Draining Solar Heating Systems on Roof before pool closing

PatG25

Active member
May 19, 2010
35
Durham, CT
I have a solar heating system on top of my house. Water goes through the panels, heats up and goes into the pool. I have my pool closing set for a couple of weeks. Last year I had the guy who installed the system drain it; this year I want to save a few bucks.

Can anyone tell me how I should do that?

Thanks.
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
326
There should be a vaccum break in the system that allows the panels to drain down every night.

Uncle Dave
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
22,969
SouthWest Alabama
As Dave said, they should stay drained unless they're in operation. If they don't then they're plumbed wrong.

Post a pic of the panels and the equipment pad where they branch from and we'll have a better idea what advice to give.
 

PatG25

Active member
May 19, 2010
35
Durham, CT
Bump. Anything I have to do to the solar other than shutting it off? When I killed power to it the valve closed and I heard water going running.
 

Davegvg

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 30, 2008
326
follow the lines up and down to the panels and look for a vacuum break.

Sounds like you'll be ok, but Id feel better if you showed a pict of the vac break.




Uncle Dave
 

PatG25

Active member
May 19, 2010
35
Durham, CT
Is this the vacuum break? What do I do with it? I opened it just unscrewed it) and no water was coming out? But do I need to hook up a shopvac to it and try to suck water out, or does that mean I am all set? I heard from the guy that installed them; he said he has to come by and drain each panel to make sure there is no water in them? Is that how it really works??

Thanks
 

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lbridges

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 12, 2009
323
Indialantic, FL
That looks like a typical install for Heliocol solar panels (VRV not very high off the equipment pad). You should not have to have the panels individually drained unless one of three things is wrong on the install:

1) They are installed so that all the water could not flow out the bottom and back into the pool when the system is off. Think of it like if you opened up a panel at the top and poured some water down into it. Are the panels and pipes arranged so the water would flow out, or would the water get trapped somewhere?

2) The 3-way valve traps water. A proper install would have used a non-positive/solar valve or else the installer might have drilled a 1/8" hole in the valve diverter. I'm not sure how to verify that without taking the valve apart - are you OK with doing that?

3) The VRV is stuck. It seems at least possible that a vacuum could keep enough water up in the system to cause a problem.

But since you already opened it (the VRV), #3 really can't be an issue. And since the no water came out when you opened it, item #2 above should not be an issue. So really only item #1 would cause a problem that I can see.

Caveat: I'm in Florida and do not have to face the consequences of a wrong decision on the same scale that you would.
 

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