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Thread: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

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    Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    So I just got my new solar panels (wife called me ). Got them from Solarcovers.com. There are 4, 2.5'x20' panels for a total of 200sq ft (about 1/3 of my pool). I am going to rack mount them to avoid climbing on the roof (which is steep ).

    My question is on the plumbing. The line coming out of my filter is 2.5" which goes to a 2" jet returns and 1.5" aux return. I plan on cutting into the 2.5" coming from my cholrinator (Nature2 unit....I know...not putting in the cartridge this year).

    I don't know if the panles can handle the full flow from the pump so I wanted to be able to put some Jandy 3way valvles in so that I could divert some of the flow from the pump. The problem is, I am not sure how to accomplish this without risking back pressure into the solar panels.

    I attached a pic of my setup for reference.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    29k gallon IG guninte lagoon shape.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    Like all of your current valves, in my opinion it is best to have the "common" pipe go to the middle port of the valve. This gives you better control of the mixing.

    The first problem with that is if you put a 3-valve between the Nature 2 and the return valve, the return will no longer line up. Have you considered just removing the Nature 2 from the plumbing? If the pipe from the filter could be rotated slightly (not possible if it is glued) to line up with the return pipe, you could put the solar 3-way valve right there.

    BTW, you only need one 3-way on the supply to the solar, you can use it to throttle how much water goes to solar. On the solar return you will want a check valve and then just T back into the return line.
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    Re: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    The nature 2 holds my cholrine tabs as well. That's why I didnt really want to take it out. Guess I could rerun the pipe coming out o the nature2 to the left or up and over instead of the right. Then I should have room to put the valve in.

    If I do that, I would assume to try and use 45s instead of 90s to reduce the pressure? The check valve is a good idea. I guess I was concerned with the water flow pushing it shut. Guess I shoudln't worry about that?

    Also, the valves I saw were 2.5" to 2". I am assuming this means 2.5" in the middle and 2" on the sides? If thats the case, then they would not work. Ideally I would rather have 2" in the middle and 2.5" on the sides. This would eliminate the need to move any other plumbing.
    29k gallon IG guninte lagoon shape.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    Going up and over would work out of the Nature 2. The extra headache of using 2 45s in place of a single 90 is not worth the miniscule head reduction. If you can use 2 45s instead of 2 90s ... then that might be worth the effort, but again not too big of a deal.

    That is what check valves are designed for ... no worries.

    The 2"/2.5" valves mean this ... a 2" pipe will slip inside the valve and a 2.5" pipe will be the same size as the valve and you connect it using a coupler. So it will work fine ... you will just have the 2.5" pipe connected with a coupler to the middle port and then out of that another 2.5" with coupler to the existing return line. And then on the other side you can use 2" pipe slip into the valve to go to the solar ... or again use 2.5" pipe for lower head loss (that would more than make up for the extra 90s btw).

    For the solar return you will use a 2.5" T on the existing return line and then use a reducer to 2" pipe if that is what you use on the solar.
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    Re: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    WAIT A MINUTE!!!!!! If I stare at something long enough!

    What if I put the 3way coming right off the back of the nature two! Flow o the right would go to the main outlets and flow to the left would go to the heater.

    Now I need to see if 1) Jand has a valve that is all 2.5", and 2) need to see how to reduce 2.5" to 1.5".

    Any thoughts?
    29k gallon IG guninte lagoon shape.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    Yup that would work.

    See my previous post about the valve sizes ... it will work.

    Where do you think you need to reduce from 2.5" to 1.5"?
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    Re: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    The header on the solar panel is 1.5". That's when I will need to reduce. Guess I can rig that when I get there.
    29k gallon IG guninte lagoon shape.

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    Re: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    Does a 1.5" pipe slid into the header? You may only need a coupler and a 1.5 / 2.5 reducer (not sure if this is common). Or may need to use 2 reducers.

    Go to Home Depot / Lowes / ACE and you will quickly figure it out when you see all the fittings available.
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    Re: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    FYI, if you are really concerned about head loss and most of your plumbing is 2.5". Consider getting the 2.5"/3" valves. Here is a link to a picture I took comparing the 1.5/2 and the 2/2.5 valves. You have less restriction if the pipes slip into the valves.

    That said, if the larger valves are significantly more expensive, again not likely worth the cost.

    going-to-be-re-plumbing-my-pad-t51115-20.html#p445423
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    Re: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    The valve I just ordered was $45 free shipping on Amazon. The 2.5/3 woud run me (they dont have it on Amazon) $75.

    I want to do it right the first time. I may cancel my order and get the larger valve.
    29k gallon IG guninte lagoon shape.

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    Re: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    I would not worry about it. The 2/2.5 will be fine ... especially paying the extra 70%.

    I mean your solar is only 1.5" and none of your return lines are 2.5" The fact that much of your plumbing is 2.5" already means you head loss is lower than most peoples.

    Did you also order a check valve? You should.
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    Re: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    Ah well. I just cancelled and reorder. It only ran me $75. $30 xtra for a piece of mind is worth it. Thanks for the help. I will post pics as I make my way.
    29k gallon IG guninte lagoon shape.

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    Re: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    I certainly would not worry about getting the 2.5/3 check valve. Since you will only have limited flow through the solar, the 2/2.5 will be fine.

    I would suggest you get the Jandy-type check valve and not just the cheap ones you find at the hardware store.
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    Re: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    That's a good idea. The clear top will give me an idea of the flow. The solar kit comes with one, but I imagine its not a real quality.
    If the header to the heater is only 1.5", then I guess I could get a 1.5/2 check valve and just step it up to the T to fit.
    29k gallon IG guninte lagoon shape.

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    Re: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    So I got the top part of the rack together this weekend but I need to move some rocks before I can put it in place.

    One more question regarding the plumbing though. The union on the Nature2 has a ring and then a sleeve that goes inside it. Do I need to get a replacement sleeve (i.e. is it glued to the pvc coming out of it)?

    Or can I use a regular (white) pvc union sleeve to replace the glued one? Zodiac only sells the "union kit" which is about $35 when I only need one darn piece.
    29k gallon IG guninte lagoon shape.

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    Re: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    They are likely glued and you will need to buy a replacement. It is unlikely that the one you find at the hardware store will work as most manufacturers have proprietary unions.

    I would still suggest that you completely remove the nature 2 anyway.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
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    Re: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    If I remove the nature two, then I will have to go to straight liquid chlorine...correct?
    29k gallon IG guninte lagoon shape.

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    Re: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    Correct ... but that is usually less headache due to the rising CYA issue. You can keep it plumbed in for occasional use if you want and need the CYA elevated or for vacations.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    I'd try and not plumb the heating system in after the chlorinator. I would assume your panels won't last as long and more than likely any warranty would be voided. Usually you want the chlorinator to be the last thing in line.
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    Re: Just got my solar panels - need plumbing help!

    Good point! I am not sure how I overlooked that

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
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