Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: Installing solar heater panels

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Installing solar heater panels

    So I just purchased 2 2'x20' SunGrabber panels for my 24' AG pool. I would like to build a rack and put them next to the pool. Distance between pool/filter and the location of the heater is around 20', and I am running a 2-speed Hayward Turbo-Flo II pump.
    • I found some basic rack designs, but if there is a popular/favorite design out there, would love to see it.[/*:m:14y719ev]
    • Is there anything I should keep in mind when building this rack?[/*:m:14y719ev]
    • Looking for a good source for the PVC flex hose (1.5"). Local store wants $2/foot, most online places have it much cheaper, but would love to buy from a store which has a good reputation.[/*:m:14y719ev]
    • I was going to use Tiger Flex 1.5", since that's what my installer used to hook up the pump, but are there any other options which are just as good?[/*:m:14y719ev]
    • Can I get away with running the pump at low speed, since the system is so close to the pool, and doesn't have to pump to the roof?[/*:m:14y719ev]


    I did search the forums for a while, but didn't find what I was looking for, hopefully you won't mind answering these basic questions

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    SouthWest Alabama
    Posts
    21,774

    Re: Installing solar heater panels

    There is a good recent thread on a rack the a poster built. I can't find it right now but looked pretty good.
    Just keep in mind what the panels and plumbing will weigh full of water. Also keep in mind that the panels should drain when shut off.
    Can't help you there. I'm a rigid pipe man.
    Of course, rigid, but I'm kinda biased.
    Running on low will most probably work since you won't need a lot of head to prime the panels.
    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
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

  3. Back To Top    #3
    dmanb2b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    3,728

    Re: Installing solar heater panels

    Looper...welcome to TFP...not sure where you are located...I am in the NE and have the same size pool. Last year we ran a 4x20 panel and it did help, but I decided to add one more this year as the one did help raise the temps somewhat, but really could not keep up trying to extend our season. If your looking to get +5deg in the summer with what you have, I would advise using a solar cover as well at night to retain heat, but to extend the season in a cooler climate, you may want to add another 1 o 2 2x20's

    4x20 solar bear panel is borderline for a 24ft pool, but if you are in a warmer climate it may be just fine.
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

    Pool School, TFTestKits, Pool Calculator

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Re: Installing solar heater panels

    Thanks for the welcome!

    I do like the idea of using pipe instead, but not sure if it would look as nice. I haven't seen a ground mounted install yet, using rigid pipe. When you say shut off, do you mean done for the season? I am also installing a diverter valve, and wasn't planning on draining them until I winterize everything.

    dmanb2b: I'm in Central NY, so the weather is about the same here. I do like the idea of an additional panel, but wanted to test the waters first Will have to keep that in mind when locating/building the rack tho. Did you install yours on your roof? As for the solar cover, I am already using one, so I think I am set there, but definitely a must have in this climate!

  5. Back To Top    #5
    NWMNMom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Waaay NW MN
    Posts
    1,582

    Re: Installing solar heater panels

    We have a 18'x33' and use 2 of the 4x20 panels - last summer even that was not enough with cool evenings and we do use a solar cover anytime the pool is not in use so heat loss is minimized. I agree, unless you have consistantly warm weather all summer long, including evenings, you may have a hard time keeping the pool warm enough for most people's comfort with 2 of the 2x20s. Who knows, maybe the summer will be nicer than it was the last two years, but it's always harder to deal with not enough warmth than having the pool too warm - you can always cool it off easy enough by running them at night or removing the solar cover, having a fountain or other aeration in the pool, etc.

    Your rack system design is only limited by your imagination - it pretty much only requires that you have adequate support, allow for drainage and face the sun. Ours is PVC and wood with a chicken wire underlay, a 2x4 "lip" on the bottom to prevent slipping off and straps to secure and support during wind events. Due to the fact that we built the pool in a "cul de sac" surrounded by trees and a lot of shade, our space constraints limited sun exposure so our rack system had to be built immediately adjacent (3') from the side of the pool with the bottom of the rack/panels at just above the top rail on the north side. We have about a 40 degree angle on the system. It is all hard plumbed parallel so both panels receive the water at the same time and discharge into the return pipe at the same time - when the pump is off they completely drain.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    18x33x52 Buttressfree Seaspray (Wilbar) AGP - 1.5hp Pentair Maxim w/22" Pentair Meteor Sand Filter, Aqua Rite SWG System, Biltmore Walk In Steps - 2/4x20 Solar Panel Setup - Doheny Jet Drive (RIP -Pool Rover Jr) - finally hard plumbed the whole darned thing -
    Beats Driving to the Lake!

  6. Back To Top    #6
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    SouthWest Alabama
    Posts
    21,774

    Re: Installing solar heater panels

    As I understand it, you don't want to leave water in the panels when they're not being used to heat the pool so they'll need to drain back into the pool whenever they're shut off. read the manual for your panels it should tell you of you're required to drain them or can leave them full.
    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
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

  7. Back To Top    #7
    dmanb2b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    3,728

    Re: Installing solar heater panels

    Quote Originally Posted by looper
    Thanks for the welcome!

    dmanb2b: I'm in Central NY, so the weather is about the same here. I do like the idea of an additional panel, but wanted to test the waters first Will have to keep that in mind when locating/building the rack tho. Did you install yours on your roof? As for the solar cover, I am already using one, so I think I am set there, but definitely a must have in this climate!
    Welcome neighbor...I'm in Dutchess County, NY. Here is a link to some old pics from last year...I'm in the process of replumbing, but I did use tiger flex with no issues whatsoever. I chose to go the cheap route and just lay some house wrap (upside down or dark side up...very similar to landscaping fabric) on the ground next to the pool behind the deck and plumbed it in along with an intex SWG. I hope to have ours done in the next two weeks, but perhaps this will give you some ideas....good luck.

    http://s702.photobucket.com/albums/w...t=IMG_1347.jpg

    feel free to browse the album...hopefully we can afford to get some landscaping done this year
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

    Pool School, TFTestKits, Pool Calculator

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Re: Installing solar heater panels

    I just finished installing my panels, and I am a little confused about the waterflow. My system is laid out almost identically to dmanb2b's setup, but I am hearing a lot of 'noise'. I can't run my panels just yet because I am waiting for a repair kit, but I am trying to understand the water flow. What stops the water from going into the wrong direction? Am I supposed to install check valves?

  9. Back To Top    #9
    mas985's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pleasanton, CA
    Posts
    9,914

    Re: Installing solar heater panels

    Do you mean after the pump is shut off? Yes, there should be a check valve after the filter and before the panel control valve. This will ensure that the panels do not drain backwards via the filter.
    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

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: Installing solar heater panels

    Actually, didn't even think of that (what's the issue with draining backwards?), was more wondering about when the pump is running.

  11. Back To Top    #11
    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    3,897

    Re: Installing solar heater panels

    If it drains backwards through the filter, it could push gunk from your filter back into the pool, like a low-power backwash.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
    TF Test Kits -- PoolMath -- Pool School
    Make each day your masterpiece. - John Wooden

  12. Back To Top    #12
    mas985's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pleasanton, CA
    Posts
    9,914

    Re: Installing solar heater panels

    Also, that is the only time it would go backwards. With the pump on, the diverter valve should make sure that the water goes into the inlet. Also, the inlet should be plumbed closest to the pump and the outlet furthest from the pump so there is a natural pressure differential which will ensure that water goes into the inlet and out the outlet but the diverter will force more of the water, up to 100%, into the inlet.
    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

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Re: Installing solar heater panels

    The diverter is only partially opened (since my pump is a 1.5HP, and panels are on flat ground, within 20ft or so), I'll try to take pictures tonight to explain, but I have the same 3 valve layout shown in my previous link.

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: Installing solar heater panels

    Here are some pictures of my setup. Ignore the mess in the backyard, it's 'under construction'
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/231214/IMG_2330.JPG
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/231214/IMG_2332.JPG

  15. Back To Top    #15
    mas985's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pleasanton, CA
    Posts
    9,914

    Re: Installing solar heater panels

    If you are planning to leave the panels on the ground then they will not drain through the filter. In fact, they won't drain at all. But if you plan on elevating them above the pool water height and you want them to be self draining, then you will need a check valve between the filter and the panels and you will want a vacuum release valve near the top of the panels.
    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

  16. Back To Top    #16

    Re: Installing solar heater panels

    I'm planning on leaving them on the ground for the rest of the season (need to make sure this system works before investing into a rack etc). So there is no concern about water not flowing correctly when the bypass valve is open around 50%?

  17. Back To Top    #17
    mas985's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pleasanton, CA
    Posts
    9,914

    Re: Installing solar heater panels

    Flow will always go into the line that is closest to the pump and come out of the pipe furthest from the pump no matter what the setting in the bypass valve. The setting on the bypass valve will only change the flow rate through the panels so even if the valve was 100% open, a very small amount of water will flow through the panels.
    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

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    West Hollywood, CA
    Posts
    32

    Re: Installing solar heater panels

    Am trying to follow the thread here. So if I install my panels at the same level as the return line/pool line then I wouldn't have to worry about the water in the panels backflowing into the filter? If not, then do those check valves come with the solar panels or is it another extra you have to purchase? (I'm so confused) The Fafco and other brands make the set up seem sooooo simple but it really seems to be a lot of work to get it all to work correctly!
    [center:3jp7r7gm]15'x25'x4' Oval Muskin AGP, blue vinyl liner, sunk 2 feet in ground with redwood decking. Approx 10k gallons. Hayward Perflex filter D.E. and Hayward 1.5 hp pump. One return line. Wedding cake stairs. (whew, hopefully that describes the pool!)[/center:3jp7r7gm]

  19. Back To Top    #19
    mas985's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pleasanton, CA
    Posts
    9,914

    Re: Installing solar heater panels

    The only time you need a check valve to prevent back draining is when the panels are installed above the water line AND a vacuum release valve is used to automatically drain the panels when the pump shuts off. Without a vacuum release valve, water remains in the panels after the pump is shut off.

    Usually the solar kits will not come with either the check valve or the vacuum release valve so those will be purchased separately.
    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

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: Installing solar heater panels

    Here is a link to my thread of the rack i built for my solar panel.

    solar-panel-install-t20477.html
    K HOLMES

    23 X 45 GUNNITE
    OWNER/BUILDER

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •