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Thread: another Solar vs Heat pump question

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    Join Date
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    another Solar vs Heat pump question

    I'm on the fence between solar and heat pump. Right now we can't afford both. We live on the treasure coast in FL and our roof faces due south. We have an attached spa, so either way we need an electric heater. we bought the house two years ago and it had an older Hayward electric spa heater in use (we still have it). Last year we gambled on a used Heat pump (gulfstream) and this week it died. We loved the heat pump last winter for it's ability to quickly heat the pool and spa on mostly weekends. The costs were so much lower than the spa heater we used the year before. Our son is getting older and we would like to use the pool more regularly, compared to just weekends last winter.

    So the questions...

    • With the higher cost of heating the spa with the electric heater, am I really going to save that much more money with a solar/spa heater combo over a heat pump in the long run?
    • Will running the solar to bring the spa up to temp during the day help a lot, reducing the cost of the spa heater running? But then I'm losing circulation in the pool?
    • I assume that I will lose 3 maybe 4 months of swimming with the solar option?


    Thanks so much in advance. Love this forum.
    Andy
    early 90s, 13K gal, IG Plaster, 1HP marathon, DE Nautilus NS-36, Spill over Spa w/1.5HP rebuilt A.O. Smith, Gulfstream Heat Pump (RIP, considering new options), solar sun rings.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: another Solar vs Heat pump question

    Solar is good at helping to maintain a higher water temp when the sun is available. It is not going to quickly heat up anything. At best you could expect to gain 5 degrees in your pool and you may lose most of that overnight when it is cooler.

    If you think you will want to add a lot of heat to the pool on occasion when the weather is cooler, a solar heater is not going to cut it.

    Over the summer, my solar ran maybe a few hours in the morning to maintain 85+ degrees. Last week when it was cloudy and we got some rain, the solar was running all day and the water was not up to temperature (even though the air temp was still over 90). If there is not sun, you get no heat.
    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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    Re: another Solar vs Heat pump question

    My solar panels can boost my temps by 14 degrees in spring and 8 degrees in summer, the boost in spring is due to the angle of the sun. I doubt any solar panels could get a spa up to 99, but you never know. I am a big promoter of solar for the following reasons, after initial outlay the heat is free, if it's not sunny out and below 80 degrees outside, a warmer pool is great until you have to leave it lol, no sun means zero heat from panels other then ambient air. Another bonus I find is my AC bill went down due to not having the sun bake my shingles all day long. Solar can be as expensive or more then a heat pump, but the heat pump will cost you money every month where the solar won't.


    Curious as to how much those heliocoils cost you Jason, that's an amazing solar set up you have, are they facing south?

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: another Solar vs Heat pump question

    $600 used off Craigslist. Plus connectors and mounts I was missing and plumbing and valves ... about $1500 for diy install. Almost flat roof, 4 are kind of south east and 6 are kind of south west.

    You seem to get a crazy amount of temp rise. Do you use a cover? I do not and in the spring lose at night about as much as I gain in the day.
    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!

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    TFP Guide

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    Re: another Solar vs Heat pump question

    That's an amazing price for your set up...congrats...love Solar.

    I don't use a cover, but I do use Cover Free and I find it helps only with evaporation. I hate solar covers, I bought my pool to look at water, not some dirty cover lol. My pool lost 4-5 degrees with cover on and around the same with cover off.

    I get that huge bump because all my panels (8 of 4 X 12)are on my south facing garage and house roof, I believe its angle would be around 30 degrees and the spring sun comes up and meets it perfectly at a 90 degree angle. Remember, I am on the East Coast of Canada and I have been in pool at 84 degrees as soon as April 13th lol. Now when the suns angle changes in mid July, I do not get that bump, I only raise 6 to 8 degrees. Even worse in late August. If I could have a way to manually adjust the panels flatter for those months when the sun is almost straight up, I could get those bumps as well. As I have now opened my own pool business, I will no doubt be adding 4 more panels next spring LOL.

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