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Thread: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

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    DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    Hi everyone, I need a bit of help here ....

    I have 3 kids. 12, 3 and 2
    The 12 year old has no problem with 68-70 degree water. The 2 and 3 year olds will not go in at all. just cry a river.....

    I put together a 450 L/F DIY garden hose solar panel heater. (or tried to)
    I read various forums/information before constructing. But I have obviously screwed up somewhere?

    Here is my set up; (see attached photos)

    Pool info:
    Round
    15' 8" in Diameter
    3' 10" in depth
    To my knowledge it's about 5000 gallons / 20,000 ltr

    Pump/filter:
    Krystal clear Model 637R
    110 - 120V, 60 HZ, 1.1 amp
    To my knowledge the pumping capacity is 1000 GPH

    Here is what I did; (The genius that I am ?)

    1) I installed a "T" from the output from the pump/filter,
    2) One "T" is 1 1/4" diverted and adapted to the garden hose, connected to a ball valve so as I can turn it off when vacuuming or just circulating.
    3) The other "T" is a 1 1/4" by-pass (continuing to pool outlet) with another ball valve so as I can restrict the flow through the by-pass (to try to send more water through the hose)
    4) Moving along, I have installed another "T" adapted to allow the returning garden hose (Heated water) to mix with the by-pass water when entering the pool
    5) The connected garden hoses are about 400 ft split into 2 x 4'x4'ft panels painted flat black, covered with clear poly to add some thermal heating. 50' to and fro pump/filter)

    Problem;

    I wanted to check the water temperature when the system was (apparently) in operation, by disconnecting the garden hose return (step 4 above), and found that there was no water coming out at all?

    I tried several ball valve adjustments, but I got nothing?

    I currently have the 2 panels connected together (I think the term is "in series") I may want to consider "In parallel" at some point (2 separate independent panels, or a manifold of some kind)? Although I don't think that is causing my real problem here

    Please any suggestions would be greatly appreciated

    Thanks all
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    Not surprising, those types of AG pumps don't create much in the way of head pressure so any restriction (i.e. panels & extra pipe) will reduce flow rate to a trickle. Especially when using a small hose. Putting the panels in parallel and using large pipe might help but you will need to lay the panels flat to make sure all the air gets evacuated.

    What is with the plastic on the panels? That will reduce heat transfer.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    Several things working against you, starting with the anemic pump and the 50-foot run to and from your collectors. That just won't cut it. Is that distance set in stone? Even with a proper pump and larger hoses it would greatly benefit you to cut down on that distance. Then you need to give serious consideration to an actual commercial solar panel, which cost roughly $100 for 40 square feet (2'x20').
    18'x4' AG Intex Ultra Frame, 6,700 gal., assembled new 2013; Mods: Hayward EC50C90 Perflex filter & 1 h.p. PowerFlo Matrix pump, Fiber Clear cellulose D.E. substitute, Hayward H100ID1 100,000 BTU NG heater, a pair of 2'x20' Sungrabber solar heaters via the original Intex 635T pump, grey Hydro Tools through-the-wall skimmer, Confer steps/ladder system & Cover Free chemical pool cover. The Summer of Mods!

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    Re: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    Hi and thank you for the replies.

    mas985
    - I did hear some gargling now that I think of it. I will try to temporarily level the panels and see what happens?
    - The plastic is there (from what I have read) to keep the generated heat inside the "unit", as well as the wind and atmospheric temperature will not be able to dissipate the heat? Mind you I was a little skeptical of the reflective nature of the plastic.
    - I think I will try the parallel setup, but I will only change the pipe itself as a last resort.


    CeeElgee
    - Just so as we are on the same page, and to be more accurate on my part, it's 40' total (20' there and 20' back). My apologies as I had that sentence worded incorrectly.
    - Unfortunately the panels can not be moved any closer. Maybe next year
    - Here in Canada you can buy the likes of this ....

    http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/outdoo...t#.U_ebePldWSo

    Although the piping is larger in diameter, it's only 20' in length. Do you really feel it would create more heat than mine (400' of garden hose .... if indeed I got it to work )?

    Would it be possible to add a good pump before my current pump/filter (only unplug it and use it solely as a filter) and maintain the current downstream setup.

    Again thanks for the replies

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Glasgowspeaker View Post
    - The plastic is there (from what I have read) to keep the generated heat inside the "unit", as well as the wind and atmospheric temperature will not be able to dissipate the heat?
    Where did you read that putting non-clear plastic over a panel will improve heat transfer? There are glass solar panels but they use clear glass which is not the same as "not so clear" plastic. Also, while glass panels do better in very cold weather, they don't tend to do as well as regular pool panels in the summer. So I would remove the plastic.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    You might consider upgrading your pump to the 2650 gph sand filter. That would be able to run the solar panels that have been suggested.

    Oh yes --

    Welcome to TFP!
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    Re: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    Mas985 - I'm pretty sure that this post - search for -> (or similar clear material) ( here is the one that convinced me that covering the panels to achieve thermal mas would outweigh the loss in solar radiation due to reflection? (BTW - The poly you see on my panels is completely clear, but the camera angle at that time really showed the reflection). But since your mention of this in your previous post, I did notice people agreeing with your theory elsewhere on the net as well. So I am now leaning towards removing the plastic as you have suggested. But i would like to hear what you think about the posting above. Thank you

    Charlie_R
    This was my hunch with regards to using a larger pump (Although I had no idea of what GPH I should be shooting for) so thank you
    Also - "Oh yes- -" could you please clarify?

    Appreciate it, Thanks again ...

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    Re: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    Here is another photo taken. Very sunny, at 11:10am Eastern Time (just to show that the reflection isn't always so prominent). So again, would you still say that the loss of Solar Radiation outweighing the gain in Thermal mass, and the poly should be removed?
    Thanks

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    Re: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    Not exactly a trusted scientific study so I wouldn't trust anything anyone says. Also, no photo on your second post.

    But you need to look at this from a heat transfer perspective. The sun adds heat gain through radiation. Anything put between the panels and the sun reduces this heat gain. The plastic you are using is nearly opaque and is blocking a lot of sun light from hitting the panels.

    Even pure glass will reduce incident heat transfer. The only time glass helps is when the air temp is lower than the pool temp because it reduces convective heat loss. However, just the opposite is true. When air temps are higher than pool temps, glass will actually reduce heat gain because it reduces the convective heat gain.

    But one thing for sure is that the plastic you are using is reducing heat gain. No doubt about it.

    chem geek did a nice write up here: http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...gy-Comparisons
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    Im not allowed to attach anymore

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    Re: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    Use a web host, like Photobucket....
    26' X 52" Intex Ultra Frame. Intex Sand Filter
    26' X 52 Intex Ultra Frame Install
    You can lead a horse to (clear) water, but you can't force him to swim in it!

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    Re: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    What I meant with the Oh yes.... No one had welcomed you to TFP yet, with your first post.

    If you would rather stay with a cartridge filter, the Intex model 633 is rated at 2500 gph, and should be able to drive your heater system. What you currently have is the 637. rated at 1000 gph (without filter), but doesn't come close to that with a filter installed.

    Another problem with the 637 is that it is a "draw through". When the filter gets even a little debris in it, it slows the water enough that it overheats the pump, leading to a fairly quick demise of the motor. All of the larger pumps are closer to industry normal style, being pressure fed filtration, starting with the 635 1500 gph rated.

    If you are planning on getting a larger pool, you might consider something like this:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/360884271677...84.m1423.l2649

    There are many tutorials here on how to hard plumb an Intex pool, but with your current small 15'x30" I doubt it would be worth doing.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    Re: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    Hi and sorry for the late reply.. working

    Ok so...

    PAGirl - Thank you, Didn't think of that. So here it is


    mas985 - I had a look at your link. I see what you are saying. I will remove the plastic for next season. Thanks. This year is pretty much over for me, as the overnight temps are now dipping down to 10-12 celcius. I do not have a thermal blanket as of yet, but I will for next season. To quote a description of what I am currently doing (trying to use solar, without a thermal blanket) "It's like having A/C installed and leaving the windows open. I think that description is bang on. Again thanks for your assistance.

    Charlie_R - Thank you for the welcome. I appreciate that. I was feeling a little isolated

    I just want to stay with a cartridge filter because,
    1) It's a small pool, it works ok
    2) I have got used to just spraying out the filter (especially after I vacuum with my homemade contraption)
    3) Can't be bothered hauling in and having to change connections once again with a sand filter
    4) trying to reduce costs. Things are more expensive up here, and I got the pool for free. Just want cheap heat

    I'm having a hard time finding the Intex model 633 is rated at 2500 gph up here. But yes that one should do the job.

    I am not planing on changing the pool size. This is good enough for the kids to mess about. BTW my pool is 16' x 48" (but who's counting)

    Now with a couple of adapters etc... or whatever I need to do, could I run this pump before my current cartridge filter and then just carry on. But upplug it (I'm guessing?)

    or....

    Do you guys/gals feel that this pump would be the way to go. This pump is on 33% stronger, but I was able to run the water through the system before adding the last 75' of hose. mind you this before the 3' climb to the panels also.

    Is it possible to run two pumps in series?

    Should I just use my current pump to circulate and vacuum, and use the Intex 1500-GPH for the solar?

    Again thank you for all of your responses.

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    Re: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    Here are a couple of choices:

    http://www.ebay.ca/sch/i.html?_odkw=...ilter&_sacat=0


    But you can put two pumps in series although I wouldn't do that unless they are both Intex pumps. Over driving the filter can cause problems.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    mas985 - Assuming that you were referring to the 2500 series pump, the problem (for me anyhow) is that the cheapest one is $65. That in itself is fine, but the shipping is $102. + duties etc ... At most I want to pay is $100 total. But thank you for the link.

    Overdriving the filter was actually my concern, as well as calculations regarding flow rates, back pressure etc...?. So basically you are saying that if I used an additional intex type pump in series (combined) with my current one and run both as normal, all should be well?

    My thoughts on this are to buy an identical pump/filter 1000 GPH, $60 bucks around the corner from me, and run Inline or in series both plugged in and operating. Is this the right approach? (hope so) or ..... should I have a "T" from the pool to each pump, then another "T" connecting the 2 pump outs back to the main line before entering the ball valves?

    I doubt by using this method I will achieve 2000GPH? If that is correct to assume, what sort of GPH do you think this could achieve? Would both methods be equal as far as GPH, wear and tear etc...?

    I think I'm see'n some light up ahead....

    Thanks for everything
    Tom

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    Re: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    Overdriving the filter was actually my concern, as well as calculations regarding flow rates, back pressure etc...?. So basically you are saying that if I used an additional intex type pump in series (combined) with my current one and run both as normal, all should be well?
    Difficult to say for sure but putting two pumps in series increases the maximum head that the pair can handle. Since there is probably a lot of head loss in the in the panels, this should improve the flow rate some but it is difficult to know for sure since I don't have any data on Intex pumps.


    I doubt by using this method I will achieve 2000GPH? If that is correct to assume, what sort of GPH do you think this could achieve? Would both methods be equal as far as GPH, wear and tear etc...?
    Flow rate will increase from a single pump but pumps in series actually add in head not flow rate. But even pumps in parallel don't produce double the flow rate either because of the shared plumbing head loss.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    While everyone else is advising you on pumps (and I am using a 635T to run mine, with less than optimum efficiency) can we address the hoses to and from? AS long as we're doing it on the cheap, you could use a 25-foot, 1-1/4" sump pump hose there, then split it with a T to each collector in parallel, and back again with another T and sump hose. That would be better than the little garden hoses there and back. Sump pump hose will work on pressure side, not suction side of your system.
    18'x4' AG Intex Ultra Frame, 6,700 gal., assembled new 2013; Mods: Hayward EC50C90 Perflex filter & 1 h.p. PowerFlo Matrix pump, Fiber Clear cellulose D.E. substitute, Hayward H100ID1 100,000 BTU NG heater, a pair of 2'x20' Sungrabber solar heaters via the original Intex 635T pump, grey Hydro Tools through-the-wall skimmer, Confer steps/ladder system & Cover Free chemical pool cover. The Summer of Mods!

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    Re: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    As Mas985 has pointed out to you earlier, higher flow rate will do a better job in warming your water. Here's an idea that you would still be able to use your garden hose heat collectors.

    CeeElGee is right, feeding the heaters with a larger hose/pipe would go a long way to getting better flow.

    Couple that with these (Amazon search link): http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...+hose+manifold splitting each of your collectors into several shorter runs in each coil.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    Re: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    mas985 -

    I didn't want to ask about head loss. (I want to atleast try to help myself a little bit here) so I read this, and I think I understand it a little beter now. So yes there is quite a bit. As a matter of fact I have 1/2", 5/8" and 3/4' hose thought out the collectors. Not helping I'm guessing! Not to mention both collectors acting as one! (in series)

    Although I am doing my best to try to grasp everything that you wrote, I don't really get this statement.
    Flow rate will increase from a single pump but pumps in series actually add in head not flow rate.
    My question would be. Even if the head loss increased do to the two pumps still sharing the same collector pipes, would there not still be more velocity creating a higher flow rate? Please remember this is all new to me.

    Thank you once again!


    CeeElGee -

    (and I am using a 635T to run mine, with less than optimum efficiency)
    I can get on of these for 100 bucks at lowes here in Canada, with no crazy shipping costs. (if needed of course) Are you saying that I should get one of those, or just change the to and fro piping? or both?
    I'm assuming just the piping, but just clarifying?

    Yes I have about 25' going and 25' returning, but they are not dedicated pipes. For example the output hose from the ball valve is I think 75' so the last 50' is coiled up in the 1st collector. Same goes for the return hose.

    Sump pump hose will work on pressure side, not suction side of your system.
    Could you please explain this?
    My misunderstanding here is that if it works on the pressure side (Feeding both collectors) then why will it not work on the suction side (return from collectors). My point is ... you quote
    and back again with another T and sump hose.
    Sorry but I am obviously missing something here!


    But if I'm reading you correctly, the jist of what you are getting at is to leave the pump alone. Change the feed to 1 1/4" in parallel "T"d to both collectors. and then again with another 1 1/4" "T"d for both returns.

    Thank you once again.


    Charlie_R -

    So do you feel that I should keep my 1000 GPH pump. But further reduce head loss by removing the "T"s from CeeElGee's suggestion (2x200' coils) and add 2 manifolds instead, creating 4x100' coils?
    Sounds good, but I would have to do some serious messing around with the panels! .... man.. its just a bunch of hoses connected together


    More forethought may have been in the cards hmmmm...

    Thanks again
    Tom

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    Re: DIY garden hose pool solar heater problems

    BTW do my ball valves and "T"s look in order?

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