Solar Install Questions


Bronze Supporter
May 10, 2017
Rochester, NY
I have a 20x40 Vinyl pool that was installed last year, with a 250K NG heater (no SWG). I am having 480 sq ft. of solar panels (plastic tubing, not glazed) installed in a couple of weeks, and have some questions.

1) I have a Pentair VS pump / cartridge filter, and the rise to the roof is about 25' (colonial house, solar on second story roof). 2" piping is used on the pad, and the pipes to and from the solar will be 2" (solar manifold is also 2"). The installer thinks that the pump will be sufficient, and no booster is needed. Does that sound right? Since a booster is only about $300, and it'd be much easier to plumb now than later, I want to ensure a booster is not at all needed.

2) I also have a Pentair EasyTouch 8 automation panel. The installer usually uses their own automation equipment, but I'd rather use the equipment I have. I assume it's as simple as hooking up the thermistor to the roof, and the auto-valve to "VLV A" valve actuator?

3) I've started to delve into the programming of the panel, but was wondering if anyone knows if it's possible to set it up so that solar runs at a given set point, but I can manually add NG heat in addition if need be. Would a good approach be to set up solar to the setpoint, and then keep the heater "off", and then when I want to blast the poll w/ heat, turn the NG heater on and heat the pool to the setpoint? Not sure if I'm making this clear, hopefully, I am...

Thanks for this great resource, and any and all replies.
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Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
Tucson, AZ
1) Yes, no problem. Might have to just bump up the VS speed a good bit to maintain adequate pressure in the solar panels
2) Probably, I do not know the Pentair automation, but it should just require connecting the temp sensor and actuator and then programming to turn the solar function on.
3) Ignoring the NG heater for a moment, you can set the solar temp than you want your pool water and the solar will turn on if the pool water is below that set point and there is heat available from the roof. This would normally be plumbed before the NG heater. You would then turn on the NG heater to add additional heat as required for quick temperature rises. I am not sure exactly how automation would work with this. Likely if you also had the NG heater with a temperature setting, both the solar and NG would turn on and quickly reach the set point and then both would turn off and on ... but that would not be taking full advantage of the solar heating savings.


Bronze Supporter
May 10, 2017
Rochester, NY
Thank you for the reply jblizzle. Regarding the NG/Solar heat set points... I guess where I'm going is during any given day, I'm more than happy to take the solar heat if it's available, and pool isn't too hot (solar low/hi set points). However, if for instance, we'd want the pool at a substantially higher temp than what solar could achieve in any give timeframe, I'd want to give it a boost to get the pool temp to a certain temp.

Example: on any given day, I'm happy for the pool to be at 80, and maybe solar alone is adequate for that. However, tomorrow (again, example), I want the pool at 90. I'll need to supplement the heat w/ NG heater to get there, b/c solar alone isn't adequate. Now, I don't want to set the set point to 90 all the time, as that would burn a lot of gas that I don't want to pay for or need. So I'm thinking that I could manually turn the heater on, adjust the setpoint to 90, and I'd get both Solar & NG to warm the pool quicker. When I'm done, turn the NG heater off, turn the setpoint back to 80 and I'm back to baseline. I just would like to know the best way to achieve this.

Hope that makes sense, and thanks for the reply!



LifeTime Supporter
May 28, 2011
No. CA
The pentair VS should be more than enough power. I have panels on the first story garage and second story main roof. my sta rite vs is essentially the same as the pentair VS and it does more than fine.

I'm not near the equipment to measure but my solar installer ran a larger diameter pipe for the water going up and smaller diameter for the water coming down from the roof. I never asked but I think it allows less pump speed to keep the water panels full. Mine, like most I've seen have a vacuum relief valve on the top so the panels drain when the solar isn't active and the pump speed slows or is off.

As far as the heat, I have an idea, yet I'm not quite sure how to program it.

It would involve setting the EasyTouch as if you had a spa. You would configure the easy touch to use Solar when set to Pool mode, and to use the Heater when set to Spa mode.

So you'd get heat for "free" from the solar, and when you want to boost the temp, flip the easy touch mode to spa and the heater would kick on.

I think this might work. I don't think the easy touch knows if a valve actuator is connected or not so it could be worth a try.

Do you have a screen logic 2 adapter? If not you might look into it. It gives you the flexibility to control everything on the easytouch 8 remotely from your phone, a tablet or a PC.



In The Industry
Apr 1, 2018
Bangor Maine
You should be able to set the NG heater to say 85, if the water coming from panels is 82, the NG will fire, if it’s higher it won’t. Adjusting the NG set point would be all that is required imo.
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