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Thread: Solar Questions for New Build

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    Solar Questions for New Build

    Imminent pool build start in about 2 weeks. We're still deciding on whether to do solar initially or wait. If we don't do it right away, I'm going to insure we plan for it. I do have a few questions...

    1. I have a neighbor that had solar installed here in Austin, TX and he thinks it was a waste of money. I suppose this could be affected by a lot of things. I plan to DIY so I'll save a lot and my house faces mostly south with a little western tilt so I get good direct sun whereas he faces west. Curious if there's any feedback from other Texans? You feel like it extends the season for you? What about any additional benefits of cooling the pool at night during peak summer months?

    2. I'm thinking of plumbing this way - http://www.h2otsun.com/pools/index.html#NotBuilt, but have a couple questions...
    a. Do most of you heat the spa and have it spill over into the pool? Is there any concern of losing heat in the spill over as well as it seems like the heat would be somewhat concentrated in that area?
    b. I don't really understand the need for the 3 way valve? Can someone explain to me the need to have plumbing between the 3 way and the solar spa return?

    Thanks,
    Benjie
    35'x16' IG geometric with 8'x6' spa (16.5K gallons); White Diamond Pebblesheen w/Abalone Shells; Jandy 460 cartridge filter; Jandy 2HP E pump; Jandy 400K heater; Water Tech Blue Diamond Pro; TF-100 w/SpeedStir

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Questions for New Build

    1, hard to say, maybe he likes to swim in ice cold water....

    2, a, no spa here, so no comment
    b, the 3 way valve allows you to bypass the solar panels, either partly to avoid excess flow of fully. In this case I suspect the primary need for the 3 way valve is to allow the solar controller to allow all flow to the pool once desired solar temperature is met.


    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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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Questions for New Build

    I have read of some people returning the solar to the spa mostly ... but it will not raise the temp too much. The water returning to the pool/spa should only be around 5 degrees warmer than the supply water. So if you are sucking water from the pool and returning to the spa, at best the spa will get about 5 degrees warmer than the pool. Now if you suck from and return to the solar, you can get the spa temp a good bit probably pretty quickly ... but that is not how the solar is typically used.

    I only have the 3-way to select solar ... I need not bypass so it is all or nothing. But, I did not bother with all the extra 2-way (ball valves) that many of the pictures show.

    I just looked at your link and that looks different than the way I have see the solar plumbed. At previous house and current house the plumbing is more like the first picture, but with none of the 3 ball valves. Then the water from the solar can go through the heater for another boost if required (I never ended up running both at the same time though)
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Solar Questions for New Build

    2b) I'm new to this, but the way this is plumbed in the pic, wouldn't a two way valve shut water off completely to the solar and divert all flow through the heater plumbing anyway? It looks to me like the manual valve before the 3 way is what is regulating the amount of flow to the solar.
    35'x16' IG geometric with 8'x6' spa (16.5K gallons); White Diamond Pebblesheen w/Abalone Shells; Jandy 460 cartridge filter; Jandy 2HP E pump; Jandy 400K heater; Water Tech Blue Diamond Pro; TF-100 w/SpeedStir

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Questions for New Build

    I do not really understand that setup ... it looks like there are 2 ways to bypass the solar and the heater.
    The bypass between the solar supply and return with the ball valve should not even need to be there, since the 3-way could be used to regulate the amount of water sent to the solar. I guess the ball valve could be regulated a little better, but there is no need to be that exact.

    Plus in the drawing there is no way to stop the flow through the heater and only send it to the solar for higher flow rate through the solar if needed.

    Maybe that setup is better ... but to me having one 3-way solar diverter and a couple check valves is much more simple and seems to be all that is needed.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    Re: Solar Questions for New Build

    You could direct all solar by turning the ball valve after the heater, no?
    35'x16' IG geometric with 8'x6' spa (16.5K gallons); White Diamond Pebblesheen w/Abalone Shells; Jandy 460 cartridge filter; Jandy 2HP E pump; Jandy 400K heater; Water Tech Blue Diamond Pro; TF-100 w/SpeedStir

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Questions for New Build

    No because the water can still flow through the heater and to the 3-way valve and then either to the pool or spa. Overly complicated.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    Re: Solar Questions for New Build

    Sorry, I meant you could turn off the 3 way after the heater. Either way, agree it seems overly complicated.
    35'x16' IG geometric with 8'x6' spa (16.5K gallons); White Diamond Pebblesheen w/Abalone Shells; Jandy 460 cartridge filter; Jandy 2HP E pump; Jandy 400K heater; Water Tech Blue Diamond Pro; TF-100 w/SpeedStir

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Questions for New Build

    3-ways are not usually meant to be turned to close the middle port as in the drawing ... The Jandy valves in fact would require you to cut off some mechanical stops in order to do that.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: Solar Questions for New Build

    Solar came up in another post. I'm still interested in feedback from anyone in TX that has solar and can definitively state its been a worthwhile investment!
    35'x16' IG geometric with 8'x6' spa (16.5K gallons); White Diamond Pebblesheen w/Abalone Shells; Jandy 460 cartridge filter; Jandy 2HP E pump; Jandy 400K heater; Water Tech Blue Diamond Pro; TF-100 w/SpeedStir

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Questions for New Build

    I am near Texas (less than 25 miles from the state line in Louisiana roughly due east of Austin ), and can state solar has been very worthwhile investment, I can not state exact length of swim season with my current solar heater setup as I just installed new better coverage (66% of pool surface area) panels this year (old panels came off when the roof was replaced last year), also my pool is indoors which does change the dynamics a lot, but even with the old system it would extend the swim season by a month or more on each end, this of course varies some year to year. Being a bit closer to the coast our winter weather here is a little milder than Austin, but not much.
    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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