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Thread: Can I use SunHeater (aboveground)solar panel for an inground

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    Can I use SunHeater (aboveground)solar panel for an inground

    Hello, I found a good deal on SunHeater solar panels.
    When I did a search on them I see they sell above ground and inground panels.

    I thought they where all the same, if the ones the guy is selling are for aboveground
    will I be able to use them for an inground pool? If I buy a roof mounting kit, and extra
    pipe will it work? Thanks
    16x32 inground vinyl 8' deep end
    1hp Northstar Pump, 20" Sand Filter
    6ft Double Lounge, 2 Aqua Lamps w/remote
    216sqft Sungrabber Panels (9- 2'x12') a little undersized

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    haybird,

    That is a good question. I wish I had a good answer.

    Maybe you could check with SunHeater and see what they say. Let us know what you find out.

    Thanks!

    Titanium
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    I can't find their website. The google search just show all the stores that sell them.
    I am looking at the aboveground and ingrounds, and I can't tell if its just a different kit
    I would need to buy.

    The guy that is selling them bought them and never used them,because he got a gas heater.
    He selling them for half the price he paid, valves and hoses included. I just don't want to buy them
    and find out for some reason I can't use them for inground. I can't imagine the panel itself is different.
    16x32 inground vinyl 8' deep end
    1hp Northstar Pump, 20" Sand Filter
    6ft Double Lounge, 2 Aqua Lamps w/remote
    216sqft Sungrabber Panels (9- 2'x12') a little undersized

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    haybird,

    I did some research and it appears that Sunheater solar panels are made by a company named SmartPool Incorporated. Here is their contact information:

    687 Prospect Street • Lakewood, NJ 08701
    Toll-Free: 1-888-560-7665
    Tel: (732) 730-9880 • Fax: (732) 730-9881
    Email: info@smartpool.com
    www.smartpool.com

    Here is a link to the SmartPool Sunheater webpage: http://www.smartpool.com/website/sunheater/index.htm

    Here is a link to their S220 above-ground panel (2 ft x 20 ft) http://www.smartpool.com/website/sunheater/s220.htm

    Here is a link to their S421 above-ground panel (4 ft x 20 ft) http://www.smartpool.com/website/sunheater/s421.htm

    Here is a link to their S601 in-ground panel (4 ft x 20 ft) http://www.smartpool.com/website/sunheater/s601.htm

    Link to various Sunheater manuals: http://www.smartpool.com/website/sunhea ... anuals.htm

    It is not clear to me what, exactly, is the difference between the S421 (above-ground) and the S601 (in-ground) solar panels. It may very well be just the accessories in the box. If you are able to find the differences, please post your findings at TFP.

    edit: Sunheater solar panels are even sold through Costco. I would check Costco prices and your local CraigsList before committing to buy from your friend. Maybe 50% off is still too high of a price.

    Titanium
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

  5. Back To Top    #5

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    Thank-You very much for the information. I checked link after link but did not make the connection with
    smartpools.

    You are exactly correct about Costsco. The prices even include shipping. He might of bought his
    at the pool store. Very helpful information thanks a lot.
    16x32 inground vinyl 8' deep end
    1hp Northstar Pump, 20" Sand Filter
    6ft Double Lounge, 2 Aqua Lamps w/remote
    216sqft Sungrabber Panels (9- 2'x12') a little undersized

  6. Back To Top    #6

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    After you did the leg work and got me the phone # I gave them a call.
    She said you diffently want inground panels. The ingrounds have a baffel on the
    inside that directs waterflow differently.

    Thanks for your help, she told me exactly what I need. So I will buy them at Costco
    and save thousands from the quotes I am getting from the pool stores.
    16x32 inground vinyl 8' deep end
    1hp Northstar Pump, 20" Sand Filter
    6ft Double Lounge, 2 Aqua Lamps w/remote
    216sqft Sungrabber Panels (9- 2'x12') a little undersized

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Re: Can I use SunHeater (aboveground)solar panel for an inground

    Haybird - Did you ever get these panels? If so, have you been happy with them?

    sears.com has a good deal on them right now, so I'm thinking about picking up 6 of them.

    Thanks,

    Ron
    ~30000 GAL In-Ground 26'x50' Kidney Shaped Pool
    Hayward EC-75 DE Filter w/1.5HP Hayward SuperPump
    daily user of JasonLion's Poolcalculator
    (12) 2x10 SunGrabber Solar Panels...now if only there was some sun to shine on them!

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Re: Can I use SunHeater (aboveground)solar panel for an inground

    I have the inground ones...still in the install phase so can't tell you how much they put out, but I thought the only difference was the size of the panel. Who cares which way the water runs inside them!!!
    If it gets warmed up...it gets warmed up!
    I have the 2' x 20' and they were a huge PITA to get on the roof. If you have a low pitch roof and have a helper on the roof then it wouldn't be so bad I guess.
    They say the kits require a system kit, but if you are at all resourceful you don't have to spend an extra $200 on that.
    These kits assume you will hook them up to your pump and filter so be careful that you have enough HP in your pump to do so. Remember pushing all that water up a two story house isn't going to be the same as the trip from the pool to the filter and back!.

    I myself am using a simple 1" clear water pump that I got at northern tools for $40 which has a 110' head and attaching via 1" poly pipe to the collectors.
    25k gal vinyl AquaRite T-15

  9. Back To Top    #9
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Can I use SunHeater (aboveground)solar panel for an inground

    You want a fairly good flow rate through the panels. An inexpensive high head pump is unlikely to have a very good flow rate. Likewise, using 1.5" or better yet 2" pipe for the runs from the pool to the roof is preferred because that also gives you a better flow rate. The higher the flow rate, the more efficient the panels will be.
    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

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: Can I use SunHeater (aboveground)solar panel for an inground

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    The higher the flow rate, the more efficient the panels will be.
    Not exactly...too much flow will render them near useless as the water won't be able to absorb any heat if it is flowing through too fast, but I do know what you mean about the cheap pump. I did the math and it should be enough, but not too much.

    My thing is that I don't want it running with my (already problematic) pump because I don't want it pushing water through the collectors when there is no sun.

    I need a separate switch for the heater is all.

    In my opinion DIY solar heating is pretty much a crapshoot.
    I got a couple panels cheap so I'm trying it out.
    Will post back when I get it running.
    Raining again so prolly next week.
    25k gal vinyl AquaRite T-15

  11. Back To Top    #11
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Can I use SunHeater (aboveground)solar panel for an inground

    Quote Originally Posted by danbutter
    Not exactly...too much flow will render them near useless as the water won't be able to absorb any heat if it is flowing through too fast
    This is a common misunderstanding about solar heat. The only way the flow rate can be too high is if the pressure is high enough to damage the panel. Otherwise, you want the highest possible flow rate. Most solar panels are designed to have between 4 and 8 GPM per panel. If you run them at a lower flow rate then that, you are losing efficiency.

    The cooler the panels are, the more efficient they are. As the panels heat up, you lose more heat to the environment. Higher flow rates draw the heat out of the panels more quickly, less heat is lost to the environment, and overall efficiency increases. Even though the water coming out of the panels is cooler, you are pushing more water through the panels and the total amount of heat increases. Ideally, you want the water to warm up by about 1 degree going through the panels. A couple of degrees is still alright, though not perfect. But if the water is warming up 10 or more degrees going through the panels you are losing a lot of heat.
    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

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Re: Can I use SunHeater (aboveground)solar panel for an inground

    That is very true. It surprises me that people think that the hotter the water coming out the better it is. The goal is to get the most BTU/HR out of the unit, not high temperature. Thus, the more water you push through (up to a point) the better.

    I have a cheap set of 2'x20' panels that I bought on e-bay that are supposed to be for above ground that I use for my inground pool. I just took the flow disc out of the manifold and have the two mats next to each other running in parallel. Once my heatpump gets the pool up to temperature these two mats are enough to maintain the pool from mid may to late august without the need to run the heatpump. That is for a 20x40 inground in Northern NJ.
    20x40 IG vinyl, heatpump and solar and 3 siberian huskies, 10kw PV solar electric system. Nikon Photographer D800e dSLR.

  13. Back To Top    #13

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    Re: Can I use SunHeater (aboveground)solar panel for an inground

    I bought some sungrabbers off e-bay. We put up 9-2x12 on the roof. A little undersized for our 16x32. We get about 6 or 7 degrees a day. About 1 degree a hour. We where shutting them off last year when they where heating the pool over 92*. We had a bad winter with snow ,ice, wind, rain, flash feezing and the panels had no leaks this spring. We have had nights below freezing this weekend and the pool is still at 74* today. Day air temps around 60*

    We payed about $1000.00 for the panels, and because of the roofs pitch about $600.00 for a pool company to install on their down time in August. The quotes we where getting where between $4000 and $5000. Yes we are happy with our purchase.
    16x32 inground vinyl 8' deep end
    1hp Northstar Pump, 20" Sand Filter
    6ft Double Lounge, 2 Aqua Lamps w/remote
    216sqft Sungrabber Panels (9- 2'x12') a little undersized

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: Can I use SunHeater (aboveground)solar panel for an inground

    Can anyone point to specifics about putting the sunheater on a 2nd floor roof?

    Questions I'm wondering about are:

    1) If I'm using 1.5 hp Hayward, would I need an auxillary pump?
    2) If so, what is the best type of pump?
    3) Best location to place the pump?
    4) With an auxillary pump, is there an optimal way to configure the PVC into the return to the pool?
    5) Noticed that the roof assembly kit is essentially web strapping and flat fitted brackets for the strapping. Are there any recommendations from someone who has done this without buying the kit, which seems to be fairly expensive for simple looking parts, especially where I'd be using 3 kits?

    Thanks,

    dkiley
    18X33 oval above ground, 48 inch water height.

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