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Thread: DIY solar heater critiques.

  1. Back To Top    #1

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    DIY solar heater critiques.

    I guess what I am looking for is

    What you made:
    What you think about it:
    How it performed:
    What you think your temperature would be with out it:
    Temperature difference or increase:
    Do you think it was worth it:
    How long it increased your season:
    Any other info that you think is relevant:
    Your pump:
    1) The size of your pool in gallons 4440.
    2) The type filter you have is an Intex 2500 gph and it has a re-useable fabric filter
    3) If your pool is an AG (above ground)
    4) Intex 15 by 48 metal frame.
    5) If you know, tell us the size pump 2500gph and the size (flow rate) of your filter.
    Southeastern, Pennsylvania.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: DIY solar heater critiques.

    Generally the solar panels you can buy are more efficient and cheaper than any DIY project. Solar is mostly about sqft, and when you can get 40sqft for <$100 or 80sqft for <$175 ... hard to justify the hassle of trying to build something to compete.

    And many of your other questions are very application specific based on location and sun exposure.

    Any solar WILL help to warm the pool. But whether you get <0.5 degrees or >5 degrees per day depends on the size and setup.
    You just need to have realistic expectations.

    BTW, it is more efficient to heat a LOT of water by only a few degrees than it is to heat a little water by a lot of degrees. You should not feel more than a couple degrees difference between the solar incoming and outgoing water.
    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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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: DIY solar heater critiques.

    I personally think the best middle ground is the educated DIY installation of commercial panels, and these are usually not going to be the "kit in a box" panels which I feel are usually a compromise for the sake of simple installation instructions. (I generally feel they are the sticky back floor squares of solar panels). I just upgraded my solar heater this year, so it is too soon to tell exactly how much it will extend the season, but my old one with much less coverage was able to extend my season by 3-4 weeks at each end most years. A side benefit to solar panels is solar cooling (radiating heat by running at night), I generally like my pool around 84-86 degrees, and thanks to my new panels and an automatic controller this summer during much of July and August when we were having highs in the upper 90's and lows around 80 I was able to keep my water within my desired range (targeted 82, allowing it to warm 2-3 degrees on its own during the day, so by the afternoon when I typically swim the water was right in my desired range. As to being worth it, yes it definitely is, the key is having realistic expectations, and understanding solar is about boosting heat when it is available, it is not an on demand I want the water warmer tonight type heater. For example for a big family movie night in the pool, I may set the desired temperature a couple of degrees warmer 2 or 3 days before the planned event.

    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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  4. Back To Top    #4
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: DIY solar heater critiques.

    Totally agree. The cheap panels I mentioned are the cheapest option to get decent heat. Better than a full DIY attempt, but no telling if they perform and last as long as the better panels.
    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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  5. Back To Top    #5

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    Re: DIY solar heater critiques.

    Ike you refer to a controller can u be more specific. I'd imagine it is a timer. The cooling thing doesn't interest me. It was 90 one day and I loved it.
    1) The size of your pool in gallons 4440.
    2) The type filter you have is an Intex 2500 gph and it has a re-useable fabric filter
    3) If your pool is an AG (above ground)
    4) Intex 15 by 48 metal frame.
    5) If you know, tell us the size pump 2500gph and the size (flow rate) of your filter.
    Southeastern, Pennsylvania.

  6. Back To Top    #6
    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: DIY solar heater critiques.

    The particular one I have is a Hayward Goldline AQ-SOL-TC which does have an integrated timer, but also a few other features like temperature sensors that measure pool and solar panel temperatures as well as a digital display. It also has a few operating modes to choose from, like opportunistic heating where if the goal temperature is not reached during timer run time hours it will turn itself on and run if the panel is hotter than the pool, or freeze protection where the pump runs if the outside temperature gets below about 35 degrees. I would describe mine as a mid line model in todays market, although it was probably upper line when it was introduced a few years ago, the most common controller out there is probably the Goldline GL-235, it has been around for years, is simple, and gets the job done, it has a wamer / cooler knob (no temperature display) and interfaces with your existing timer, and a basic on / off / heat / cool selector switch. It is also fairly cheap, selling with a valve actuator (but no compatible valve) for under $200 online if you do a bit of digging (I think I found it for $159 at a couple of places a few months ago).

    Ike

    p.s. The Pentair Sun-Touch and SolarTouch models are also getting very poplar since being introduced on the market a few years ago, these are a little fancier / more computerized, but not that much more expensive than the Goldline basic models.
    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~

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Re: DIY solar heater critiques.

    Thanks for the info. I threw one together with extra stuff hanging around so we shall see. its funny since I finished it last night the next week is supposed to be in the upper 80s. So I won't get to know if it works very well.
    1) The size of your pool in gallons 4440.
    2) The type filter you have is an Intex 2500 gph and it has a re-useable fabric filter
    3) If your pool is an AG (above ground)
    4) Intex 15 by 48 metal frame.
    5) If you know, tell us the size pump 2500gph and the size (flow rate) of your filter.
    Southeastern, Pennsylvania.

  8. Back To Top    #8
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: DIY solar heater critiques.

    One member found the Pentair controller package that included the 3 way valve and actuator abd it was still in the mid $200, making the controller itself very cheap since the valves are over $50 and the actuator is over $100.
    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
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  9. Back To Top    #9

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    Re: DIY solar heater critiques.

    Epic failure!!!!!!!!!!!! The panel I made leaked. I couldn't bleed the air out and looked down and it was full of water. It was a shame cause the temp in the panel was 150 degrees. The thing that I did different then most people do is I used corrugated pipe that you use for a quick sump pump( I assumed that the extra surface area would give more heat transfer). Ironically I had it laying around cause the one I had on my sump in my basement had a leak too. I wonder if it is made that way so the water can empty out of the pipe when the pump turns off. I also did not have it plumbed into my pump. Instead I used an extra pump I had laying around that was smaller and assumed less flow would take more heat from the panel. They were just hung over the side of the pool. With all that being said I am going to find a better hose and work on it in the fall. Maybe give it ago after the season is done and see what kinda results I can get using the inlets and returns on the pool.
    1) The size of your pool in gallons 4440.
    2) The type filter you have is an Intex 2500 gph and it has a re-useable fabric filter
    3) If your pool is an AG (above ground)
    4) Intex 15 by 48 metal frame.
    5) If you know, tell us the size pump 2500gph and the size (flow rate) of your filter.
    Southeastern, Pennsylvania.

  10. Back To Top    #10
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: DIY solar heater critiques.

    Apparently you did not read this that I wrote previously.

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    BTW, it is more efficient to heat a LOT of water by only a few degrees than it is to heat a little water by a lot of degrees. You should not feel more than a couple degrees difference between the solar incoming and outgoing water.
    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!

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    Re: DIY solar heater critiques.

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    Apparently you did not read this that I wrote previously.

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    BTW, it is more efficient to heat a LOT of water by only a few degrees than it is to heat a little water by a lot of degrees. You should not feel more than a couple degrees difference between the solar incoming and outgoing water.
    I can see this. just like with the main filtration pump, you want a pump that will turn all the pool water over in few hours rather then run all day for one full turn over.

    Since im the owner of a non-permanent pool I'm going to attempt the DIY method using home depot materials. I understand that the solar panels are cheap and might ultimately end up with one. I have a 1000gph pump which would turn my pool water over once every 5 hrs. The pump should give me enough flow and the water heating part use 1/4 inch black poly tubing (cheap). using a smaller tubing should allow the water to heat up faster. Using a pump just for the solar will allow me to run the solar without the main filter pump.
    15'x4' Metal Frame Intex 3yo (2nd year winterized) 16" 2650gph intex sand filter, Thru wall skimmer, dual inlet/single outlet, 1000gph intex pump (heater) Solar Cover TF-100 testkit, TFPC

  12. Back To Top    #12
    linen's Avatar
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    Re: DIY solar heater critiques.

    Keep in mind, for efficient/effective heating, you want a high flow rate with the water returning to the pool with only a slightly higher temperature than the pool water...not a low flow rate with the return water much hotter than the pool. Many home brew systems can't do this and in some cases end of wasting a lot more electricity in relation to the heat benefit gained.
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Re: DIY solar heater critiques.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmacdad12
    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    Apparently you did not read this that I wrote previously.

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    BTW, it is more efficient to heat a LOT of water by only a few degrees than it is to heat a little water by a lot of degrees. You should not feel more than a couple degrees difference between the solar incoming and outgoing water.
    Its not that I didn't see this it was simply my original thoughts. Given the fact that I had existing components I was going to use what I already had before tweaking or connecting it through the existing pump system. I also don't understand why everyone seems to use the smaller tubing. That would slow things down tremendously I think. Thats why I choose larger tubing. Larger heated surface should equal greater heat transfer and less work on the pump. Also should we be pulling the water or pushing it? Is it possible to run the pumps " Parallel? Having the main pump always running and with T's and check valves have the secondary running the panel.
    1) The size of your pool in gallons 4440.
    2) The type filter you have is an Intex 2500 gph and it has a re-useable fabric filter
    3) If your pool is an AG (above ground)
    4) Intex 15 by 48 metal frame.
    5) If you know, tell us the size pump 2500gph and the size (flow rate) of your filter.
    Southeastern, Pennsylvania.

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