close to as much surface area as the pool, my guess is around 90%. Assuming the panels face south, that means you should be seeing on the order of a 15 to 20 degree gain over the average daily temperature (daily high plus daily low divided by two). If I follow your description correctly you aren't getting nearly that much.

    Getting bubbles when the panels first turn on is normal.

    Adding a solar blanket at least at night could get you another 5 degrees or so.
    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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    So today the low was about 49 and high was 78. Yesterday when the pump was done running the pool temp was 71. When I woke up it was 55. Today running the pump all day the temp got to 73. So net gain of 2 degrees. The panels are facing East and get more sun in the morning than the night but the panel temp is always above 80, most of the time above 90.

    So again tonight the pool temp will go down, then tomorrow go back up, I am seeing 2-3 degrees net incease per day on the sunny warms days.

    I would assume the solar blanket would stop much of that night temp loss and I could start the day out higher and therefore warm the pool faster. BUT the pool is weird shaped, any idea what customer solar blankets cost?

    Any idea how those pool rings work?
    12,000 Gallon
    Hayward 2HP Pump
    Solar Panel
    TF-100 Kit
    Built 2004, bought Dec 2007
    BBB All the Way

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    NJ
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    Not sure from your post, but you don't want to be pumping water through the panels at night - that will actually cool the pool. In the heat of the summer though you might want to do that.
    20x40 IG vinyl, heatpump and solar and 3 siberian huskies, 10kw PV solar electric system. Nikon Photographer D800e dSLR.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Facing east is going to cut the possible gain down to 10-15 degrees.

    When everything is working ideally the panels should only be a couple of degrees warmer than the pool water (with the pump running). You may not be getting enough flow through the panels. You should have a diverter valve that allows you to control the portion of the flow that goes through the panels. Have you checked how that is set?

    The rings don't seem to work very well for most people. With an irregular pool you normally purchase a rectangular solar cover large enough to cover the entire pool and cut it to match the pool with a utility knife.
    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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    Oct 2007
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    Valrico, FL
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    The temperature of an unheated pool will be close to the average dewpoint temperature. This, in dry climates, can be signifacantly lower then the average air temperature. One way to find your unheated temperature is to find out what the temperature is of a nearby lake, river or ocean. For example I live close to the Gulf of Mexico. The gulf temperatures are running in the mid to upper 60's last week. Our air temperature lows were in the upper 60's to lower seventies.
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    7,500 gal, IG pool, L shape 22' x 15', 1.5 hp pump, cartridge filter, AquaPlus SWG/Controller, Pebble-Tec liner.

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