Helicol Solar - Installer Didn't Follow Installation Manual

mstgkillr

Active member
May 18, 2015
43
Cape Coral, Florida
#1
I just had 9 HC-50 Helicol solar panels installed. In addition to a leak in one of the tubes during startup, I just realized the installer did not follow Helicol's installation instructions. First, Helicol recommends a maximum of 8 HC-50 panels per array to maintain proper flow distribution. My system was installed with all 9 panels in the same array. Second, for 9 HC-50 panels, Helicol recommends a minimum flowrate of 45 gpm which is fine but the installer used 1.5" piping to and from the panels even though all of my other piping is 2". Additionally, Helicol recommends 2" piping for flowrates between 31 to 50 gpm.

Am I being too critical? Any idea how much heating performance or electrical efficiency this is costing me?

I haven't even paid for the system yet... what would you do?
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
24,993
DFW, TX
#2
Well, this isn't going well. I think I would be inclined to contact Heliocal to ask for their input. Although, I think it would be fair to ask the installer for their answer first and give them an opportunity to fix it. If they push back then tell them you are going to contact Heliocal for their opinion. I would ask about the leaking panel while you're at it.
 
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mstgkillr

Active member
May 18, 2015
43
Cape Coral, Florida
#3
Well, this isn't going well. I think I would be inclined to contact Heliocal to ask for their input. Although, I think it would be fair to ask the installer for their answer first and give them an opportunity to fix it. If they push back then tell them you are going to contact Heliocal for their opinion. I would ask about the leaking panel while you're at it.
I called the manufacturer first, and they stated that I do in fact need a minimum of 45 gpm to the array and that 2" piping should have definitely have been used. The manufacturer stated that 45 gpm through 1.5" piping would likely produce water hammer, reduced performance, and a shortened life expectancy. The manufacturer highly recommended that I have the 1.5" piping replaced with 2" piping.

On a good note, the manufacturer stated that 9 panels on the same array would most likely be fine. It wasn't until 10-12 panels that flow distribution might be a problem.

Almost an hour ago, I emailed the installer, and left a voice message with both the sales person and the installation manager. I haven't heard anything back yet.
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
24,993
DFW, TX
#4
Good, always best to have the manufacturer on your side. Those were my thoughts as well. 2" pipe needed and 9 panels wasn't a deal breaker. Let's hope they do the right thing without a lot of drama.
 
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mstgkillr

Active member
May 18, 2015
43
Cape Coral, Florida
#5
Good, always best to have the manufacturer on your side. Those were my thoughts as well. 2" pipe needed and 9 panels wasn't a deal breaker. Let's hope they do the right thing without a lot of drama.
The installer returned my call not too long after my last post. He was not in the greatest mood, I could tell he wasn’t happy about the situation. He started off by saying that it wasn’t a big deal to change out the piping to 2” but that it wouldn’t make much of a difference because the panel headers are only 1.5”. Eventually, he said that 2” piping would probably lower the performance of the system. I called his bluff and said that if it wasn’t a big deal, to please go ahead and swap out the piping. He went on to say that 90% of their installs use 1.5” piping, but all that told me was they either install mostly smaller systems or they have a bunch of systems that are not installed to the manufacturers specifications. We ended the conversation by him agreeing to have the piping replaced with 2” but that he would have to run it by the owner first. Hopefully, everything goes smoothly.

Now that they are going to increase the piping to 2”, I believe that they will have to install larger u-clamps which will require more holes being drilled in my roof… kinda concerned about that now. When then remove the old clamps, what are the chances that they are going to properly seal the old holes?
 

flylegacy500

Bronze Supporter
Jan 5, 2017
16
Merritt Island, FL
#6
I'm glad to hear it sounds like they are going to make it right. Tomorrow I'm getting a Heliocol system installed at my house and want to do some homework to make sure it gets installed correctly too. Where did you find your specifications for everything?

John
 
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mstgkillr

Active member
May 18, 2015
43
Cape Coral, Florida
#7
I'm glad to hear it sounds like they are going to make it right. Tomorrow I'm getting a Heliocol system installed at my house and want to do some homework to make sure it gets installed correctly too. Where did you find your specifications for everything?

John
Just do an internet search for Heliocol Installation Manual and it should be the first link. Or try this https://shop.solardirect.com/pdf/pool-heaters/solar-pool-heaters/Heliocol-Installation-Manual.pdf

Do you know what size panels and how many are being installed?
 

flylegacy500

Bronze Supporter
Jan 5, 2017
16
Merritt Island, FL
#8
I have no idea but will be finding out in about 1 hour :). Really should have paid more attention but when we were spec'ing out our pool it was quite overwhelming. I do remember asking who was the manufacturer and they said Heliocol. Thanks for posting the manual link; it will come in handy today.
 

flylegacy500

Bronze Supporter
Jan 5, 2017
16
Merritt Island, FL
#9
It's HC-40 which are 4' x 10.5' and they are using 2" PVC for the feed. With 7 panels, I calculate my flow at around 38,5 GPM. The only unexpected turn was they have to go on the east (ESE) roof because they wouldn't all fit on the south side. Splitting them up along with the very long runs required would result in more loss than the east efficiency coefficient they tell me. They seem very knowledge so I am yielding to their judgment on this. Hopefully they will help to get my pool from 76 degrees to the 80's soon!