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Thread: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

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    Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    Hi all, I've been agonizing for a couple months and figured I should finally stop lurking and start asking questions.

    I have a couple things going on at once:

    1. My 1.5 HP Pump just died and I need to replace it.
    2. I'd like to a solar heater
    3. We just a hot tub from a friend and would like to hook it up. It's near the pool, but the current electrical setup I have is old and decrepit. My electrician friend tells me there's "no way" I'd be able to have both my pool pump and hot tub running at the same time with my current setup.

    So first things first, the new pump. I've been looking at the intelliflow line. I'm having a hard time deciding between the different models:

    Pentair 011013 IntelliFlo VS 3050
    Pentair 011012 IntelliFlo VF
    Secret option #3????

    The VS is a lot cheaper than the VF. My local pool supply company can't give a straight answer on the differences. We have a fairly large pool (20' x 40', 12 ft at deep end) so I'll need a lot of turnover. I also wonder if maybe I should just invest in a 2 speed pump - one speed for when I'm vacumming/using the solar heater and the lower speed for "normal" turnover.

    Once I've got that figured out, I need to invest in the solar heater. I'm planning on installing it myself - the SunHeater 4'x20' grids seem like a pretty straightforward purchase. I also want this to be automated, so I'm looking at the SunTouch Solar package, which comes with the 3way value and a few sensors. It supposedly plays nicely with the intelliflow VS. Does this sound right?

    Lastly, and this is a biggy, I need to lay some 2" PVC from my pump to the roof. It's a pretty long run (~60') although my house is only single story. Since I need a new subpanel I figured I'd just dig an extra deep trench and throw the direct burial line a foot under the solar pipes. Something inside me thinks this might be a bad idea, but a friend of mine is convinced this would be "code".

    Any advice / suggestions? I'm having an electrician come out tonight to quote me on the subpanel wiring. I was hoping to order the other parts this week and start installation next weekend, but I want to make sure I'm getting the right things and not missing anything huge.
    15.5 k gallon. IG. plaster. Pool/spa pump: Jandy Zodiac FloPro FHPM 2.0-2 (0.25 and 2.0 HP 2-speed). Water feature pump: Jandy Zodiac Stealth Pro Series, SHPF 3.0 (3.0 HP). Filter: 250 SF cartridge. Surface area 290 SF. Jandy AquaPure SWG and PureLink. Aqualink controls. Jandy Legacy Pool and Spa Heater by Zodiac 400,000 BTU - natural gas. Heliocol solar panels. Built 3/2013.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    I struggled with the same decision for a long time until I looked seriously at the econmics. Variable speed pumps are a great solution if you need more than two speeds or you will be running on low speeds most of the time. Otherwise, the cost differential between a variable speed and two speed is hard to justify. The payback for the two speed is much sooner so the variable speed needs to save a lot more on electricity for a much longer time to pay off that cost difference but every situation is different. With solar you will probably need quite a bit of run time on higher speeds so it makes the variable speed even less compelling.

    Solar really doesn't need much of a pump to run. I'm now running my solar system (two story) and suction cleaner off of a frankenstiened 1/2 HP 2 speed pump so you can really go with as small a pump as possible for at least those two functions.

    Have you thought about a motor and impeller change? As long as the pump housing is in good shape and you are comfortable with swapping motors and impellers, it is one of the cheapest ways to make a current pump into a two speed pump.
    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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    polyvue's Avatar
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    Re: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    Quote Originally Posted by geekyguy
    Lastly, and this is a biggy, I need to lay some 2" PVC from my pump to the roof. It's a pretty long run (~60') although my house is only single story. Since I need a new subpanel I figured I'd just dig an extra deep trench and throw the direct burial line a foot under the solar pipes. Something inside me thinks this might be a bad idea, but a friend of mine is convinced this would be "code".

    Any advice / suggestions? I'm having an electrician come out tonight to quote me on the subpanel wiring. I was hoping to order the other parts this week and start installation next weekend, but I want to make sure I'm getting the right things and not missing anything huge.
    Welcome to the forum!

    It's been almost 3 years since they buried my 100 amp subpanel cabling and I'm still nervous about it. The 120' length shares a goodly portion of that run underneath a cluster of two-inch PVC pipes. I wasn't there when they backfilled to lay the pipe and can only hope that the electrician did an outstanding job of grounding.
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Re: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985
    Have you thought about a motor and impeller change? As long as the pump housing is in good shape and you are comfortable with swapping motors and impellers, it is one of the cheapest ways to make a current pump into a two speed pump.
    Thought about it? I don't even know what you just said. seems like something I may not really be qualified to do, although I'm "comfortable" with monkeying around as long as it's not something crazy. Have any good links on how to do this?

    As for a 2 speed pump, if I went that route what two speeds should I shoot for? Will it hook up with my solar controller so I can just turn on the higher speed when the solar is running or when I'm running my pool vacuum?
    15.5 k gallon. IG. plaster. Pool/spa pump: Jandy Zodiac FloPro FHPM 2.0-2 (0.25 and 2.0 HP 2-speed). Water feature pump: Jandy Zodiac Stealth Pro Series, SHPF 3.0 (3.0 HP). Filter: 250 SF cartridge. Surface area 290 SF. Jandy AquaPure SWG and PureLink. Aqualink controls. Jandy Legacy Pool and Spa Heater by Zodiac 400,000 BTU - natural gas. Heliocol solar panels. Built 3/2013.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    Quote Originally Posted by geekyguy
    Thought about it? I don't even know what you just said. seems like something I may not really be qualified to do, although I'm "comfortable" with monkeying around as long as it's not something crazy. Have any good links on how to do this?

    As for a 2 speed pump, if I went that route what two speeds should I shoot for? Will it hook up with my solar controller so I can just turn on the higher speed when the solar is running or when I'm running my pool vacuum?
    Swapping out the impeller and motor is really not that hard to do if you are handy. Once the pump is removed from the plumbing and electrial, there are usually four bolts holding the motor to the housing. When removed, the two can be separated. At the end of the motor shaft is the impeller which screws off counter clockwise but you need to hold the motor shaft with a wrench on the opposite of the motor where the electrical connections are. Normally, impellers come with a new seal kit which allows you to change the seals at the same time. What type/model of pump is it? Also, here is a good link for instructions and one with pictures.

    Two speed motors for pool pumps only come in 3450/1725 RPM. The real question is what size HP do you need. What size (gallons) is the pool? Also, do you have anything else which would require high flow rates such as a spa, water features, etc?

    Most controllers allow for solar two speed hook ups so that solar will be run on high and then go to low when solar is not needed. Check your manual to see if your's does.
    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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    Tim23's Avatar
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    Re: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    If this helps... I know in Louisiana the code for electrical is that it should not run under or across a water source. If I remember right it has to approx. 4' feet from an active water line or waste line, and must be buried min of 18". I would be concerned about running the electrical under a water line.

    You could run conduit on the ground as long as you can hide it. LOL Electrical conduit can be buried or run on the ground. Im sure you don't want to see it, but if you can hide it then you would be safer. When I was pricing out material/wire etc..it was cheaper to use conduit and outdoor wire then direct burial wire. Hope this helps

    Tim
    Delair 27', 52" round AGP. 19,300gal
    Waterway 22"/1.5hp pump, 2 speed/sand filter, BBB
    My BBB motto.."LESS IS MORE WITHOUT ALL THE CHORES, SO FOLLOW TFP AND IN THE END, THE POOL OWNER SCORES"!

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    I'll just jump in here and agree with Tim. I'd seriously look at running the electrical in conduit. A lot of times it is cheaper to run conduit and wire than direct burial cable.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Re: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    Do you all know a good place to buy wire? Prices seems to vary a LOT. I'm also a little worried about the run - it's going to be around 150', which seems long for #6-3. I'll have an electrician actually hook up the terminals, but in my experience if you don't know exactly what you want before the contractor comes you'll get the cheapest thing they can slip past you.
    15.5 k gallon. IG. plaster. Pool/spa pump: Jandy Zodiac FloPro FHPM 2.0-2 (0.25 and 2.0 HP 2-speed). Water feature pump: Jandy Zodiac Stealth Pro Series, SHPF 3.0 (3.0 HP). Filter: 250 SF cartridge. Surface area 290 SF. Jandy AquaPure SWG and PureLink. Aqualink controls. Jandy Legacy Pool and Spa Heater by Zodiac 400,000 BTU - natural gas. Heliocol solar panels. Built 3/2013.

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    Re: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    #6 AWG wire will carry 60 amps. Over 150 feet, its really only about a 5% voltage drop. People get overly concerned with voltage drop over such a short distance as 150' or so. At 240 volts over 150 feet its only an 8.8 volt drop.
    Its pretty negligible depending on how many watts the load will pull.

    With 6-3 wire, I assume the load is 240 volts? 60 amp breaker at the subpanel?
    60 amps at 240 volts is 14,400 watts. How many watts will whatever your hooking up pull? I'd say 6 AWG is fine. Use THHN 90C stranded wire and pull in a conduit. 1 green (ground), 1 red (hot), 1 black (hot), 1 white (neutral). This assumes you need 6-3. Do you really need a neutral or is 2 hots and a ground (6-2) sufficient?

    HD or lowes will carry it. dont use NM wire (Romex). You cant run NM in conduit.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    I was going to put in a 100 amp for some "Extra room".

    Pool Pump = 2000,
    Hot Tub = 2300
    Low Voltage Transformer = 900
    Pool light - 300

    4 120 V outlets = 800 (?)
    ---
    Total = 6000

    I guess 100 amps is overkill, eh?
    15.5 k gallon. IG. plaster. Pool/spa pump: Jandy Zodiac FloPro FHPM 2.0-2 (0.25 and 2.0 HP 2-speed). Water feature pump: Jandy Zodiac Stealth Pro Series, SHPF 3.0 (3.0 HP). Filter: 250 SF cartridge. Surface area 290 SF. Jandy AquaPure SWG and PureLink. Aqualink controls. Jandy Legacy Pool and Spa Heater by Zodiac 400,000 BTU - natural gas. Heliocol solar panels. Built 3/2013.

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    Re: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    Ok, im a bit confused. In your fisrt post you said you needed to run 2" PVC from your pad to your roof? I think im not understanding what you are trying to do.


    Edit:
    Ok, i think i get it. The 2" PVC is a water line from the pad to the solar panels. Has nothing to do with the electrical question. You were just saying since you have to dig anyway, then put the wire in the trench. Is that correct?

    If thats correct, then i have a few questions.

    Where is your main panel located? Are you putting the subpanel out by the equipment pad outdoors? All those things you mentioned should be on separate breakers on their own circuits. All this could be fed off one subpanel, but if the panel is not loctaed at the pad, then each circuit will need to have a separate run back to the subpanel.

    a 60 amp panel to feed all of that is plenty. If you ever wanted a heat pump, though, you would need a 100 amp sub. If you think you will never want one, go with the 60 amp.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    You got it - I have 2 separate issues:

    1) My main panel is about 150' away from my pool equipment, and will require me to go through my attic.

    2) I want to put solar up on my roof, which happens to be going in the same direction as I would take for my electrical. I figured I might as well just do both at the same time.

    My plan was to put the subpanel outside on my cinder-block wall about 8 ft from the hot tub / pool, and then have my Pump, Light, HutTub, etc... all run off that (each with their own circuits).
    15.5 k gallon. IG. plaster. Pool/spa pump: Jandy Zodiac FloPro FHPM 2.0-2 (0.25 and 2.0 HP 2-speed). Water feature pump: Jandy Zodiac Stealth Pro Series, SHPF 3.0 (3.0 HP). Filter: 250 SF cartridge. Surface area 290 SF. Jandy AquaPure SWG and PureLink. Aqualink controls. Jandy Legacy Pool and Spa Heater by Zodiac 400,000 BTU - natural gas. Heliocol solar panels. Built 3/2013.

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    Re: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    Ok, now we'er on the same page!

    Yes 60 amps will work just fine. Be sure and find out from the electrician if 8 feet is enough distance from the water. NEC 680 specifies 10 feet minimum from the water for an outlet, so a subpanel will probably fall under the 10 foot rule. I cant tell you for sure because your jurisdiction might be different. Mine is 12 feet and posed no inspection issue. If you not getting it inspected..well.... then..... 8 feet is plenty far.
    You will have to run your pump wires, hot tub pump wires, etc, into the subpanel with conduit. You can use flex for that. The panel will have plenty of knock outs to use.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    Thanks bk406!

    Now on to the pump / solar heater. I'm calling up a FAFCO dealer today and leaning towards the intelliflo VF with a suntouch controller. At this point I jsut want to make sure I'm not making a bad move - doesn't need to be "optimal", per se.
    15.5 k gallon. IG. plaster. Pool/spa pump: Jandy Zodiac FloPro FHPM 2.0-2 (0.25 and 2.0 HP 2-speed). Water feature pump: Jandy Zodiac Stealth Pro Series, SHPF 3.0 (3.0 HP). Filter: 250 SF cartridge. Surface area 290 SF. Jandy AquaPure SWG and PureLink. Aqualink controls. Jandy Legacy Pool and Spa Heater by Zodiac 400,000 BTU - natural gas. Heliocol solar panels. Built 3/2013.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    Just keep in mind that many areas have electrical codes that are no where near as liberal as bk406 suggestions, and those codes are written that way for a reason. Yes, #6 wire will work most of the time, but it isn't up to code in most areas. In my area you would have to use at least #4 wire and any buried electrical conduit must be in a separate trench from any buried water pipes.
    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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    Re: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    Agree on the separate trench. But if he's not getting it inspected......

    Why isnt #6 wire up to code? #6 is fine for 60 amps, even at 150 feet.
    Not to be a pain, but your statement that its not code in most areas is a little strong, IMO.

    Edit:
    Ok, i called my buddy to get a second. He says #6 is ok at that distance, #4 will work too, obviously. Depends on the inspector. #6 is not forbidden on 60 amp by the NEC. If the inspector flunks it, use a 50 amp breaker and your good. See, the code can be interpreted several different ways and depends on the inspector. IMO, run #6 and rest easy.

    Ps, back in the day, we ran #6 alll the time on 60 amps and had no issue.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    This is our first house so we're a little new to the pulling a permit vs not pulling a permit. Since I don't do a lot of electrical work (the most I've done is move a few outlets and installed dimmers/fans/etc... ), for a few extra $$$ it might be worth it to have someone official bless it as "safe".

    That's not even figuring in the legality needing a permit (I checked and I definitely am _supposed_ to pull a permit for this kind of work).

    BTW, the way our setup is it would be hard to dig two trenches - I'd essentially have to dig up a long planter we just built or go a completely different direction. I'm hoping it's ok if everything is in PVC and there's 6 inches (vertically) between the electrical and solar PVC, but maybe that's just not in the cards.
    15.5 k gallon. IG. plaster. Pool/spa pump: Jandy Zodiac FloPro FHPM 2.0-2 (0.25 and 2.0 HP 2-speed). Water feature pump: Jandy Zodiac Stealth Pro Series, SHPF 3.0 (3.0 HP). Filter: 250 SF cartridge. Surface area 290 SF. Jandy AquaPure SWG and PureLink. Aqualink controls. Jandy Legacy Pool and Spa Heater by Zodiac 400,000 BTU - natural gas. Heliocol solar panels. Built 3/2013.

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    Re: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    If your in doubt, have an electrrician install the subpanel and get it wired up. Once the subpanle is in, then the rest is a piece of cake. Since you can shut the subpanel off, you would not be working in a hot panel.

    And for the record:
    Article 240.4.B rule states that when a wire ampacity lands between two breaker amp sizes listed in Article 240.6 and there is no listed breaker in that Article equal in size to your ampacity of the conductor in concern and if that ampacity is less than 800 amps then you may increase the ampacity of that conductor to the next breaker size listed in Article 240.6 (i.e 60 amps on #6 wire is fine).
    (Unless of course the local code exceeds the current NEC).
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  19. Back To Top    #19
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    The voltage drop with #6 copper wire, 240 volts, 1-phase, 60 amps, over a 150 foot run is a little over 3%. NEC recommends a voltage drop of below 3% for a run to a sub-panel. You could argue that the entire run to the load will still be below 5%, which seems plausible, but not all inspectors will accept that. If it isn't going to a sub-panel, but instead directly to the load, it would be fine.
    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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    Re: Need some Advice on Solar Heater / New Pump

    Well there now you have it.
    it's actualy 3.7%,

    OP, do what you want WRT to gauge of wire. I told would what I'd do. Everybody has an opinion Let your electrician tell you what you need.
    500 ft of #6 is around $300. 500 ft of #4 is around $600. You will need close to 600 feet total. For a 0.7% difference, i know what i'd do
    Ask your electrician if #6 would pass. I bet you it will.

    Jason, which article are you refering to? I can't find it. I'm sure its there, I'm just not seeing it.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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