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Thread: Install solar heat

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    Install solar heat

    I'm looking for places to trim my expenses to stay under budget. Living in Orlando, I could swim most of the year with solar heat but they are pricey installed; I've been quoted $4-$5k. Anyone ever installed one their self? What's the best brand out there? Where's the best place to buy it?
    Pool TBD..
    IG gunite, probably SWG, solar heat

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    Re: Install solar heat

    I've been told by several people that Heliocol is the best brand. Check it out and see what you think

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    Re: Install solar heat

    Quote Originally Posted by fallsdeep130
    I've been told by several people that Heliocol is the best brand. Check it out and see what you think
    Their site is impressive as are their claims. Anyone on here have one of their systems? Would you advise installing it yourself?
    Pool TBD..
    IG gunite, probably SWG, solar heat

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Install solar heat

    I self installed used Heliocol panels, they do not like to deal with the consumer, only dealers, so parts are a little difficult to get.

    Most brands have similar performance, with slight build variations, some better for wind, etc.

    Isaac-1 did a self install and has a lot of good info in his posts.
    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: Install solar heat

    Thanks. Where did you buy them?



    Pool TBD..
    IG gunite, probably SWG, solar heat

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Install solar heat

    Sorry about being late to the party, here is the link to my installation thread that Jason mentioned above solar-panel-replacement-update-t56572.html Overall I feel there are a lot of good brands out there, some are a bit more dealer oriented than others, which can make things difficult for the DIYer's out there.

    Ike

    p.s. You asked about cost, which of course will vary depending on the size and number of panels, and if you install a solar controller. For my setup I paid just under $2,700 for 11 4x12 TechnoSolis Panels with 2 inch headers delivered via truck freight, this would likely be cheaper for you since they are made in the Tampa area. Additional cost were about $250 in various plumbing fittings, and another $170 or so for upgraded mounting hardware, plus paying labor (about 8-9 hours total spread over a couple of days due to weather) to a roofer and roofer's helper to help with the work (I was not up to the heavy lifting, etc. as I am still slowly recovering from a back injury that happened in Oct, 2010), I did all the ground level and pad related plumbing myself, in addition to this I already had a solar controller that was on my old solar heater, which came down with the roof replacement the previous year. Solar controllers greatly help optimize the output of solar heaters, and perhaps most importantly help avoid heat loss during afternoon thunderstorms. Depending of model and features they will cost between about $300 - $600 for most 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
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Install solar heat

    I got them on Craigslist. Paid $50 per 4x12.5 panel, got 11 and installed 10. Plus I needed about $350 in mounting parts I did not realize were missing and about $300 in valves and plumbing plus needed a controller and actuator ... all told it was about $1500.
    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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    Mark R's Avatar
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    Re: Install solar heat

    I have the same system installed by heliocol. 6 panels with thermostat, installed May 2012. First few days I used it the temp jumped 20 degrees. Works like a champ. Accidentally left it on in for 4 days in July this summer and the temp hit 96.. Lol
    12k gal Gunite/Hayward filter C5520BH with quad 33 inch filters. 2.5 hp motor. Pool is on south side, so full sun light. Spill over spa.
    Laar's heater LT250-Low NOx Gas Fired for pool/spa 250,000 BTU. Roof mount 6 panel solar system installed east/south. TF-100 test kit. May-September 100+ degrees out side.

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    Re: Install solar heat

    As to performance mine, with about 2/3's pool surface area coverage with an indoor pool was able to extend the swim season into November, depending on how you count it. It dropped below steadily maintaining goal temperature of 84 degrees F the last week of Oct when the roof top temperature sensor for the solar controller stopped working right (started reading off by about 10 degrees F) making it slow to turn on and quick to turn off the solar heat. This took 3 or 4 days to get a replacement $30 sensor and get it installed on the roof. As a result our Halloween movie swim night had water that was right at 80 degrees, so a little cooler than ideal, but still enjoyable. We then hosted a 16th birthday party for the neighbor kid around November 15fh, this was 2 or 3 days after the first freeze of the year, and the high's that day were in the 50's, pool was covered for the 2 weeks prior and water temperature was down to 77 degrees. Again this is a bit cool for my tastes, but the teenagers seemed to love it, for comparison here keep in mind Olympic competition pools are kept at 78 degrees F. Of course we are having an unseasonably cold November, with tonight being our 4th night below freezing this year, and the next 2 nights forecast to have lows below freezing also. For comparison a few years ago I remember hearing the statistic on the local weather broadcast that half the time we don't get our first freeze of the winter until after New Years.

    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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    Re: Install solar heat

    Might want to try these guys. Seem very home owner oriented - http://www.h2otsun.com.
    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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    Re: Install solar heat

    I agree h2otsun seems to make a very nice product, I just could not justify the price on my install, the quote I received from them was around $4,600 + shipping for similar coverage as the $2,700 (delivered) Techno Solis panels I ended up going with.
    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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    Re: Install solar heat

    Thanks guys! Ike, do you have a link or company name of where you ordered yours? I liked the design of the heliocol ones because they didn't require straps across the middle of the panels, but I'm sure that makes it even more critical to hit the roof trusses. Any thoughts on how to make sure your not just screwing into plywood?


    Pool TBD..
    IG gunite, probably SWG, solar heat

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    Re: Install solar heat

    I bought mine from poolheatpumps.com, and was a custom quote package since I did not need the solar controller that was included in their standard packages. Diedra who handles custom quotes was great to work with and very helpful there overall I was very impressed with the experience, once the panels and the installation kits arrived I found a mounting part was missing from one of the kits, and they sent out a replacement right away, no headaches, etc.. As to the roof question, can't really help you too much on that one, since my installation was on a metal roof on a metal framed building.

    Ike

    p.s. you may want to look at this thread from last summer too solar-panel-questions-t57664.html Too bad Jason from Fafco seems to have disappeared off the board
    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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    Re: Install solar heat

    We have aquatherm solar and is the best investment ever. Look at out solar install thread in the sig bar.
    6,000 gal, IG free form,Beach Series Antigua by Marbletite Pebble finish,Sheer Descent, IG Fountain, Dolphin / Mermaid Statues,Dura- Glas 1.5hp pump,Hayward Pro-grid DE4820, Aqua Rite SWG with T-Cell 15,Heat Siphon Heat Pump DX 5.0 109,000 btu, Pool Cage, 1800sq ft Tremron Estate Pavers,Aquatherm Ecosun Solar Panels 192 sq ft with GL-235 Controller,Pentair IntelliBrite, Apollo Magnetic Stirrer Our New Poolbuild, Jacksonville, FL yr 2009 Solar install Outdoor kitchen upgrade

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    Re: Install solar heat

    Quote Originally Posted by Brentr
    We have aquatherm solar and is the best investment ever. Look at out solar install thread in the sig bar.
    Solar install thread? Where?



    Pool TBD..
    IG gunite, probably SWG, solar heat

  16. Back To Top    #16
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Install solar heat

    Quote Originally Posted by Beer tunnel
    Quote Originally Posted by Brentr
    We have aquatherm solar and is the best investment ever. Look at out solar install thread in the sig bar.
    Solar install thread? Where?



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Link is in their signature ... not visible in tapatalk.
    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!

  17. Back To Top    #17
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    Re: Install solar heat

    Looks like I'm late to the party as well. (Spent most of the year in Afghanistan and still getting on board with many things I guess.) OK, so for solar heat...I live in the Savannah, Ga area and we have 5 Aquasol panels. Each is 4x12 and I did the entire installation myself. According to the 50% of surface area coverage rule, we should have installed 6 panels. We went with 5 because that was all that would fit with just one row. We can always add a second row if we choose. We figured let's try 5 and see what that gives us. Turns out that with a pool and panels that get full sun all day and south facing back yard and roof, 5 panels gives us 85 degrees from about late April to early October and about 80 degree water for about 3-5 weeks on either end of this window depending on the weather. When I turned it off for the year right after Veteran's day weekend a few weeks ago, the water was still 78 degrees. Of course, to maximize your solar gain you also want to use a solar cover. We use ours for about 2 months on each end of the swim season to prevent heat loss when the night time temps get cooler.

    We installed our pool on January 2011 and I added the solar sometime around April of that year. We never really planned for solar when we did the pool install, but we did start out with a Pentair VS pump that we installed with the pool. This has proven to be key for us as the VS feature of this pump meant that we did not need a dedicated pump for the solar. It also allows us to easily adjust the flow through the panels on the fly in order to better optimize the system. We typically have to increase pump speed a little as the filters get closer to needing cleaning. You are about 250 miles south of us so I'd expect that you may be able to get year-round use of your pool with a good solar set up. We typically go from late Feb/early March - mid November with our solar rig. Basically we have to give it up before the first freeze and then we can start heating again after the last freeze here.

    Here's what I suggest based on what I learned doing ours: since you are installing your pool now, plan for solar by considering going with a VS pump so you can get the water up to the roof (roof mount) and adjust the flow to optimize once you add solar. (We saved a lot of money during our build by sourcing a lot of our equipment ourselves rather than just getting it all from our PB). Once your pool is all done, you may consider starting with a solar cover and see what that gives you for heat loss. Perhaps you have a neighbor with a pool who can give you a good idea of what you can expect from a cover alone. In your location that may be all you need, if so then you could just use a cover and save yourself a lot of time and money. If not, or you want solar anyway, then I suggest shop around for good quality panels that will last a long time. You do not want to have to change them out for many years. Installation is labor intensive and takes a little planning, but I did not find it all that difficult. (and no, I am not a building contractor or plumber) It took me a week of after work evenings and most of a Saturday to get our system installed and working properly. The whole thing is automated too. If you search my posts you should be able to find where I have detailed my installation for others a few times in the past. I agree with others about the h2ot site. They did have a few cartoons on there that really explained how the whole system is supposed to work and I really found those helpful during my planning and installation. If you'd like, you can PM me your number and I'll be happy to discuss my experience with you and answer questions for you. Oh yeah, check our equipment list in the signature block for more detail on our solar rig. I'll say that it cost us about $2k for our solar installed by me so if you're looking to save some on yours, if you're comfortable with tools and being on the roof, then go for it and DIY. Disclaimer: I'm no solar expert. I'm just a guy that figured it out good enough to do my own and that is all the experience I have with a solar install. With that said, our solar has performed just fine without any issues ever since I installed it. Beginner's luck!

    Hope I offered you something helpful and was not all over the place here. Best of luck to you in your choices!
    Ken & Shari
    Savannah, GA
    16' x 40' freeform fiberglass inground (Pacific model, mfg by Tallman Pools), 23k gal, 2" plumbing throughout, Intellichlor IC-40, Easy Touch controller, Intelliflow VS 3050 pump, Pentair Clean & Clear Plus Quad Cartridge filter. 4 Jandy deck jets (3/4" plumbing), Fiberstars color changing lighting, SR Smith salt friendly diving system, Interfab Wild Ride slide, Aquasol Solar Heat (5 panels 4'x12' DIY install automated with ET) RIP Nitro Wall Climber Mar 2011-Aug 2012, Nitro is survived by a Polaris 360.

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: Install solar heat

    So I swung by pinch a penny yesterday. They carry Sunstar panels which I was told are the same as Heliocol. Is this accurate? The design certainly seems similar, and the price wasn't bad at all...


    Pool TBD..
    IG gunite, probably SWG, solar heat

  19. Back To Top    #19
    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Install solar heat

    They seem to be made by the same company, don't know if they are the same model, many companies sell "private label" versions of their dealer only panels as a secondary line, often priced less with shorter warranty, etc., but the same identical panel, sometimes if fewer sizes or options though. My big concern on this one is that they don't seem to publish a detailed spec sheet or have the installation manual available for download on their main web site.
    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~

  20. Back To Top    #20

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    Re: Install solar heat

    Seems every facet of pool building is kind of shady. One quote is $1200 for pebble finish, one is $2500. Solar panels cost around $2k, but most charge double that installed. I've got no problem with a pool builder making a profit but the margin seems way high to me...


    Pool TBD..
    IG gunite, probably SWG, solar heat

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