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Thread: Homemade sun rings

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Homemade sun rings

    I'm tired of my pool cooling down too much, and I hated messing with the solar blanket while it lasted. I thought about sun rings. Someone a year or two ago made some at home using hulahoops and polyethylene.

    I thought about it and remembered that I have plenty of polyethylene drip irrigation tube leftover from an unsuccessful experiment at a homemade solar heater, and half a roll of leftover black trash bags from the last homeowner, so I'm experimenting.

    Step one: make a loop of tubing connecting the ends with a drip emitter. It floats just fine.
    Step two: slit a trash bag and fuse the bag to it, sort of tack welding it with a soldering iron. Still floats, even with water splashed on it. Caves in with strong current inside the hot tub.
    Step three: make another loop using a piece of dowel as the splice. Use hot melt glue to stick it all together.
    Step four, durability testing as shown in photo.

    Thus far, zero expense. Everything was junk I already owned. Contemplating larger diameter tubing for better rigidity and thicker plastic. These trash bags are .75mil. Sheet polyethylene is 4 or 6 mil, should be more durable. More updates to come.

    sunrings.jpg
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Homemade sun rings

    Richard, this is an awesome post and I am following it closely! I too have a free form pool and basically threw away the bubble cover after one season (it became a rattlesnake habitat and I have little kids).

    Can't wait to see what you come up with.

    Have you considered 1/2" black irrigation tubing made into closed loops with barbed connectors? I have a lot of the 1/2" tubing.

    Do you think plastic painters tarp would be a good material to use?

    Looking forward to more pictures!!


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Homemade sun rings

    Silicone sealant to fuse the plastic?

    Magnets placed at 120deg points on the perimeter so that the disks configure themselves in a space-efficient hexagonal closed packed structure?


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Homemade sun rings

    First we see how well the melting versus the hot glue holds up in pool water. It's hard to get the temperature right to melt the plastics without burning a hole through the sheet, which is why prototype two used hotmelt glue.

    Yes, I think " tubing is the way to go. Same wall thickness, greater air volume, greater buoyancy. I'll use dowel instead of connector because it's cheaper than barbed connectors.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Homemade sun rings

    Or make your own compression ring fitting - take a 1-1/2" length of the 1/2" tubing, split one side of it lengthwise with a razor blade and then use that piece of tubing to connect the larger tube's ends together by compressing the diameter and inserting inside the end openings. Add a little Gorilla-Glue and you should have a nice seal.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Homemade sun rings

    First durability report: the hot glue lasts better than the welding. When it got trapped under the spa spillway, it's too much.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Homemade sun rings

    Hi Richard,

    Thank you for making this thread. It is very interesting.

    Did the rings sink or come apart under the spillway? Would it make any sense to put some slits in the plastic sheet to allow water spilling on it to flow through?


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Homemade sun rings

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    Hi Richard,

    Thank you for making this thread. It is very interesting.

    Did the rings sink or come apart under the spillway? Would it make any sense to put some slits in the plastic sheet to allow water spilling on it to flow through?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    They sink a little under the weight of the water spilling on them, but pop back up. I didn't glue all the way around, it's more like tack-welded so there are plenty of gaps between the sheet and the ring to let water escape, much like the floor in a white-water raft.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Homemade sun rings

    Got it, thanks.

    I know your stated purpose for these rings is to mitigate temperature loss overnight. Do you think they'll have any significant impact on water evaporation?

    I'd like to control evaporation better in my pool and, like you, messing around with a solar cover on a free form pool with a spillway (and waterfall) was just a pain. My solar blanket did not even last a season before it went into the recycle bin.

    Thanks again.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Homemade sun rings

    I think that will be my project right after vacation.

    I tried the Solar Sun Rings from Ebay. They worked great right up until they self destructed. Total waste of money.

    I like the concept, plus they helped a lot with evaporation.
    SWG: CircuPool (May 2014) SI30+Plus; 3000ppm seems ideal;
    My Ideal Specs:
    FC 5; PH 7.4-7.6; TA 90; CH 350; CYA 75; = SI ~ 0.19
    14,000 gal, in ground, plaster, Cartridge filter, Borates
    TAYLOR K - 2006

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Homemade sun rings

    Richard,

    May I ask what type of glue you used in your hot glue gun?

    As I think about following your lead on this project, I have no supplies readily available and so I need to make a "grocery" list so I can better size the project cost.

    Thanks.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Homemade sun rings

    This stuff, because I needed something that would fit my mini glue gun: http://www.upcindex.com/18239500253
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    MirellaJoe's Avatar
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    Re: Homemade sun rings

    omg i love that idea!!!! i should try that too
    Intex Ultra Frame 16'x48" sand filter w/intex SWG.
    Pool Blaster Max Vacuum
    3rd year with Intex and no problems
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Homemade sun rings

    Update: the "welded" prototype has disintegrated. So hot glue seems to be the better adhesive method. The original garbage bag and glue prototype is still holding up.

    Second round of prototypes has been done using 1/2" poly tubing and 4 mil sheeting. Glued every 6-8" alternating inside and outside. 10' circumference yields just under 39" diameter, which is starting to get unwieldy. Too bad; doubling the circumference quadruples the area covered, so bigger would be better so far as economics goes. We'll see how long these survive.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Homemade sun rings

    How's the warpage on them? Do they stay flat or do they do the potato chip thing?


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Homemade sun rings

    Totally flat.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Homemade sun rings

    Well, the last post was in June... Now it's August and we are heading to the end of the season. How about an analysis of how things are going and what has been learned since then?
    SWG: CircuPool (May 2014) SI30+Plus; 3000ppm seems ideal;
    My Ideal Specs:
    FC 5; PH 7.4-7.6; TA 90; CH 350; CYA 75; = SI ~ 0.19
    14,000 gal, in ground, plaster, Cartridge filter, Borates
    TAYLOR K - 2006

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Homemade sun rings

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuckiechan View Post
    Well, the last post was in June... Now it's August and we are heading to the end of the season. How about an analysis of how things are going and what has been learned since then?
    They hold up over time. Only about 1/3 of the pool is covered, so no noticeable effect on warming the thing. They also impede the flow of surface debris towards the skimmer. I'm still mentally debating whether or not I want to buy more tubing and make more to cover more surface.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

  19. Back To Top    #19
    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Homemade sun rings

    Just don't do THIS


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Homemade sun rings

    I'm considering using pool cover "bubble wrap" material instead of black plastic. It will make a nice winter project.

    Regarding debris, I would pull the rings out before people came over and run the skimmer on "high", and the surface cleared up quick enough. BTW, the water got really warm - at one point I had to run my solar panels at night to cool the water! I had 15 rings so my surface was pretty well covered, but the failure of the product left me feeling pretty burned... no pun intended. But it was a material failure due to faulty choices by the mfg.

    It did reduce evaporation as well, but I didn't have a way to measure that.

    Are you planning on working on them again for next season?
    SWG: CircuPool (May 2014) SI30+Plus; 3000ppm seems ideal;
    My Ideal Specs:
    FC 5; PH 7.4-7.6; TA 90; CH 350; CYA 75; = SI ~ 0.19
    14,000 gal, in ground, plaster, Cartridge filter, Borates
    TAYLOR K - 2006

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