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Thread: Home made solar heaters

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    meatloaf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Gilbert AZ

    Home made solar heaters

    Has anybody had any luck making your own solar heater? If so, how did you do it?
    My pool is a 10,500 gallon (420 Sq Ft ) kidney shape. STA-RITE HRPB30, Sand filter 30" 98 GPM, 1 HP Maxi-Glas 2 pump, BBB Method, Taylor K-2005 test kit, 50 Watt 12V low-voltage pond light illuminates the pool at night for a nice soft glow.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    SW Indiana
    I looked into it, but found that it really isn't cost effective or very practical. This is particularly true if you consider the time you would have to invest to assemble a useful collector.
    They key to solar heat is a very large collector surface area in contact with the water, combined with a fairly high flow of water over this collector area. This requires many small tubes.
    Most of the homebrew concepts involve a length of approximately 1" diameter black tubing. While this does a good job of raising the temperature of the small amount of water in the tubing, it does very little to add heat to the pool. Partly because of the smaller volume of water, and partly because of loss and efficiency issues due to the water being much warmer while in the collector.
    As the water becomes warmer, it loses much more heat to the air, and most importantly, it becomes much more difficult for heat to transfer from the collector to the water.
    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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    In the Industry

    duraleigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Sebring, Florida
    Being an avowed DIYer and cheapskate, I've had visions of a homemade solar array dancing in my head for over a year and hope to tackle it this fall. I was gonna' wait on the discussion 'til then but since Meatloaf brought it up....let's talk.

    My situation is a 43k pool that, to be effective, would surely require more panels than I can afford. I have a garage roof (my pump and filter are in the garage) that the back half will be 16 x 43 and I could dedicate that entire side to a home-built system.

    I envision a 2" return going up to the bottom of the array which will be made from 2" PVC manifolds running horizontally that reduce to 1/2". The manifolds would allow 1/2" black poly pipe attached every 1.5 " to then run vertically to the top of the roof where they are joined back together with 2" manifolds again. That 2" pipe then returns to the pool.

    Essentially, it would look like a picket fence laying flat on the roof with the 2" pipes being the top and bottom rail and the 1/2 pipe being the pickets. Aside from the STUNNING amount of connections that it would require, I think this idea has merit. I haven't done any real calculations yet but, up front, it looks like $500 bucks in materials and a LOT of labor.

    It is possible Ed McMahon will stop by with that check today and I can forego all this nonsense but, while I'm waiting for him, I thought I'd have a back-up plan.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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