We have an 18x36 Vinyl IG being built in the spring. Thanks to this forum I've gone from complete neophyte (I never even knew someone who had a pool) to being almost literate. You've all helped me make some more intelligent decisions regarding my pump, filter, and chlorination equipment. Because of this site I'm also completely intrigued by solar. I have a big west-facing roof, high on a hilltop with unimpeded access to direct sunlight. So I'm convinced that with enough panels we won't need supplemental heat here in the Pittsburgh area.
A few questions:
First: I read up on the UCF site and I'm aware of how they characterize panel performance -- that helps narrow my decisions. My questions now regard a few of the features of different types. It seems the panels are one of three types: a) rigid risers that are interconnected (Fafco Revolution, Aquatherm) b) rigid risers that are not interconnected (Fafco ST, Heliocol) and c) flexible risers (SunTrek, Hot Sun/Powerstrip). Which of these types:
1) are least likely to damage the roof -- I have perhaps unfounded concerns about the panels rubbing my asphalt shingles and causing damage?
2) are most likely to survive strong winds -- It seems that they all must, but does anyone have direct experience with either success or failure in strong winds?
3) are most likely to survive freeze-thaw cycles -- it's 27F and snowing outside my window as I type this.
4) are least likely to leak -- Is this really ****ing post (http://www.poolspaforum.com/forum/index ... opic=36970) typical? How often are you all up on your roofs plugging holes?
Next: how do you acquire these **** things? Solar power isn't exactly huge in Pittsburgh, and the one solar dealer that called me back has installed exactly 1 of these systems. I'm not afraid of DIY, but it doesn't seem like the big brands that you all talk about -- Fafco and Heliocol -- have online dealers. I've checked ebay and I don't see anything for sale at the moment..I'd prefer new.
Lastly , if any of you in colder climates can share typical temps you've achieved throughout the season I'd appreciate it. More data points == more confidence. And in the odd chance there's a Pittsburgh area person on here with direct experience, I would gladly buy you a beer or three in exchange for a conversation about your experiences.
Thanks in advance.