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Thread: Solar work around will I cause any harm?

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    Solar work around will I cause any harm?

    I'm a new pool owner and the pump to our solar isn't working. According to the pool service, it hasn't worked for at least 4 years. I did some testing of the solar system and it appears to be in working condition otherwise, no leaks.

    The broken solar pump is connected to the return line via a T connection. The solar has two valves, one right after the pump going out to the solar and another on the return line. I've found that if I change my return to only go to my waterfall and open the valve right after the pump, water will flow through the solar and then exit through a drain valve. The normal return valve to from the solar remains closed. With this I'm able to get two hoses connected and about 10 gallons a minute through the unit with it always being hot.

    My questions are;

    I understand this isn't optimal, but does this cause any harm? In understand that the main pump my be working harder and wear out sooner but I'm planning on replacing that pump soon.
    My filter took on an additional 5 pounds of pressure, is this okay?
    If I'm going to a variable speed pump soon, is it acceptable to replace the t-connection to the solar with an automated valve that will open and close as needed and remove the original pump?

    I can post a picture if you a little later.
    1Year Pool Owner: 18K gal, plaster, 1HP Hayward (Main Pump), 400SqFt Hayward SwimClear Cartridge, Solar panels (Working but manual control)

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Solar work around will I cause any harm?

    I think I will need a picture because I am having a hard time visualizing how it is configured. Are you trying to pump water through a solar pump that is off?

    Generally, you don't need a solar pump at all. The main pump should be able to handle solar as well but it depends on the pump. AO Smith makes motors not pumps so do you know the pump manufacture/model? A picture for this might do as well.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Solar work around will I cause any harm?

    Mark,

    Appreciate the reply. Below is a picture of the pad with everything called out as I have it today.

    Sorry about the pumps/motors, did I mention that I'm a newbie? The main pump is a Hayward pump, don't know the model yet. I can't find a tag on the solar pump. To answer your question, yes, I'm pushing water through the broken pump. I was assuming that the pump for the solar was used as a booster as the water would need to flow through filter if the pump was ever turned on.

    So right now I have the "to solar" valve open and the "main return" valve (Not shown, middle right) turned to just the waterfall. I don't have a bunch of time this summer to work on the pad, but was thinking that I would replace the solar pump with an automatic valve for future VS pump with new solar controls.

    [attachment=0:3id162em]Pool Pad.jpg[/attachment:3id162em]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    1Year Pool Owner: 18K gal, plaster, 1HP Hayward (Main Pump), 400SqFt Hayward SwimClear Cartridge, Solar panels (Working but manual control)

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Solar work around will I cause any harm?

    I am actually surprised you can pump water effectively through the solar pump. Anyway, that pump isn't needed so I would remove it, replace the TEE with a solar valve and move the second check valve (or new check valve) to the solar return line which can then be teed in with the return.

    Do you have a pump# for the Hayward? It should be on the metal tag right below the top port.

    Also, how high are your panels above the pumps?
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Solar work around will I cause any harm?

    It works, not as good as I think it really could but it works.

    The panels are on the 2nd story. I looked at all of the valves and it currently doesn't have any check valves and all of the valves are manual. I noticed if I had both valves (to and from) to the solar open, I don't get a flow through the system. I'm guessing because the pressure would be equal so the water just goes out the main line and assume this is why the solar pump was installed. Newbie question, is a solar valve nothing more than an open close valve? Could a three way valve also be used by just closing the solar when its not needed possible with an actuator for future automation? In addition, a check valve is just a valve that allows water to flow one direction? Basically if the 'to solar' valve is closed, the pressure heading back to the pool doesn't push back into the 'solar return'?

    The pump is a Hayward Pump 3010EE model and the AO Smith motor is 1hp. Does that mean I have a 1HP Hayward Pump?

    Also, my other concern was that I'm putting 5psi extra on the filter by doing this I assume because the pump has to work harder to push the water. This shouldn't hurt the filter and I just adjust the baseline PSI down 5 if I have the solar running. If I put everything back to normal, it goes right back to 10.5PSI.

    Appreciate the help.
    1Year Pool Owner: 18K gal, plaster, 1HP Hayward (Main Pump), 400SqFt Hayward SwimClear Cartridge, Solar panels (Working but manual control)

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    Re: Solar work around will I cause any harm?

    my other concern was that I'm putting 5psi extra on the filter by doing this I assume because the pump has to work harder to push the water
    A constant speed pump actually works a tiny bit less hard with increasing pressure so no worries.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Solar work around will I cause any harm?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisNorcal
    I looked at all of the valves and it currently doesn't have any check valves and all of the valves are manual.
    Those tan looking items right after the pump and right after the TEE are check valves so you do have check valves.


    I noticed if I had both valves (to and from) to the solar open, I don't get a flow through the system.
    That is because you have the solar pump off. Remove that pump and it should flow fine through the panels.


    Newbie question, is a solar valve nothing more than an open close valve?
    A solar valve is a special three way valve with a built-in mini check valve that allows the supply side to drain when the valve is closed.


    Could a three way valve also be used by just closing the solar when its not needed possible with an actuator for future automation?
    It can but you would need to modify it by drilling a small hole in the valve plate. But a solar valve is about he same cost so there really is no need to do that.


    In addition, a check valve is just a valve that allows water to flow one direction?
    yes


    Basically if the 'to solar' valve is closed, the pressure heading back to the pool doesn't push back into the 'solar return'?
    You need a check valve after the filter, as you do right now, to prevent back flow through the filter. You need another check valve on the solar return side so the panels do not fill when the solar valve is off.


    The pump is a Hayward Pump 3010EE model and the AO Smith motor is 1hp. Does that mean I have a 1HP Hayward Pump?
    Yes, that is a full rated 1 HP pump and plenty pump to run the solar by itself.


    Also, my other concern was that I'm putting 5psi extra on the filter by doing this I assume because the pump has to work harder to push the water.
    As Dave pointed out, higher pressure is less work for the pump because flow rate is lower.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Solar work around will I cause any harm?

    Thank-you, thank-you!! Mark and Dave!!

    I was wondering what those tan items were, thought they were some type of patch kit. If I'm going to be cutting into the pipe, would it be best to replace them or do rarely go bad?

    If I'm going to do this, should I also put a flowmeter in on the solar side of the solar valve? And if so, what type of flow should I be trying to achieve?

    Quote:
    I noticed if I had both valves (to and from) to the solar open, I don't get a flow through the system.
    That is because you have the solar pump off. Remove that pump and it should flow fine through the panels.
    Just checking to make sure I'm understanding, wouldn't that also be because of no check valve on the return so the pressure is just pushing on both sides?

    I've learned so much today and I have the two of you to thank!! I was dreading doing the work and now think I can get it all done in a couple of hours. I have a tendancy to over think everything. It'll be nice having a working solar system instead of the my McGuyver version today. Off to look at valves I guess....
    1Year Pool Owner: 18K gal, plaster, 1HP Hayward (Main Pump), 400SqFt Hayward SwimClear Cartridge, Solar panels (Working but manual control)

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