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Thread: Solar install - plumbing questions

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    dayhiker's Avatar
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    Solar install - plumbing questions

    I bought Aquasol panels that I am planning on installing this weekend. I don't think their little packet does a great job explaining what the parts are and what they do. I have linked to a scan of the plumbing diagram that came with the panels.

    Here are my questions.

    1. I have two parts that are essentially large cylinders with a flapper part internal to the cylinder. What is this? THe diagram shows two different check valves. Is that what this is? What does it do?

    2. Just downstream from the three way valve is a isolation ball valve. Why have another way to stop the water just inches past the 3-way valve? It's listed as optional.

    3. They show a vacuum relief valuve just before the panels. Does this serve as a vent should you turn the panels off?

    4. There is a what appears to be another ball valve that's not labeled just before the outlet tee followed immediately by the check valve. Again, why? I understand why they have 3 different places to turn the water off. Also, they list this particular check valve as optional.

    5. Finally, even after reading the manul I still don't follow how you drain the panels. If I turn off the 3-way it'll prevent water from going in the panels, but won't it prevent them from draining too? I just don't follow how you can drain them while everything is under pressure? Do you have to take pressure off the system at the pump first?

    I'm sure all of this is very elementary, but it just doesn't make sense to me. They do a decent job explaing what to do, they just don't explain why. Maybe the ball valves are so that you can shut off the water different places to do maintenance at others? If so, that makes sense, but what's up with the little flapper check valves. Maybe it's to prevent some sort of backwash condition?

    I'm traveling today and thought I'd try to lay it all out there before I hit the road. I'll check back this evening.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/85659721@N ... 5/sizes/l/
    The avatar is Spalding from Caddyshack
    18x36 vinyl IG - approximately 24000 gal
    Jandy SHPM1.5 Pump (1.5 HP); Jandy APURE 1400 SWG; Polaris PB4-60Q Booster Pump; Jandy CL340 Cartridge Filter
    (3) 4'x12' Aquatherm solar panels
    Next project, pump sound enclosure and lots of pool landscaping [6tons of stone 8) funnnn]

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    Re: Solar install - plumbing questions

    You have it figured out!

    1- check valves, need 1 right after the filter before the three-way. Prevents the panels from draining into the filter. May need the other depending on your design.

    2- isolation valve, good idea to have in case your panels leak. Lets your isolate the solar to repair and keep the pool operating. Need 2 of them.

    3- vacuum relief, needed for self draining. Location is usually at top of panels, but there are other ideas towards the location, but needed somewhere in the system.

    4- see #1

    5- If you look inside of the three-way, the gate/valve should have a small hole in the center. This allows the system to drain, with the vacuum relief installed.

    You really did answer your own questions
    Joe

    21k IG vinyl, 300 lb. sand filter, 1hp pump, Polaris 280 cleaner, 3/4hp booster pump, 240sq ft Fafco solar, Liquidator

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Solar install - plumbing questions

    The panels will not usually drain until the pump is turned off, depending somewhat on how high up they are and the size of the pump. There is a good animation of the various solar plumbing features in action at Hot Sun Industries.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    dayhiker's Avatar
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    Re: Solar install - plumbing questions

    I couldn't find the small hole in the 3-way valve.

    When the pump is off is there still not pressure that woud prevnt the panels from draining?

    Thanks for the more detailed descriptions, such as the check valves prevent it from draining into the filter.

    Now that I see all of this hardware, I'm going to have a nightmare fitting all of this stuff in there. I have a tight, tight pump/filter assembly as it is.
    The avatar is Spalding from Caddyshack
    18x36 vinyl IG - approximately 24000 gal
    Jandy SHPM1.5 Pump (1.5 HP); Jandy APURE 1400 SWG; Polaris PB4-60Q Booster Pump; Jandy CL340 Cartridge Filter
    (3) 4'x12' Aquatherm solar panels
    Next project, pump sound enclosure and lots of pool landscaping [6tons of stone 8) funnnn]

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    Re: Solar install - plumbing questions

    [attachment=0:3o4skfdz]COMPOOL_VALVE.jpg[/attachment:3o4skfdz]

    Post the part number of the 3way. Here is a picture of the Pentair 263047 with the solar drain-down hole on item #9. If you do not have the hole, then some people have drilled the hole into the diverter. Take the valve apart before drilling to see is anything is in the way. The hole may have to be drilled off center to miss the thick part of the diverter.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Joe

    21k IG vinyl, 300 lb. sand filter, 1hp pump, Polaris 280 cleaner, 3/4hp booster pump, 240sq ft Fafco solar, Liquidator

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    dayhiker's Avatar
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    Re: Solar install - plumbing questions

    OK, so I have all of the plumbing in to make the pool operational again, but don't have the panels hooked up. I did take the top off of my cartridge filter, which I'd never done before, to make sure my new plumbing wouldn't interfere with it's removal. I decided that now was a good time to check and make sure the pool still worked. It doesn't.

    When I turn on the pump, nothing happens. No bubbles in the pool for the incoming water, nothing. When I look at the pump I can see about 4" of air in the basket. This is after letting the cartridge refill and closing it off when the water comes out. I don't have my camera cable with me or I'd post a pic in case anything jumps out. I wondered if maybe the main 3-way valve was leaking a little even though no water was coming out or no air, so I went ahead and glued the cutoff valve in place and retried. Nada. The only thing I noticed was at one of the returns it made a small ripple in the pool from attempting to suck.

    I guess this means I'm sucking air from somewhere, but water isn't coming out any of the fittings. I'm still pretty new to all of this and don't know all of the signs to look for. My guess is that one of the 3 threaded fittings out of the filter, into the SWG, or out of the SWG are leaking.

    Any advice? Could something else be a cause? I did trip the 3-way to see what would happen and shot water out as if water were being diverted to the panels. That rules out the check valve being in backwards even though I've checked that about 10x.

    I'm concerned that I shouldn't really proceed any further with the solar install until this problem is solved.

    Thanks.

    PS, I talked with the solar guy about the 1/8" hole mentioned above and he said the newer systems didn't need it. Just open everything up and it would drain down.
    The avatar is Spalding from Caddyshack
    18x36 vinyl IG - approximately 24000 gal
    Jandy SHPM1.5 Pump (1.5 HP); Jandy APURE 1400 SWG; Polaris PB4-60Q Booster Pump; Jandy CL340 Cartridge Filter
    (3) 4'x12' Aquatherm solar panels
    Next project, pump sound enclosure and lots of pool landscaping [6tons of stone 8) funnnn]

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    dayhiker's Avatar
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    Re: Solar install - plumbing questions

    I took the discussion here: pump-won-t-move-any-water-t11651.html
    The avatar is Spalding from Caddyshack
    18x36 vinyl IG - approximately 24000 gal
    Jandy SHPM1.5 Pump (1.5 HP); Jandy APURE 1400 SWG; Polaris PB4-60Q Booster Pump; Jandy CL340 Cartridge Filter
    (3) 4'x12' Aquatherm solar panels
    Next project, pump sound enclosure and lots of pool landscaping [6tons of stone 8) funnnn]

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