How Come So Much Air In The Solar Panel Plumbing?

Blue Horse

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 5, 2015
76
Fremont, California 94539
While I do have a little air leak on the suction side (between spa drain and the pool pump), I am puzzled by how much air form in my solar plumbing.

If I shut down the system, and wait for 1 min before restart, I will see lots of air mixed with water coming down from the solar panel on the roof. The air maybe originated on the roof, or was already at the equipment pad (inside the gas heater housing?) accumulated between the shutdown and restart.

A different scenario, but same air seen is-
I keep the pool pump running, and turn the solar heating off. The actuator will turn to divert the water coming out of filter into gas heater, instead of going up to the roof. Then after 1 min, I turn on solar heating. Now as the actuator turns and directs water to roof again, air noise will be heard near or inside the heater housing. Then after 10~15 seconds, air mixed with water and noise will show up coming down in the pipe from the roof.

I don't see any actual water leaking over the roof.

Is this normal? Where does the air come from in such a short time?

Every time this air/water mix happens, my cleaner will be forced to be on delay.

Here is how the water flows. All photos except #3 and #6 should rotate clockwise by 90 degrees.

1st photo:
A. The pool drain+skimmer entering from left side into the pool pump in the middle of the photo , spa drain entering from right side.
B. The pump at the left side is the jet from and to the spa.
C. the pump at the right is the cleaner pump.

2nd photo: water from pool pump flows into the filter to housing

3rd photo: that knob at bottom left is the filter. Water moves out of filter, traveling upward through that acrylic window, then into this actuator. The actuator at current setting allows water to move to right and then onto the roof. If and when the solar heating is shut off, the actuator will turn 90 degrees to flow water toward you and down into the gas heater (at bottom right of the photo).

4th photo: water mixed with air rushing down from the roof.

5th photo: gas heater. Water flows from here to the white box of SWCG before return to pool/spa. On the upper left of the photo, the plumbing to the roof is on the right, and left is water coming down from the roof.
 

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Rocket J Squirrel

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
924
Alamo, CA
Normal. Without pressure, your vacuum relief valve(s) open, allowing air into the collectors. The water that was in the collectors drains down to the plumbing. As long as the air stops after a minute or 2, it's operating properly.
 

Blue Horse

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 5, 2015
76
Fremont, California 94539
Good to know. Where can I find my vacuum relief valve(s)? By "allowing air into the collectors", what do you mean by "collectors"? Sounds like both vacuum relief valve and collector are part of the solar panel heating system on top of the roof?

During the day, as the solar heating turns on and off depending on the sunlight, the air forces cleaner onto delay mode. This means more kick start of the cleaner motor. The SWCG also experiences low flow issue, sometimes can last longer than the 2 min. transition period.
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
924
Alamo, CA
During the day, as the solar heating turns on and off depending on the sunlight, the air forces cleaner onto delay mode. This means more kick start of the cleaner motor. The SWCG also experiences low flow issue, sometimes can last longer than the 2 min. transition period.
I don't know what you mean by "This means more kick start of the cleaner motor." The EasyTouch by default turns off the booster pump for the cleaner temporarily when solar engages.

If you're getting a low flow issue, you should increase the pump speed when in solar mode.
 

Blue Horse

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 5, 2015
76
Fremont, California 94539
Oh, I assumed the cleaner stopped only because of the air/water mix. I will observe to confirm your story.

Either way, I will schedule the cleaner to finish its run by 10am (when there is less chance for solar to engage).
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
924
Alamo, CA
Oh, I assumed the cleaner stopped only because of the air/water mix. I will observe to confirm your story.

Either way, I will schedule the cleaner to finish its run by 10am (when there is less chance for solar to engage).
It's not a story. It's documented behavior. Have you read the ET manual? Granted it's tough reading. The "Master" circuits work together to switch off the cleaner when solar engages.
cleaner.png
Running the cleaner before solar hours is a good idea.
 
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