home made pool heater

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home made pool heater

Postby colin » Tue 18 Apr, 2006 18:44

Can anyone give suggestions to a home made pool heater using black pipe on a roof. What size pipe should I use to maintain proper pressure and not to over work my pump? Any suggestions would be great



Swimming pool heater

Postby Fred » Fri 21 Apr, 2006 17:56

Got no experience with home made pool solar. Some ideas. If the pipe is too big then flow will be slow and perhaps inefficient. Do you intend to bypass the regular inlets completely? You could put a valve in the return line that would enable you to pass some of the filtered water to the pool directly so as to avoid excessive pressure buildup.

I would guess that the main lines and collectors need to be 1.5" or preferably 2". The piping could be anything from 0.25" to 1" depending on the number of loops you make.

home made pool heater

Postby c » Sun 23 Apr, 2006 19:53

I intend on re routing where a traditional heater would be installed.

Thanks for the advise



Postby Billybob » Sun 06 Aug, 2006 21:42

I installed about 75' of 1/2 tubbing ontop of our pool house for our 15' x 32' inground pool and when working, one cant put their hand infront of the outlet because it will burn you. I had a reading of over 120 degrees!! BUT this is only after just turning it on and when it is in the hot sun. It will still put out hot water all day long as long as it is in the sun, but if it is on at night, you loose the same amount of heat if the pool is hotter then the outside temp. Another problem we ran into is that we have one 2" pipe delivering water from the pool to the pump and 2 2" pipes from the pump to the pool. When diverting one of the 2 from the pump through this small pipe and to the pool, there is verry little watter going through it without turning off the other one going from the pump to the pool because the water will want the path of least resistance. Im expiermenting with others right now to see what will work better

pool heater

Postby Bill » Thu 17 Aug, 2006 12:13

How can I drain the coiled pipe for winter thanks.

black pipe

Postby Zebugman » Sun 27 Aug, 2006 02:47

Colin...need more pool specs to give you a good answer... you have a 12' round AG or a 20x40 inground? How much rise do you have to the roof?

Billybob...In a properly sized and functioning solar heater, when running the, pipes should feel almost "cool". Your hand would be about 96 degrees - probably too warm for your swimming pleasure. You can check my math but 1/2"ID pipe x 75 feet (pi X r-squared X 75 feet) you're only heating 14.72 cubic inches of water...one cubic FOOT (1728 cubic inches) is only 7 1/2 gallons. I've got 300' of 1" pipe ($19.00 ea. at Lowes) coiled on the ground (takes up about a 9-foot circle hidden behind patio bench) and with a 330gpm clear water pump rated for continuous use, 1/2 hp, 10' lift, ($25.00 at Harbour Freight), when the sun's out I get about 12-16 degree rise at the pipe outlet (the pump has 1" connections so I have a 1 1/2" adapter on the inlet). You're right about the nighttime cooling effect although it wouldn't cool it beyond ambient temperature. You should remember that your soil around the pool is an insulator so after it warms up you'll be more efficient. If you don't already I recommend a cover for the night - you've got almost 500 square feet of evaporative cooling area. I'd also check the support capabilities of your roofs... one gallon is 8.34 lbs and a cubic foot is 64.5.

As far as draining coiled tubing, disconnecting, and depending on your configuration, blowing it out with a good wetvac or an air compressor.
I used to work maintenance for an apartment complex and made a roof-top configuration out of sch 40 pvc painted black and laid it out and "zig-zagged" it horizontally so it would drain naturally, with the highest elbow being a "tee" with a threaded plug for air relief.

For a little comic relief: redneckpoolheater(dot)com

Good luck and I'd be interested in everyone's results!


home made pool heater

Postby justaguy » Fri 04 May, 2007 15:15

I did a comparison to the amount of surface area hit by sunlight, and volume of the thin mats to usinmg pipe. The length required to get the same effect is ..a lot. Not to say a short length won't help, but not a lot. I'll post more when I am finished.
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home made pool heater

Postby Fission7x » Sat 05 May, 2007 14:42

I built a make-shift solar heater the other day out of 2 rolls of 3/4-inch black polyethylene pipe, some fittings and some 3/4" sched-40 PVC. I used 2 100-foot sections of black pipe and Tee'd them into the filter/pump return with 3/4" PVC. Installed a 1-1/2" valve downstream of the Tee and a 3/4" valve in the "heater line" for control and isolation. Since it's temporary, I just ran the heater return line over the grass (ok, it's just dirt right now) and cool-deck. I coiled the black pipe on the ground just outside my pool fence. I still need to secure the black pipe to a couple of strips of metal or plastic to keep it laying flat and get the most out of the sun. Right now some of the coils are laying on top of each other, decreasing efficiency, I'm sure. I haven't taken any actual measurements, but the output of the heater return is definitely warmer than the pool by several degrees. The whole thing cost me about $60 from Lowe's and took only a few hours to build. The hard part was getting the courage to cut into my filter/pump return line!

I must admit, I got the idea from this forum!

home made pool heater

Postby kansasdude » Mon 04 Jun, 2007 14:02

After reading everyone's posts, I'm encouraged to try the cheap way out and use plastic pipe rather than the higher dollar factory built solar heaters. I really don't like the idea of having to climb up on the roof to to install the collector. Not to mention the installation and plumbing problems.

My pool is an 18ft above ground "portable" pool, the type that's vinyl sided with a metal framework suspending it. I already use a solar blanket, and have one of the harbor freight pumps, so any additional heat would be a bonus. If black pipe coiled on the ground can produce acceptable heat, I'm all for trying.

As an aside, I've also build something similar to the "redneck pool heater". In my case I took a old car radiator (aluminum) and placed it over my fire pit. Nearly 100% of the heat produced by the fire was transferred to the core area, with the top side of the core being cool to the touch. The hardest part was keeping the fire burning all day! I think if I was burning wood pellets instead of scrap lumber I might have had better luck.


home made pool heater

Postby Al » Fri 08 Jun, 2007 15:23

Anyone has any picture of their installation? It would be interessting to see how it's built up.

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