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Thread: Will a check valve prevent losing prime with solar panels engaged?

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    borjis's Avatar
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    Will a check valve prevent losing prime with solar panels engaged?

    I've repaired two leaking panels with plugs and heated the pool water 6 degrees a few times.
    As a result I was able to swim for the first time this season last saturday.

    pretty cool seeing that work.

    But I've noticed the solar installation (from 1993) lacks a check valve between the filter
    and diverter to solar or direct pool returns and also no check valve just before the solar (heated water coming back)
    plumbing goes back to the returns.

    Right now the system is all manual as the control panel was dead. I also have 1 orange ball
    valve after the diverter to solar and another one right before the solar plumbing goes to
    the return jets.

    So when I open those up and divert from return jets, to solar then it gets going....much later in the day
    when the pump is turned off I hear the panels drain. If I leave it like that overnight the pump basket
    empties. Also after the panels drain, I hear gurgling in my filter and some dirty water from the filter back
    flows a little to my skimmer which is odd because I do have a check valve between the pump and filter.



    If I get check valves installed in the two places in the plumbing for solar will that prevent it from
    losing prime in the pump basket with the diverter on solar and ball valves open?

    I had hoped it would work this way so that when the pump automatically turns on at noon
    it is heating the water on sunny days when I'm at work.

    I tried letting it do that once on a sunday and the pump basket could never get fully
    pressurized and I had vortexing at the skimmer even though the pool is fully filled to the line.
    I sure as heck wouldn't want it doing that while I'm away.

    my workaround for now is to manually turn off the pump when the sun stops heating the panels
    and once the panels drain, I close the ball valves and move the diverter back to return jets position.
    16x32 IG Vinyl, 13,000 Gals. Hayward S-244T sand filter, SP2810X15 pump
    (1.5 HP motor) Raypak PR266AEN (266k btu) gas heater. TF-100 Test Kit.
    Dolphin E10 Cleaning Robot.

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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Re: Will a check valve prevent losing prime with solar panels engaged?

    Usually there is a check valve on the line going to the panels, but not on the way back to the pool that I have seen. Putting one on the line to the panels would prevent them from draining back through the filter, and only allow them to drain to the pool returns. It is odd that it back flows through the current check valve. Is it one of the clear top ones where you can check to see if there is an obstruction preventing it from closing?


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    borjis's Avatar
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    Re: Will a check valve prevent losing prime with solar panels engaged?

    I think the reason for having a check valve on the solar return as well as the incoming is to prevent
    the panels from filling up backwards when the ball valves are open during summer operation with automation
    engaging / disengaging them. The one time I left the ball valves open and only used the diverter to turn
    the panels off, I could hear water going through the pipe in reverse trying to equilize itself back into the panels.

    The 1 check valve I have between pump and filter is not see through unfortunately. I bet it is stuck, there's
    no other explanation to why its backing into the skimmer when I shut it off.
    16x32 IG Vinyl, 13,000 Gals. Hayward S-244T sand filter, SP2810X15 pump
    (1.5 HP motor) Raypak PR266AEN (266k btu) gas heater. TF-100 Test Kit.
    Dolphin E10 Cleaning Robot.

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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Re: Will a check valve prevent losing prime with solar panels engaged?

    I can see how it could be used either way. I assume the necessity of the check valve on the return would be determined by where the vrv is mounted. If you bypass the solar, without a check valve on the return, some water would push back up that pipe, but most of it would be going to the pool since it is lower pressure. If your vrv is at the top of the solar panels, that shouldn't be a problem. If it is closer to the ground, the water pushing back up that line probably wouldn't have enough pressure to seat it, and it would leak.


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    borjis's Avatar
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    Re: Will a check valve prevent losing prime with solar panels engaged?

    The relief valve is mounted at the lower end of the last panel on the roof.
    16x32 IG Vinyl, 13,000 Gals. Hayward S-244T sand filter, SP2810X15 pump
    (1.5 HP motor) Raypak PR266AEN (266k btu) gas heater. TF-100 Test Kit.
    Dolphin E10 Cleaning Robot.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Will a check valve prevent losing prime with solar panels engaged?

    borjis, you are correct on where there should be check valves.
    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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    Re: Will a check valve prevent losing prime with solar panels engaged?

    My system has just one check valve, on the discharge side of the filter. The pump remains primed all of the time.
    7,500 gal, IG pool, L shape 22' x 15', 1.5 hp pump, cartridge filter, AquaPlus SWG/Controller, Pebble-Tec liner.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Will a check valve prevent losing prime with solar panels engaged?

    The 2nd check valve on the solar return is so that the panels are not filled/pressurize backward when solar is off. Nothing to do with the pump losing prime.
    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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    borjis's Avatar
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    Re: Will a check valve prevent losing prime with solar panels engaged?

    thanks for the replies.

    I only lose prime when the ball valves are open, regardless of where the diverter is positioned.

    would the check valves prevent loss of prime when the diverter is going to solar? do they seal up when no water is flowing?

    or merely prevent back flowing?
    16x32 IG Vinyl, 13,000 Gals. Hayward S-244T sand filter, SP2810X15 pump
    (1.5 HP motor) Raypak PR266AEN (266k btu) gas heater. TF-100 Test Kit.
    Dolphin E10 Cleaning Robot.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Will a check valve prevent losing prime with solar panels engaged?

    I never lose prime whether solar is on or off. The check valve after the filter should prevent the solar from draining back through the filter and pump. Since the filter can not drain, prime is not lost.
    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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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Will a check valve prevent losing prime with solar panels engaged?

    There is a pic of my solar valve and check valves in my build pic in my sig. Left side goes up to panels, right side is return from panels. I never lose prime either.
    TFP Moderator
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    borjis's Avatar
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    Re: Will a check valve prevent losing prime with solar panels engaged?

    I was hoping that was the case, thanks for letting me know.

    Can't figure why the solar installer did it without check valves but that was 20 years ago.
    16x32 IG Vinyl, 13,000 Gals. Hayward S-244T sand filter, SP2810X15 pump
    (1.5 HP motor) Raypak PR266AEN (266k btu) gas heater. TF-100 Test Kit.
    Dolphin E10 Cleaning Robot.

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