Intex Solar Heater question

safetygirl

New member
Jul 2, 2020
3
NJ
Hi I would like to add a solar heater to my 16' round Intex (already have a solar cover purchased). We have limited room in our yard (can't do any roof installation). Hubby suggested one of the dome heaters but they don't look like they do much. I would like to buy a panel as I think it would work better. My husband does not want it laying in the yard to kill the grass. Is it possbile that you could build kind of a round frame to stand it up next to the pool. The panel is 20' long so it would have to curve in around the pool to not be sticking out in the yard. Has anyone done an installation like this, would it even be possible to bend the panel or do they have to be flat? I realize they make shorter panels however the 20' is much cheaper than the 10' or 12' for some reason on Amazon. Any suggestions for space saving solar heater?
 

Woodstock1234

Gold Supporter
Aug 4, 2020
250
Illinois
The panels do bend (they are shipped to you rolled up). When I got mine, I had to hold the ends with concrete blocks in the sun to get them to flatten. I hooked up one 20 inch panel as an experiment and I think I got 3 degrees in about 5 hours. A 10 inch panel probably wouldn't do much. I think you need 2 20 inch panels to really make a difference. As far as a round frame, I am not sure. I'm building mine from pvc. You could probably use pvc with angle joints.
 

hwy17

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2021
176
Northern California
There is no point mounting a solar panel directly on the side of the pool facing the sun, since that wall is already acting as a "solar panel" itself. So this is only worth it if the panel will be far enough away that it and the pool wall are both in direct sunlight.

Since a round frame will angle the ends of the panel away from optimal, and make the center of the panel perpendicular to the ground which is also not optimal, I don't think a panel is worth it in this configuration.
 

safetygirl

New member
Jul 2, 2020
3
NJ
Thank you for your valuable feedback. Maybe I will try a dome heater. I personally don't see how the dome heater is any better than coiled black tubing (DIY) since the tube size looks large in the dome heaters.....has anyone tried a dome heater that actually worked? Reviews are split on Amazon.
 

kujito

New member
Jun 8, 2021
1
Denver, CO
I can't speak to the dome style heater. I just bought one of the Fafco Solar Bear panel heaters, 4'x20'. If you can find the room, I highly recommend this style! I only usef the finger/toe meters. Went from painful cold to pretty nice after a day or two in the sun! Don't run it at night or in shade/clouds.
 

hwy17

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2021
176
Northern California
Thank you for your valuable feedback. Maybe I will try a dome heater. I personally don't see how the dome heater is any better than coiled black tubing (DIY) since the tube size looks large in the dome heaters.....has anyone tried a dome heater that actually worked? Reviews are split on Amazon.
I agree with your assesment, the dome heaters are basically just a prebuilt DIY. I don't think they would do much more than the Intex rubber mat heaters- I have used one of those and it is psychologically reassuring to have at least *something* being done to add heat, but they don't do a lot.
 
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