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Thread: New with many Questions! Solar Panels, Coping, Etc...

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    New with many Questions! Solar Panels, Coping, Etc...

    I'm new to the forum and glad I found it! I know I'll have questions as we go through the building process. Why wait? Here we go. We are building our first pool and are considering solar panels to heat the pool. Has anyone out there installed your own solar panels? If you have, how did it go? We live in the panhandle of FL and can usually swim mid to late April - mid October without heat. It would be nice to add the shoulder season. Currently we have a gas heater in the plans.

    The pool is 16 x 32, 3.5 - 5.5 deep with a 9 x 12 step and tanning shelf area that L's off the pool. There is also a 10' x 4' spa raised 18" that will have a 6' spill-over into the pool. The pool has been dug out and the shockcrete is in. The wood framing that was used has been torn out and some plumbing has been done by the pool builder's crew. I'd like more jets in the spa. We will see what the PB says about that. The pool has a 1.5 HP and the Spa has a 2 HP.

    Not much progress lately. We've been waiting on the porcelain tile and glass tile to be delivered. That's next. It will probably still be a couple of weeks away since the tile places like to close during the holidays. The porcelain tile will be in the pool's waterline and around the spa except in the area of the waterfall and the waterline of the spa. I'm looking as a 1.5" thick, 12" x 24" natural shellstone coping that has a bullnose edge. Does anyone else have experience with shellstone coping or another similar natural stone coping? The other option is concrete cantilever coping. Which would be better? So many decisions....

    I'll try to learn how to post photos. It's just a lot of piles of dirt with the roughed in pool now.

    Mosquitos are a big problem down here and we even have a pond behind our house adding to the bug problem, but we still are not having a screened in pool. Has anyone had any experience with the Mosquitos-No-More misting systems or similar ones or other ways to keep the bugs away?

    I honestly don't think we believed we were actually going to go through with building a pool until they showed up and started digging. Then it became real. Obviously we had not prepared for it the way many of you had. I'm playing catch-up and trying to learn as much as I can before it is too late.

    If you have any questions that I need to know the answers of, words of advice or warnings please send them! I don't want to make any avoidable mistakes.

    Thanks!
    1st Pool! FL Panhandle. In-Ground Shockcrete Pool, 16 x 32 with 9 x 12 "L" for tanning shelf and steps plus a 10 x 4 spa raised 18" with 6' spillover into pool.

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    Brentr's Avatar
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    Re: New with many Questions! Solar Panels, Coping, Etc...

    Welcome to TFP where you will get lots of great advice in taking care of your pool and also other advice related to pools I am not sure about some of your other questions however we opted to have our pool screened in. Even though you are not considering this option I would advise having the concrete footer poured just in case you decide to go this option. It should be much cheaper to do so while the pool is being installed Look at our pool build in the signature bar
    5,775 gal, IG free form, Beach Series Antigua by Marbletite Pebble finish, 2 swim out benches, Sheer Descent, IG Fountain, Dolphin / Mermaid Statues, StaRite Dura- Glas 1.5hp pump, Hayward Pro Series Sand Filter replaced with Hayward Pro-grid DE4820, Aqua Rite SWG with T-Cell 15, Polaris 360, Pentair 300w Light upgraded to Pentair IntelliBrite (OMG what a huge difference) , Heat Siphon Heat Pump DX 5.0 109,000 btu, Pool Cage, 1800sq ft Tremron Estate Pavers, solar cover, TF-100 test kit, Pentair Deck Jet, Apollo Magnetic Stirrer (Makes testing a breeze), Aquatherm Ecosun Solar Panels 192 sq ft with GL-235 Controller,Margarita Concoction Machine,
    Pics of our Spool ( Social Pool) being built Solar install Outdoor kitchen upgrade

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: New with many Questions! Solar Panels, Coping, Etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by kelleyann
    I'm new to the forum and glad I found it! I know I'll have questions as we go through the building process. Why wait? Here we go. We are building our first pool and are considering solar panels to heat the pool. Has anyone out there installed your own solar panels? If you have, how did it go? We live in the panhandle of FL and can usually swim mid to late April - mid October without heat. It would be nice to add the shoulder season. Currently we have a gas heater in the plans.

    I put up my solar system myself right before the 2008 swimming season. Nothing complicated about it. Gluing and sawing PVC and working on the roof are the only real skills required. I'm very happy with it. If you are building now, I'd figure out where you will put the panels so you can go ahead and stub the plumbing now to save digging later.

    Some folks have found that the solar will keep the pool warm enough to swim several weeks later than normal, but usually the thing that ends our swimming season isn't cool water temperatures, it's cool air temperatures. Nobody wants to swim when it's cool, even if the water is warm.

    In spite of what you'll see on the manufacturers web sites, you can get by with smaller systems. I'm in Indiana and have 192sf of panel for my 20X36 pool. Considerably less than the "recommended" panel size of over 500sf of panel. I've had the water at 96F (by mistake) in September a couple of times when the actual air temps were in the upper 70s or low 80s.

    During the normal season I run the solar to avoid having to use the solar blanket. During cooler weather, the solar blanket is a must to avoid losing all the heat gained.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: New with many Questions! Solar Panels, Coping, Etc...

    Thanks to you both for replying to my post. I have a lot to learn and hope all of you keep the advice coming! The plumber just left. Plumbing gas to the heater isn't going to be cheap either, but the local people we asked said the electric heaters just didn't get the spas hot enough if the temp was 50 degrees or below. We weren't sure how well solar heaters would work and thought they were expensive to have installed. That's why I started considering a DIY solar panel project, if only for the pool.

    Thanks!
    1st Pool! FL Panhandle. In-Ground Shockcrete Pool, 16 x 32 with 9 x 12 "L" for tanning shelf and steps plus a 10 x 4 spa raised 18" with 6' spillover into pool.

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    Re: New with many Questions! Solar Panels, Coping, Etc...

    Here are some photos. 3 was the max the site would let me upload. We are not very far along.
    We may need a retaining wall on the pond bank side. We only plan to take concrete 2.5' behind the spa.
    Thanks for your interest and help!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    1st Pool! FL Panhandle. In-Ground Shockcrete Pool, 16 x 32 with 9 x 12 "L" for tanning shelf and steps plus a 10 x 4 spa raised 18" with 6' spillover into pool.

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    Re: New with many Questions! Solar Panels, Coping, Etc...

    Here are more photos.

    One is of an example of someone else's retaining wall they put in when they lived near a pond. I think we may need to so something similar.

    Thanks for coming to my post!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    1st Pool! FL Panhandle. In-Ground Shockcrete Pool, 16 x 32 with 9 x 12 "L" for tanning shelf and steps plus a 10 x 4 spa raised 18" with 6' spillover into pool.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: New with many Questions! Solar Panels, Coping, Etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by kelleyann
    Thanks to you both for replying to my post. I have a lot to learn and hope all of you keep the advice coming! The plumber just left. Plumbing gas to the heater isn't going to be cheap either, but the local people we asked said the electric heaters just didn't get the spas hot enough if the temp was 50 degrees or below. We weren't sure how well solar heaters would work and thought they were expensive to have installed. That's why I started considering a DIY solar panel project, if only for the pool.

    Thanks!
    My system cost around $1200 plus the PVC and cement. It took me about two days to install it, but I was doing it on a roof that was just barely big enough for the panels, so I had almost no working room.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: New with many Questions! Solar Panels, Coping, Etc...

    Regarding a DIY solar: a local pool store chain (Pinch a Penney) sells the SunStar panels for the DIY crowd. They are made by the same parent company as Helicol and look idenitical, join together the same way, etc...

    I was quoted slightly less than $3K for 400 sq feet of panels with end caps, panel joining o-rings and clamps, valves, etc., basically everything except PVC pipe and the controller. I have no idea if a better price is out there or not.

    I was told that the Helicol and SunStar panels have wind resistance up to 150mph without the use of add-on straps (and more holes in your roof) like FAFCO et al. I offer that since for your location (and mine) that is a concern.

    disclaimer: I don't work for any of the companies mentioned, nor do I vouch for their claims (especially since I'm still a week away from a pool contract), this is just my research data so take the info with a grain of salt.
    Geometric 16X36', 16K gal, shotcrete, exposed aggregate plaster, acrylic coated concrete deck/cantilever coping;
    Pentair equipment suite (EasyTouch w/wireless, 2 Intellibrites, Intelliflo VS-3050, C&C 200 Filter, IC-40 SWG);
    Heliocol solar panels, Rocky's Roller, Blue Diamond robot

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    Re: New with many Questions! Solar Panels, Coping, Etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    Quote Originally Posted by kelleyann
    Thanks to you both for replying to my post. I have a lot to learn and hope all of you keep the advice coming! The plumber just left. Plumbing gas to the heater isn't going to be cheap either, but the local people we asked said the electric heaters just didn't get the spas hot enough if the temp was 50 degrees or below. We weren't sure how well solar heaters would work and thought they were expensive to have installed. That's why I started considering a DIY solar panel project, if only for the pool.

    Thanks!
    My system cost around $1200 plus the PVC and cement. It took me about two days to install it, but I was doing it on a roof that was just barely big enough for the panels, so I had almost no working room.
    John,

    Do you have a picture of your panels?

    Kevin
    11000 Gals, Intelliflo, Sta-Rite Cartridge, Polaris 360

    Pool I built in my old house: my-new-pool-build-t4534.html

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: New with many Questions! Solar Panels, Coping, Etc...



    The building is 12'x24', and the panels are 4'x8' each. Couldn't have squeezed them onto a much smaller roof.

    John
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: New with many Questions! Solar Panels, Coping, Etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT


    The building is 12'x24', and the panels are 4'x8' each. Couldn't have squeezed them onto a much smaller roof.

    John
    What brand are those panels, John? Looks good!
    20K gal IG vinyl 18'x36' rectangle, 2' radius corners
    Hayward Goldline Aqua Rite 40K SWG, Pentair Intelliflow VS 3050,
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    Sunstar solar panels (438 sq ft ), Pentair Sun Touch Controller automating solar panels, SWG, and Polaris
    TF-100 test kit

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: New with many Questions! Solar Panels, Coping, Etc...

    Aquasol/Solar Depot
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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