Split by moderator - Please start your own topic and do not hijack. Thanks, jblizzle
It sounds like people on this site are very satisfied with both Heliocol and Aquatherm. I am looking to add solar heating to my pool. It has 450 ft2 surface area, and there is a screen enclosure with 80% sun blockage on one side and most of the top, so it will have less sun exposure than its South Florida southwest exposure would otherwise offer. The roof it would be on is slanted facing southeast without any pipe stacks or any other obstacle.
I spoke with installers of each product. The BTU/ft are similar - Aquatherm Ecosun is maybe 5% more efficient. The Aquatherm rep claimed (he installs Ecosun), as others here have mentioned is possible, that these official ratings are in a lab, and that in the real world, the added air space around the Heliocol tubes would create more convective heat loss. He also said the plastic connections w/ O-ring on Heliocol were more likely to have problems than the metal pipe clamps.
He refuted the claim that the more holes would cause more leaks as the holes seem to be more into the roof tiles and the drill bits they use aren't even long enough to penetrate the layer of the roof that would cause a leak. I asked if this would be more dangerous in a hurricane if it's just mounted to the tiles, not the roof, and he said they put a glue around the tile drilled into and the surrounding ones, and in a category 4+ hurricane, better to remove the panels anyway.
He showed me a segment of Heliocol, which has 1.5" piping vs. 2" for Aquatherm Ecosun, saying the higher flow would heat the pool better. It seemed to make sense logically, but I don't know what that means in practice. Any ideas? I think most of my pool ducts are 2".
The Heliocol installer recommended 450 ft2 of panels for my 450 ft2 surface area pool. The Aquatherm Ecosun rep suggested 432 ft2 for $600 more than 450 ft2 of Heliocol, and he mentioned possibly adding more panels (480 ft2 or 560 ft2) to extend the pool season and since I will have a screen (which the usual ones block ~15% of UV and heat) with 80% UV/heat blockage on the southeast side (pool faces southwest) and most of the top.
From my sense here, enough people seem to prefer the Heliocol even if the price were the same, and the possible/theoretical decreased heating in windy conditions and ~5% decreased BTU/ft2 (any any potential effects of having 1.5" piping vs. 2" on Ecosun). Please let me know if you think otherwise.
Also, I have Aqualink controller on my pool, which via iAqualink I can control remotely. Both installers said they COULD hook it up to the Aqualink controller but think having its own control would be better. At least one will drop the price if I don't use their controller. He sort of said that his reason for not hooking up to Aqualink was that an Aqualink rep had mentioned that although Aqualink has some option of "solar priority" to heat up pool and only use the gas heater secondarily, it didn't work that well in practice. I wouldn't want it turning on the gas heater automatically if the water temperature with the solar heater wasn't hot enough yet it wasn't a time period that I wanted to use the pool. However he also hinted that he just wasn't as familiar with Aqualink vs. his own controller. Any thoughts would be much appreciated!