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Thread: Ways to not only help heat the pool, but also add some photovoltaics

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    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Ways to not only help heat the pool, but also add some photovoltaics

    Greetings, TFPers!

    Some folks had questions about this a while back, so looking to share our experience. *Not* affiliated with the companies mentioned in any manner.

    We had a set of seven of the open-coil solar thermal collectors on our roof, tied to our in-ground pool, as part of the house we purchased a couple years, ago, here in DC. Those surely helped to add a few degrees of heat during the Spring and Fall, but, we wanted to use this great, Southern exposure to its fullest potential. We envisioned using that space for solar panels, using a pool-only heat pump, to extend the season, and to provide a bit of electricity for the rest of the year.

    After a bit of research and networking, we were pleased to find a guy with a *lot* of experience and good references who, after some engineering and math wizardry, has shown the power of an integrated, full-hybrid PV(T) system (Photovoltaic and Solar Thermal).

    We are in the final design process of adding:
    - A few racks of 21% efficient, 'SunPower' photovoltaic panels to the roof.
    - A matching set of 'SunDrum', solar thermal collectors, that attach to the normally-toasty backside of the PV panels.
    - A 'Water Furnace', heat pump with three heat exchangers. (Often part of a ground-sourced heat pump system.)

    The SunDrums use a glycol loop to send heat to/from the Water Furnace. There, the system connects out to heat and cool the house, pre-heat potable hot water, and it uses the pool as a heat sink, in the summer, and as a heat store, during the winter. Rather than just 'heat the pool', this will take on a lot of tasks, but it is not overly complex. (Our pump and filter are in conditioned space, already. With some insulation under the cover, heat being monitored, and cycling, freezing should not be an issue. /Knock on wood.)

    There will be added electric use, due to using the heat pump and variable-speed pool pump, more often. That is offset by the power from the PV panels, time-of-use electricity savings, and significantly reduced natural gas usage- only used to top off the potable hot water and as a back-up HVAC heat source, when necessary.

    Finalizing the details, now, so hope to add, more, once the final design comes along.

    Wish us luck!

    Nikk
    Last edited by EnserNG; 07-16-2014 at 01:48 PM. Reason: Hopefully, clarified.

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    Cary, NC (Raleigh)
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    Re: Installing pool water heat exchanger in HVAC

    For what its worth I recall seeing an older episode of "Ask this old house" in which they installed a system from a company onto the AC unit in order to provide a means to heat a pool.
    It was a few years ago but I'm sure a quick google search would reveal some info or find the episode in which they installed the system.
    18x30 Freeform In-ground Vinyl Lined. 11,500 gallons.
    4 returns, 2 skimmers, 2 main drains.
    Hayward TriStar 1hp 2-Speed Pump. Hayward S244T Filter.Hayward Goldline Panel + SWG.
    Polaris 280 cleaner. AquaComfort 75k BTU Heatpump
    TF-100

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Ways to not only help heat the pool, but also add some photovoltaics

    One big concern I would have is who can provide maintenance on such a system when something goes wrong.
    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: Ways to not only help heat the pool, but also add some photovoltaics

    Blbncsu,

    Will certainly take a look, around for that - love TOH and all of their spin-offs.

    Isaac-1,

    That is a great point - and one of our initial (and on-going) concerns, as well.

    In addition to full installation-design diagrams, we are receiving all of the technical details of the components, having each pipe and component, clearly labeled, and a detailed manual of the system, as-installed. That is all in the contract, in addition to periodic adjustments and maintenance.

    As part of the search process, we have made contacts who can troubleshoot components and the system - in addition to the individuals and rest of the company doing the initial work. We will, also, be closely involved with the installation, as we have been with the design, and should be set to monitor, make adjustments, and make most 'board-level' repairs.

    Is there anything, else, that you can come up with, that we should include in that area?

    Thank you, both!

    Nikk
    ~26,000g free-form, plastered, gunite in-ground pool. 1.5hp pump, sand filter, and electronic timer. 2 skimmers and 3 returns on the pool floor. 2" supply and return lines. Solar Breeze and AquaBot Turbo T for automation - both are great for us!
    Fun fact, the pump, filter, and timer are located in our basement. (Some 'pros' have seen a few, while others are mystified.)

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Installing pool water heat exchanger in HVAC

    Quote Originally Posted by blbncsu View Post
    For what its worth I recall seeing an older episode of "Ask this old house" in which they installed a system from a company onto the AC unit in order to provide a means to heat a pool.
    It was a few years ago but I'm sure a quick google search would reveal some info or find the episode in which they installed the system.
    I looked into these (Heat Recover Pool Heater- Hotspot Energy), but they did not make financial sense in my case.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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