Considering FAFCO Solar Bear Panels and would love some advice

oimamlion

Well-known member
May 19, 2019
63
Sabula, Iowa
Just put up our Intex 16x32 ABG last year and realized right away that we would like to heat it this year. Besides for enjoyment, it is water therapy for our seven year old daughter who doesn't take the cold very well and would definitely benefit from being able to swim earlier and later in the year, especially since we are not going to regular therapies at the moment due to COVID. So....we do need to do this in the most economical way possible. I'm not too worried about initial cost of a heater, but more about the monthly addition to our electric bill. Although we do have a propane tank, it's not really an option due to installation complications. I am considering buying 2 of these FAFCO Solar Bear Panels. The reviews are decent compared to other solar options, and I've seen some folks here have them and speak highly. I guess I just need some confirmation that these will do what we need.

Our pool has sun exposure from noon on. We live in Iowa. We only got probably one good month last year of water temps above 75 degrees. We are just hoping to be able to use our pool from Memorial Day (at least) and maybe through September with temps of at least 78 degrees. We do have a solar cover and know that it definitely helps maintain temps once achieved.

Can I get some opinions on whether or not these panels might do the trick for us? They would be installed on the ground and possible on a rack. I even wonder if they could be leaned up against the legs on the one side of the pool. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you!


 

LynnThompson

Member
Jul 11, 2019
18
East Tennessee
Following.
I’m also shopping for a solar heating option and nothing seems to stand out as a clear choice. Please update with your experience if you do purchase and install. Thanks!
 

JohnT

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
9,862
SW Indiana
Solar panels with a solar blanket are a very good option for heating the pool. I can easily keep mine in the mid-80s and have to watch that I don’t get it into the 90s most summers.
 

LynnThompson

Member
Jul 11, 2019
18
East Tennessee
That’s good news.

Without using a solar cover at night (or anytime) my pool temperature is fluctuating between 75-81. Too cold for my kids.

Are your solar panels from a pool heating kit? Like the original poster referenced, for example?
 

JohnT

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
9,862
SW Indiana
That’s good news.

Without using a solar cover at night (or anytime) my pool temperature is fluctuating between 75-81. Too cold for my kids.

Are your solar panels from a pool heating kit? Like the original poster referenced, for example?
I bought 6 Aquasol 4’x8’panels and installed them myself.
 

scout123

Bronze Supporter
Feb 18, 2018
387
Northwest GA
I was looking at those but didn't want to spend the money bc I wasn't sure if it would make a difference. I ended up getting the sungrabber extreme just to try. My panel is 2x20 and I think it's made a difference in my 15 foot round pool. I can feel hot water coming out of the pipe into the pool, but I'm not sure I'm moving enough water to see a huge difference. Today is the 4th day in a row that we've finally had sun (temps in the mid 80's) and my pool was 88 degrees today. I don't think I'd have reached that without the solar. (it went from 82 this morning at 10 to 88 this afternoon at 5, with a mostly sunny sky and a high of 85) If I decide to add more, I'll definitely get the FAFCO 4x20 bc I'm now convinced that they do work. I think there's a calculator somewhere that tells how many panels you need to be effective for your pool size, but not sure where it is.
 

oimamlion

Well-known member
May 19, 2019
63
Sabula, Iowa
Update: I did buy the FAFCO Solar Bear Panels. We bought 2 for our 14,000 gallon pool, and I'm sure it's making a difference. It's been in the 80's all week, and we've maintained 82 and up. The last 2 days it's gotten up to 86. I don't think that happened at all last year other than a couple days when temps were over 100. The water coming out is very warm, to the point where you can tell the difference in the pool when you come within about 10 feet of the outlet.
We started out with them on the ground and probably slightly tilted away from the sun just because the ground is not level. Once we realized how well they could work, we built a rack from pallets and plywood putting them at about 30 degrees. I do think that made a difference as well. We are very happy with the purchase. :)
 

JohnT

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
9,862
SW Indiana
With the water feeling that warm in the pool, if you can increase flow through the panels without excess back pressure or exceeding what the manufacturer recommends, it will help put a little more heat into the pool. When the panels and plumbing get warmer, there is more heat lost to the air.