Anyone used a Smartpool S601P Solar SunHeater, questions.. Anyone used it on Intex?

theskyisthelimit99

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2016
386
Pittsburgh, pa
In my sig is my current intex build and setup (2100 gph sand pump that came with the 18x52 6900 gallon pool)..
I'd like to get our pool into the mid 70s for mid april NE weather, rather than the current 53, so on warmer 70+ days it can be used.. same deal for october.. so i looked into options.. i saw the regular "Hose" game solar device and I dont think it had enough oomph to do this job.. then i spotted this smart pool S6101P

So.. for those that have used it.. i had a few questions.
Seems unclear from the amazon link whether i have to spend a ton more to make it work (beyond pvc piping and fasteners for the roof).

My situation (can see some pics in my build link in my sig).. is that i have a garage directly behind my deck, maybe 25 feet from the pool give or take.. i have a salt water system..

Its my understanding that this solar system would tap in, in between the sand pump and salt water system off a T with a regulator going to the solar panels?

If so, i guess i would make it go 25 feet to the garage, then up the 8 feet or so and across to the side of my garage where i would lay the panels on the pitched roof, which gets plenty of sunlight.. then back to the pool.. i think from what i'm seeing it goes into the pools return (another T).. but i also have an unused outlet i could turn into a hot water return (i think no issue with that?).

Wondering how you keep the water from getting too hot.. do you just put a valve on the line that goes to the roof?
Has anyone used this system and can comment on if it performs as well as many say (IE: mid 50s in april, week later might be 76 in the water)..
Will my 2100gph pump manage to push the water 30 feet up and around and back.
Or i might need to spend $250 on a 4500 gph pump i was considering anyway, if too weak?

Or perhaps theres a simpler solution to all this?

Thanks in advance for any tips on this one everyone
 

domct203

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 3, 2015
3,959
CT
In my sig is my current intex build and setup (2100 gph sand pump that came with the 18x52 6900 gallon pool)..
I'd like to get our pool into the mid 70s for mid april NE weather, rather than the current 53, so on warmer 70+ days it can be used.. same deal for october.. so i looked into options.. i saw the regular "Hose" game solar device and I dont think it had enough oomph to do this job.. then i spotted this smart pool S6101P

So.. for those that have used it.. i had a few questions.
Seems unclear from the amazon link whether i have to spend a ton more to make it work (beyond pvc piping and fasteners for the roof).

My situation (can see some pics in my build link in my sig).. is that i have a garage directly behind my deck, maybe 25 feet from the pool give or take.. i have a salt water system..

Its my understanding that this solar system would tap in, in between the sand pump and salt water system off a T with a regulator going to the solar panels?

If so, i guess i would make it go 25 feet to the garage, then up the 8 feet or so and across to the side of my garage where i would lay the panels on the pitched roof, which gets plenty of sunlight.. then back to the pool.. i think from what i'm seeing it goes into the pools return (another T).. but i also have an unused outlet i could turn into a hot water return (i think no issue with that?).

Wondering how you keep the water from getting too hot.. do you just put a valve on the line that goes to the roof?
Has anyone used this system and can comment on if it performs as well as many say (IE: mid 50s in april, week later might be 76 in the water)..
Will my 2100gph pump manage to push the water 30 feet up and around and back.
Or i might need to spend $250 on a 4500 gph pump i was considering anyway, if too weak?

Or perhaps theres a simpler solution to all this?

Thanks in advance for any tips on this one everyone
While I have no direct experience with the Smart Pool kit, I do have 72 sq ft of Fafco Sungrabber solar panels hooked up to the pool. I started with that size because about a third of the pool is always in the shade.

Last year I opened when my pool temp hit 60F (April 23rd). I didn't hit 70F until May 20th. I ran the Solar every day, and covered at night. My pool is in the shade at about 5:00-5:30pm, so I have that against me as well.

Solar panel performance is all about surface area of the solar array, the bigger the better. Our pools are about 250 square feet in surface area, so that 80 sq ft is only about 1/3 of the pool. You are not going to get the temperature gains you are looking for with that small of a system. I am seriously considering doubling my array this year.

Also, overnight heat loss is a big issue, I use a solar blanket on the pool every night, or when I know it will be windy/cloudy. When you plumb in the panels you need to have a way to bypass them on cold/cloudy days or they will take heat out of your pool.

The best thing I did last year was add a Solar Controller to the system. I'm using the Hayward/Goldline GL235 ( https://www.amazon.com/Hayward-GL-235-Goldline-Temperature-Controller/dp/B002EL4036 ) and I believe it made a big improvement in solar efficiency.

IMHO, your pump is not up to the task of pushing the water up 30ft. I had the Intex 2600 GPH Sandfilter system, and that pump would not have enough head to fill the panels mounted as you describe. That is why my current setup is on a ground rack. Now that I have the Hayward 1.5HP pump there will be no issue mounting the panels up on my 1-story garage.

If you do go with the solar, the controller is a must-have item. It will turn the system on as soon as the panels are in the sun, and will turn them off on cloudy or cold & windy days. I remember calling home from work on cloudy days to have someone go outside and turn off the panels when it clouded up, or turning it on if the day cleared up. What a PITA. I probably lost as much heat as I gained that year.
 

theskyisthelimit99

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2016
386
Pittsburgh, pa
While I have no direct experience with the Smart Pool kit, I do have 72 sq ft of Fafco Sungrabber solar panels hooked up to the pool. I started with that size because about a third of the pool is always in the shade.

Last year I opened when my pool temp hit 60F (April 23rd). I didn't hit 70F until May 20th. I ran the Solar every day, and covered at night. My pool is in the shade at about 5:00-5:30pm, so I have that against me as well.

Solar panel performance is all about surface area of the solar array, the bigger the better. Our pools are about 250 square feet in surface area, so that 80 sq ft is only about 1/3 of the pool. You are not going to get the temperature gains you are looking for with that small of a system. I am seriously considering doubling my array this year.

Also, overnight heat loss is a big issue, I use a solar blanket on the pool every night, or when I know it will be windy/cloudy. When you plumb in the panels you need to have a way to bypass them on cold/cloudy days or they will take heat out of your pool.

The best thing I did last year was add a Solar Controller to the system. I'm using the Hayward/Goldline GL235 ( https://www.amazon.com/Hayward-GL-235-Goldline-Temperature-Controller/dp/B002EL4036 ) and I believe it made a big improvement in solar efficiency.

IMHO, your pump is not up to the task of pushing the water up 30ft. I had the Intex 2600 GPH Sandfilter system, and that pump would not have enough head to fill the panels mounted as you describe. That is why my current setup is on a ground rack. Now that I have the Hayward 1.5HP pump there will be no issue mounting the panels up on my 1-story garage.

If you do go with the solar, the controller is a must-have item. It will turn the system on as soon as the panels are in the sun, and will turn them off on cloudy or cold & windy days. I remember calling home from work on cloudy days to have someone go outside and turn off the panels when it clouded up, or turning it on if the day cleared up. What a PITA. I probably lost as much heat as I gained that year.
This is great info.. thanks.. so your other brand is about 72 sq feet vs the 80 with the one i linked.. i had also considered just leaning the array against the fence by my pool, instead of going the garage roof route (for now), this would eliminate 30 feet or so.. i still think i may go with the 4500 gph best choice 1 hp pump that many are using ($239).. curious, which model 1.5hp haywood did you go with? Thanks for the link on that control system, it certainly makes sense to have that in play.. and it sounds as if two sets of these is the ticket (though on reviews on amazon on the smartpool system, some i think, said with one system somehow they went from mid 50s to mid 70s, basic thermo dynamics should say otherwise as you mentioned.. so if in fact two of these are needed + controller, this shoot is all into the $650 range to be efficient.

I havent really fully used my solar cover either, wondering just it alone how much of a warmup ill get if i keep it covered say for a week (not just at night).. i'd expect may 10F rise, unsure, certainly not 20.

I originally was just going to get one or two of those game circular "solar" devices that basically heat up a coiled hose.. but i figured the solar panels would be more efficient. Running a gas line and spending $1200+ wasnt really an option either
 

domct203

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Jun 3, 2015
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I have the Power Flo Matrix pump.

At night is when you really need to use the blanket to prevent heat loss. I take to solar blanket off for sunny days, leave it on for overcast/cloudy/windy days, and always cover at night.

I find that I get better warming with the cover off on bright sunny days. Besides, the pool needs some UV (sunlight) to burn off CC's.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

theskyisthelimit99

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2016
386
Pittsburgh, pa
I have the Power Flo Matrix pump.

At night is when you really need to use the blanket to prevent heat loss. I take to solar blanket off for sunny days, leave it on for overcast/cloudy/windy days, and always cover at night.

I find that I get better warming with the cover off on bright sunny days. Besides, the pool needs some UV (sunlight) to burn off CC's.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I guess i should probably use the solar cover more.. but being as i'm lazy its less ideal to drag it out each day.. did you devise any methods of making it quicker and easier to spread out and remove/put on? I think i saw a post where someone used a pipe that floats like this one for $7 and roll it out off of that, i guess leaving it on the deck then drop in the water and roll out at night?) Maybe something like this, even at 10 foot would work or a few of them connected, being as the pool is round its a little trickier i guess.

EDIT: also saw this metal hanger trick with a pvc pipe used, not so sure i like the metal aspect, also worried this could be too heavy for one side
Then there is this PVC pipe hanger one, which i think i might construct, shouldnt take long + zip ties and not be super heavy.

Side question.. bubbles down, smooth side up for the solar cover (assuming one side is smooth).. is this correct?
 

domct203

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LifeTime Supporter
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Jun 3, 2015
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Yes, bubbles down.


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