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Thread: My solar panels after 5 summers and winters

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    el_steak's Avatar
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    My solar panels after 5 summers and winters

    I installed my solar heater 5 years ago. It's the best investment I could have made for my pool.

    With the help of a solar cover that I always put on at night, my pool sticks to 90F+ all summer long. The kids and their friends love it and they spend all their time in the pool instead of playing video games.

    here's the installation thread: solar-panel-installation-pic-t5823.html

    Now 5 years later, the dreaded first leak appeared. The leak is not with the panels themselves, but rather with the rubber coupling between 2 of the panel headers.

    Oddly enough it doesn't leak under pressure during the day. Instead it leaks when the pump is off during the night. At this time of the year, we still have very cold nights (40F) and I suspect that the panels contract because of the cold, causing the coupling to leak. I watched it early this morning and within 15 minutes of the sun hitting the panels, the leak completely stopped.

    Now I need to find a replacement rubber coupling. The dealer that sold me the panels is long gone but I think those are the standard plumbing rubber couplings. I just need to make sure they are UV resistant.

    While inspecting the panels, I also noticed that the constant expansion/contraction cycle caused the couplings to "dig" into the underlying roof shingles. I'll install some sort of wear plate to avoid further damage. I saw this example on the "hotsun industries" site:

    14X24 ig vinyl pool 3ft-4 1/2ft deep - 7000 gal
    Aqua Genie skimmer and return - no main drain, 1 hp hayward pump, 27" Hayward filter with Zeobrite,
    Aqua Logic P4 controller + SWG, 2 lights
    192 square feet of solar panels controlled by P4, 5KW electric heater (just in case...)

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: My solar panels after 5 summers and winters

    That looks like a standard Fernco coupling. They also make a model with a protective stainless steel sleeve over it. Most home improvement stores carry various sizes in stock.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: My solar panels after 5 summers and winters

    Do you have a vacuum release valve installed because the panels should not contain water when the pump is off. At least not enough to leak. Is the leak on the bottom of the panels? How much water leaks out of the panel?
    Mark
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    el_steak's Avatar
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    Re: My solar panels after 5 summers and winters

    Yes I have a release valve. It's location was a source of debate in my original installation thread (linked above).

    I can hear the fairly loud suction noise when the pumps shuts down and air enters the panels, but I guess they don't drain completely.

    BTW, the leak is with the coupling between the 2 left most panels (bottom coupling).

    Here's the setup:



    14X24 ig vinyl pool 3ft-4 1/2ft deep - 7000 gal
    Aqua Genie skimmer and return - no main drain, 1 hp hayward pump, 27" Hayward filter with Zeobrite,
    Aqua Logic P4 controller + SWG, 2 lights
    192 square feet of solar panels controlled by P4, 5KW electric heater (just in case...)

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: My solar panels after 5 summers and winters

    I just installed my Techno Solis panels with 2 inch headers last month and the couplers they are currently using appear to be custom heavy duty products, not some generic section of hose, it even has the Techno Solis name printed on the hose (I am sure they out source them of course). My panels came from poolheatpumps.com I suspect you could buy just a "panel kit" from them which would have 2 sections of hose, a mounting bracket and 3 strap brackets, perhaps they may even have just the hose sections, I am not sure if they packed their own panel kits or if they bought them pre-packed from Techno Solis.

    Ike
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    cramar's Avatar
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    Re: My solar panels after 5 summers and winters

    Like Bama said, standard coupling that any hardware store should stock, pretty easy to remove/replace, thankfully it's on the bottom and not the top.
    Nice set up.
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    el_steak's Avatar
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    Re: My solar panels after 5 summers and winters

    We have the same panels (Techno Solis with 2 inch headers). "Techno Solis" is also printed (in yellow) on my couplings. But as you said it's probably an outsourced part. I'll see if I can find a suitable replacement locally.

    BTW, if you have a shingle roof you might want to consider some wear plate under the couplings. I'll try posting a pic of the damage the couplings did to the shingles after 5 years.
    14X24 ig vinyl pool 3ft-4 1/2ft deep - 7000 gal
    Aqua Genie skimmer and return - no main drain, 1 hp hayward pump, 27" Hayward filter with Zeobrite,
    Aqua Logic P4 controller + SWG, 2 lights
    192 square feet of solar panels controlled by P4, 5KW electric heater (just in case...)

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: My solar panels after 5 summers and winters

    Mine is on a metal roof, and I used skid plates at suspected wear points, I may have an extra 2 inch hose coupler, let me know if you don't find one locally, I remember having a couple of extra parts from mispacked panel kits, but think they were all mounting brackets.

    Ike
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
    ~Remember TFP counts on your donations to keep this site ad free~

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