1. ## Solar Heating Panels

solar pool .jpgI was planning to attach six 4x12 solar panels on my back porch roofing, is this an acceptable way to connect the panels? Any thoughts would be appreciated, thanks.

2. ## Re: Solar Heating Panels

Welcome to TFP!!!

That is not a typical way of doing it. What are the dimensions of the roof? Which way does it slope? What brand panels?

I would think you would be better off with either 2 banks of 3 panels wide, or 3 banks of 2 panels wide ... the the panels are connected directly to each other.

There are some examples here:
http://www.h2otsun.com/PG5ht.html

3. ## Re: Solar Heating Panels

The crucial thing is that the distance the water travels needs to be the same regardless of which panel it passes through. If you ran the return to the pool from the left edge where panels 3 and 6 are it would be alright.

Also, you don't show the tilt of the roof. Water should always travel up hill until it gets to the top and then always travel downhill from there.

4. ## Re: Solar Heating Panels

Panels are a Vortex brand, back porch roof has a center ridge, roof measures 40 feet side to side, problem is each roof section is only max 6 feet from ridge to gutter, that was the reason for turning them in a horizontal vs vertical fashion. Tilt of roof is about 15-20 degrees from center ridge to gutters. Drawing wasn't the best, pool water would enter on the down slope (gutter side), back to pool water near the center ridge. Hope this helps clarify.

5. ## Re: Solar Heating Panels

Ah, got ya, that helps understand the layout and I see why you have to do what you did. Likely you need to change some of the plumbing around so that water traveling through each panel is traveling the same distance (like Jason said).

Like moving the red TEE from the right of the picture to directly between panel 3 and 6. So that the water going through panel 1 would then travel past 2 and 3 before returning the full length back to the pool.

Actually, you usually want the hot water side as short as possible, so you could feed the panels on the left and return the water to the right.

6. ## Re: Solar Heating Panels

Doing things this way is going to require a lot of extra plumbing fittings since they are designed to couple together with a short length of flexible hose. In case you did not know the Solar Direct "Vortex" panels are private labeled Techno-Solis panels. Given your roof space limitations you might be better served by a custom sized panel, I know techno-solis makes over length panels in 14-16 ft lengths, I don't know but suspect they may also offer custom short panels at 5 or 6 ft length. I bought mine from poolheatpumps.com last year at a price that was better than the vortex branded panels from solar direct (mine have 2 inch headers, price was about the same as the vortex 1.5 inch header panel). There are also other brands of solar panels that offer custom sized panels, or roll your own glue together header and tube style kits.

Ike

7. ## Re: Solar Heating Panels

Interesting about the custom panels. I am sure most manufacturers do construct the different heights. That would be a cleaner install. Although you would need at least 14 4x5 panels to have the same area as the 6 4x12 ... so the added fittings might be cheaper than all the extra panels.

8. ## Re: Solar Heating Panels

Just so I have got this correct, move T return to far left between panel 3 and 6, do I then connect panel 1 to panel 2 to panel and similar on the opposite side? Call me totally visual but a drawing would help me, thanks.

9. ## Re: Solar Heating Panels

Move the blue connections to your panels to the left side of the panels.
Move the red connections to your panels to the right side of the panels.
Flip your arrows in the panels left/right.
Done.

10. ## Re: Solar Heating Panels

Thank you, I plan to start this next week, I will keep you posted, thanks again.

11. ## Re: Solar Heating Panels

Your going to also need a vacuum release valve mounted somewhere on the system, probably near the peak

12. ## Re: Solar Heating Panels

Thought I would add 2 vacuum breaks, 1 on each side at the peaks, thanks for everyone's help

13. ## Re: Solar Heating Panels

Do let us know how it goes and post photos of your installation

14. ## Re: Solar Heating Panels

In most cases you do not want two vacuum breakers on one plumbing loop. That can occasionally result in water remaining in the panels somewhere between the two valves.

15. ## Re: Solar Heating Panels

If you reverse the flow direction as we discussed, you could just put one at the peak before returning to the pool.

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