Solar Freeze Protection - Intellicenter

ebcass

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Nov 8, 2018
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Jax Beach Florida
Pentair tech support confirmed that Intellicenter cannot turn the solar valve when freeze protection is engaged. This seems like a pretty large oversight, considering it works that way for standard water features. Are other automation systems able to do this, or am i looking at it wrong? I plan to just leave the solar valve in manual override during freeze conditions as I'll be out of town for the holidays. Of course that means the solar will run constantly with the pump . Not really ideal....
 

Rocket J Squirrel

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That's odd, since the older EasyTouch can do it.

Can you simply drain your panels for winter? That's what my solar guys recommend and that's what I do. Else I'd have to run freeze mode at 2500 rpm to properly close the vacuum relief valves.
 

Dirk

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If your solar panels are on the roof (or anywhere above the pool's water level), you need to drain the panels of water, as Rocket suggests. Then de-program any possible call for solar heat, or otherwise disengage the solar valve so that it cannot inadvertently turn to fill the panels with water. Leaving water in, or running water through, your panels during freezing months is asking for trouble...

If that advice doesn't fit with your system or plumbing, tell us more about both.
 

ebcass

New member
Nov 8, 2018
4
Jax Beach Florida
My roof panels drain fine. I have about 40-50' of flat plumbing, partially exposed/partially buried before they go vertical to the roof. I'm not certain, but doubt that part drains completely. I just dont want to find out the hard way. Once the pipes are vertical, there is a 3-way valve to bypass the roof plumbing. I was hoping to close that, then have freeze protection open the solar valve, flushing the flat plumbing. I can set the solar valve as a water feature for winter. It just seems like this should be part of the programming. I also tried using nocturnal cooling creatively, but Pentair forgot to program the solar valve to actuate when cooling is called for so just the pump speeds up.
 

Dirk

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I see. Well I can't speak to other controllers, not even mine, since I don't run freeze-protection water through my solar system.

You could always add the necessary fittings to bypass that "exposed/partially buried" plumbing, and then blow it out when you drain the panel, like others do for their pool plumbing winterizing.
 

Rocket J Squirrel

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My roof panels drain fine. I have about 40-50' of flat plumbing, partially exposed/partially buried before they go vertical to the roof. I'm not certain, but doubt that part drains completely.
I also have a long run of partially buried pipe from pump to panels and back. It never occurred to me to drain it; the fragile part of the solar system is the collector panels with their tiny tubes. But I do have a hose bibb I can open at the bottom of the solar pipes near the pump, so I opened it (for the first time ever) having already drained the panels, and very little water came out even though that bibb is at the low point of the plumbing. In the photo, the pipe with the bibb pulls water from the panels and the pipe nearer the fence pushes water to the panels.
bibb.jpg
 

Dirk

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The orientation of that hose bib would still leave a lot of water in that pipe, and the other pipe could be full, too. You need two bibs, and the bibs needs to be turned such that they are at the very lowest point.
 

Rocket J Squirrel

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I'm unconcerned about freeze where I live, except for the fragile tubes in the solar collectors. I should have more explicitly suggested that @ebcass look to see whether he has, or maybe even install, an affordance for pipe drainage in his system. That would seem preferable to running the pump the whole time he's away.
 
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Dirk

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I'm unconcerned about freeze where I live, except for the fragile tubes in the solar collectors. I should have more explicitly suggested that @ebcass look to see whether he has, or maybe even install, an affordance for pipe drainage in his system. That would seem preferable to running the pump the whole time he's away.
Right, we're on the same page. I should have worded it not so much how you could improve your drain, but how @ebcass should design his...