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Thread: Need help deciding on Solar Heating...Which manufacture?

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    Need help deciding on Solar Heating...Which manufacture?

    Looking to put in solar heating for our pool within the next couple weeks and would be grately appreciative for any reccomendations.
    I have narrowed it down to 3 manufactures but would like to know any experience anyone here might have with these or suggestions for the best one. I've heard Favco is the best as far as BTU output. Since we have to put the panels on the West side of the roof we will only get about 75% (per solar companies) we would like to make sure we get the best panels for output. They are talking about 7 panels w/12' and 8'.
    Thanks. See sig. for any pool info.
    The three compaines are:
    1. Favco
    2 Aquatherm/Eco-Sun
    3. Helicoil
    18k free form IG w/spa (4 jets), Paramount in floor cleaning system, Starite system 3 filter, Jandy 2hp ePump, Sta-Rite SR400LP Maxi-therm propane heater, Jandy aquapure/apurem 1400 SWCG, Jandy automation PS4 w/PDA, IntelliBrite 120v 5-G LED pool & spa lights, 2" piping and (3)4x12 (5)4x10 Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Need help deciding on Solar Heating...Which manufacture?

    If you want to compare solar panel performance, I would use this site since they test each panel under the same conditions. Don't rely on what the sales person says.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater, ThePoolCleaner

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    Re: Need help deciding on Solar Heating...Which manufacture?

    Thanks Mas. But it's all greek to me on those #. Any help here from the experts would be fantastic.
    18k free form IG w/spa (4 jets), Paramount in floor cleaning system, Starite system 3 filter, Jandy 2hp ePump, Sta-Rite SR400LP Maxi-therm propane heater, Jandy aquapure/apurem 1400 SWCG, Jandy automation PS4 w/PDA, IntelliBrite 120v 5-G LED pool & spa lights, 2" piping and (3)4x12 (5)4x10 Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Need help deciding on Solar Heating...Which manufacture?

    That is a good site that Mas985 gave you.

    To break it down for you:

    Fafco/Revolution = 1063 BTU/Ft²
    Fafco/Sunsaver = 1014 BTU/Ft²
    Fafco/Solotube = 860 BTU/Ft²

    Aquatherm/Ecosun = 1010 BTU/Ft²

    Heliocol/Heliocol & Sun Miser = 956 BTU/Ft²
    Heliocol/TC = 850 BTU/FT²

    The Heliocol's are the worst producers and the Fafco's are the best. Having a choice, I'd go with the fafco's or the Aquatherm's. Remember the more Square feet the more heat. Buy all you can afford, especially since you're not placing them in an optimum location.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Need help deciding on Solar Heating...Which manufacture?

    So it looks like the Fafco Revolution is the best. Is there much of a noticeable difference between Fafco 1063 BTU and the EcoSun 1010 BTU with respect to heating. The Fafco is a little more expensive.
    18k free form IG w/spa (4 jets), Paramount in floor cleaning system, Starite system 3 filter, Jandy 2hp ePump, Sta-Rite SR400LP Maxi-therm propane heater, Jandy aquapure/apurem 1400 SWCG, Jandy automation PS4 w/PDA, IntelliBrite 120v 5-G LED pool & spa lights, 2" piping and (3)4x12 (5)4x10 Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels.

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    Re: Need help deciding on Solar Heating...Which manufacture?

    I bought Sun Grabbers made by Fafco off e-bay. They where more than half the price that the pool store wanted. Was getting quotes for $5000.00 installed. Bought them for $1000.00 off e-bay,and because of my steep roof hired out for $800.00. Total less then $2000.00.

    We have had a couple frost warning already and our pool was 78* today.
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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Need help deciding on Solar Heating...Which manufacture?

    Quote Originally Posted by towney
    So it looks like the Fafco Revolution is the best. Is there much of a noticeable difference between Fafco 1063 BTU and the EcoSun 1010 BTU with respect to heating. The Fafco is a little more expensive.
    Probably unlikely to see any difference but it you did it is less than 5% so instead of 10 degree rise, you might get 9.5 degrees. But if EconSun is more than 5% cheaper, it would be worth it.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater, ThePoolCleaner

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    Re: Need help deciding on Solar Heating...Which manufacture?

    I anyone running a system like the Fafco without all of the sensors? Just thinking of setting something up to be run in a manual mode.
    16,000 gal IG Double Roman Plaster Pool (16yrs - plaster redone 2014)
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    Re: Need help deciding on Solar Heating...Which manufacture?

    Before I installed all my sensors and controllers, I used to operate mine manually. If one has a spouse home enough, I think you can do the same job that all the controllers do. Then if you want to install controllers, its an easy process.

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    Re: Need help deciding on Solar Heating...Which manufacture?

    Well just got word from the solar company and it looks like Helicoil for I have a couple roof stacks preventing me from using the flat panels of Fafco or Eco-Sun. So I'm going to go from a 1014 BTU to the Helicoil 956 BTU, but will gain a extra 2 panels.
    Hey mas985 or anyone else can you see any sizeable lost heating difference by having to going to the Helicoil. Hate to waste my money if my expectations can not be meet.
    Any opinions on the Helicoil brand?
    18k free form IG w/spa (4 jets), Paramount in floor cleaning system, Starite system 3 filter, Jandy 2hp ePump, Sta-Rite SR400LP Maxi-therm propane heater, Jandy aquapure/apurem 1400 SWCG, Jandy automation PS4 w/PDA, IntelliBrite 120v 5-G LED pool & spa lights, 2" piping and (3)4x12 (5)4x10 Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels.

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    Re: Need help deciding on Solar Heating...Which manufacture?

    I know the Helicol are very expensive and I believe their BTU output is equal to or less then extruded plastic. I wouldnt be spending the extra money if it was me.

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    Re: Need help deciding on Solar Heating...Which manufacture?

    Quote Originally Posted by pooladdict
    I know the Helicol are very expensive and I believe their BTU output is equal to or less then extruded plastic. I wouldnt be spending the extra money if it was me.
    Are you saying spending the extra money as don't do solar? He did say I could go with the Fafco Solotube (860 BTU) which is their economy and get 10 panels vs 5 extruded one. Is 10 panels of a less BTU going to make up for the difference of the higher BTU?
    18k free form IG w/spa (4 jets), Paramount in floor cleaning system, Starite system 3 filter, Jandy 2hp ePump, Sta-Rite SR400LP Maxi-therm propane heater, Jandy aquapure/apurem 1400 SWCG, Jandy automation PS4 w/PDA, IntelliBrite 120v 5-G LED pool & spa lights, 2" piping and (3)4x12 (5)4x10 Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels.

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    Re: Need help deciding on Solar Heating...Which manufacture?

    solar-panel-technology-comparisons-t9648.html

    This threat might help you out, I would not spend the extra money on Helicol, with all the different dimensions of extruded panels I am sure you can get whatever set up you require.

    Use extruded and you can have the money to spend on Controller.

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    Re: Need help deciding on Solar Heating...Which manufacture?

    I found a new controller/3-way valve/sensor kit on e-bay during winter for a good price - just have to watch and wait. Then I found the best deal I could on better-grade panels with mounting hardware and pvc fittings. (Happened to be Techno-Solis panels). Still not cheap, but I absolutely needed a heat source for my particular pool site. The controller's performance during partly sunny days made me a believer in the utility of a controller in the midwest. Also, I'm very pleased with the quality and performance of the Techno-Solis panels, but I haven't seen the comparable FAFCO panels up close to know if there is any reason to prefer one over the other. I suspect that it is a toss-up between the two.
    15X30 AGP, Lomart beaded liner;
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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Need help deciding on Solar Heating...Which manufacture?

    Quote Originally Posted by towney
    Well just got word from the solar company and it looks like Helicoil for I have a couple roof stacks preventing me from using the flat panels of Fafco or Eco-Sun. So I'm going to go from a 1014 BTU to the Helicoil 956 BTU, but will gain a extra 2 panels.
    Hey mas985 or anyone else can you see any sizeable lost heating difference by having to going to the Helicoil. Hate to waste my money if my expectations can not be meet.
    Any opinions on the Helicoil brand?
    Just compare the total BTUs (BTU/sq-ft * sq-ft of panel) to the total cost of each. The bottom line is Total BTUs/$.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater, ThePoolCleaner

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    Re: Need help deciding on Solar Heating...Which manufacture?

    One other thing to consider- Flat roof installation. I went with the Helicol because of the seperate tubes (allows standing H20 to evaporate) , and it required the least amount of roof penetrations. We havent had a roof leak and I am not planning on one now. I paid $500 more for the Helicol and will have 90% coverage. Helicol was cheaper in my area than the Fafco when looking at the seperate tube design.

    2 other neighbors with flat roofs have solar in my area. The one with the solid panel Fafco had major standing water damage in 2 years. The other has the Fafco seperate tube panel and has had zero issues. Same roofer with their roofs being redone about 6 months apart 2 years prior to solar install. They both have 80% coverage and get a near same temperature spike in our area and they were both very pleased with the results, minus the one with roof damage.

    Our neighbor who is a roofer (and the guy who did the roof jobs in question) says that the Helicol and Fafco seperate tubing design are the only products he would reccomend installing on flat roof installs (and no he doesnt do solar installs)

    The extra cash was worth it for my flat roof piece of mind. If I had a sloped roof Id go with the cheapest highest BTU panel I could get.
    18,900 Stonescapes Tahoe Blue xtra black, 8 jet Spa, Pentair inteliflo VS , Pentair FNS 60 DE, Inteliclor40, Pentair 400,000 Mastertemp heater, 3 spillovers powered by a Pentair 1 HP whisperflo pump, The pool Cleaner, 2 Intellibright color changing lights and 400 sq ft. of Heliocol roof mounted solar.

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    Re: Need help deciding on Solar Heating...Which manufacture?

    Well I thought I'd post a final update and question.
    Fafco rep. blew my socks of with a final quote for the Fafco Sunsavers.
    (3) 12 foot panels
    (4) 10 foot panels
    Two story install western side of roof, Hurricane strapping, Jandy auto. valve, (2) 2" check valves, self draining & temp. sensor (basically everything). $3,400.00
    Looks like the economy is hitting Fafco as well as the local dealer.

    My question to anyone with roof mounted pool solar is I heard that this would void your roof warranty since drilling will occur. This sounds far fetched to me but can anyone confirm what installation would effect a roof/shingle warranty. Thanks to all for your assistance here.
    18k free form IG w/spa (4 jets), Paramount in floor cleaning system, Starite system 3 filter, Jandy 2hp ePump, Sta-Rite SR400LP Maxi-therm propane heater, Jandy aquapure/apurem 1400 SWCG, Jandy automation PS4 w/PDA, IntelliBrite 120v 5-G LED pool & spa lights, 2" piping and (3)4x12 (5)4x10 Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels.

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    Re: Need help deciding on Solar Heating...Which manufacture?

    I have no idea of roof warranty, but I know if properly installed, but if they silicon sealing on the screws that go through shingles an roof there will be no issues. I am not sure of the load bearing weight, but there is no way solar panels can add much, even when loaded with water. Those tubes are very small, cant see them holding alot of water.

    Glad to see you went with Fafco, I knew they would be cheaper, and more effective.

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