Tube Between "From Solar" and "To Solar" Lines? Purpose?

SoJaxPool

New member
Apr 3, 2016
3
Jacksonville, FL
There is a small leak coming from a gasket that connects a 1/4" OD tube between the "From Solar" and "To Solar" lines. I have FAFCO solar panels. The brass fittings connecting the tube are Clippard but they don't produce or sell the rubber gasket. Has anyone ever seen this before, know what it is, and / or know where I can get the replacement rubber gasket? If I can't find the gasket, would it be problematic for me to cut out the connection and re-pipe without them? Many thanks in advance! Stephen

IMG_0563.jpgIMG_0565.jpg
 

Isaac-1

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 10, 2010
6,711
SW Louisiana
It is a bypass bridge to let the lines the solar lines drain, I have one on my solar inststall, but it is made from PVC and incorporates the drain valve and an inline valve to limit bypass to a trickle. In normal operation a small percentage of your water will bypass the panel through the bridge, and when the solar valve is off, water that would otherwise be trapped in the feed side pipe can drain out through it.

Ike

ps here is a link to a photo mine, it is not perfect design, but it was built with fittings I had on hand. http://www.troublefreepool.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=20597&d=1368230874
 

needsajet

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 4, 2016
4,696
Sydney, NSW, Australia
As mentioned, it allows the feed side of the solar panel circuit to slowly drain back to the pool.

FWIW, I didn't like this idea when I put mine in, thinking that the small line could get blocked, and I don't like those type of fittings anyway. I put a three way valve above the solar pump (after a check valve) and I allow a small amount of the water from that pump to go straight back to the solar return line and into the pool. The valve allows me to fine-tune the flow to the solar panels, and the partially open side becomes the drain back to the pool. It's locked into position so no one will close it fully. It also gave me a backup pump for circulation.

A simple fix would be to re-pipe and plumb a 1/2" or 3/4" bridge with pvc and a simple ball valve in it. Close it down to the point where flow is correct for your panels, but never close it fully, so the system can drain back to the pool. I didn't do this because the risers to the roof are near the patio and I didn't want to risk a noisy valve. As it turned out, the 3-way valve is entirely quiet, I think because of the back pressure on the pool return side when operating, and the low pressure and flow rate when draining.

The cheap and nasty way that some installers use is to drill a small hole (1/4") in the clacker valve in the pump (if solar is on its own separate circuit). The hole allows drain-back through the pump, without enough flow to spin the pump backwards. I really didn't like this idea and wouldn't consider it myself. Some solar circ pumps come with the hole already in the clacker, so I suppose those manufacturers aren't worried about it, but it still seems wrong to me, FWIW.
 

Isaac-1

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 10, 2010
6,711
SW Louisiana
needsajet, in the US almost all solar installs use Jandy Neverlube valves and an actuator, not the old style clacker valves which were popular 20+ years ago.
 

needsajet

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 4, 2016
4,696
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Yeh, I was surprised to see that clacker in the envelope with the pump manual. I'm happier with my Jandy Neverlube 3-way valve, but I didn't need an actuator because it's on a dedicated circuit. I also like the larger PVC bridge with a valve.