solar pool tie in

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solar pool tie in

Postby scallen89 » Sun 22 Feb, 2009 22:53

22000 gal pool. 1.5 inch pipe. 48cu ft DE filter, 1.5hp Hayard Super II.
Rated at 94 gpm. With my "estimated" head loss, probably 85gpm. @ skimmers, 2 main drains.

I built a ground rack for 10-4x12 solar panels wit 1.5in headers. It sits "out back" below the pool and pump about 3 -6 feet. All plumbed with 2in pvc. I replumbed the system at the pump and filter to accomodate a salt/chlorine generator, and dedicated one of the maindrains to the solar return so I didn't have to wory about pressure in the solar panels. Did not work. Even as I recuced flow to the pool inlets, the solar flow to that main drain/solar return did not work. It just kept increasing pressure in both the solar and pool system (as noted at the filter). I kept one of the pipe connectors unglued on the way to the solar panel in case pressure was a problem. this point I just ran the solar return along the deck to the pool and it empties at the surface. Seems to work fine. The bypass keeps my pressue in check at the filter.

Should I plumb the solar system like this OR should I just tie it in to the regular pool inlets. Will I get ennough flow to the panels. I may just be messed up with understanding flow/pressue/head feet.

Thanks for your patience.


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Re: solar pool tie in

Postby Ray1031 » Tue 24 Feb, 2009 16:38

Honestly, it sounds like the problem is purely a pressure one ... you are trying to run the pool filter as a system separate (or at the same time as - but through separate plumbing from) your solar heating system. From your description, as I understand it, you were trying to run the filter through the normal pool inlets (high in the pool wall), while trying to move water through the solar panels and then down to the bottom of the pool to a main drain ...

Water - even under pressure - is going to follow the path of least resistance ... meaning, it is going to "stay high". You already have one pressure increase on those panel lines, in that the tubes within the panels - through which the water passes - is smaller than your normal return lines ... then you add to that the extra pressure necessary to push it out against the twenty to thirty-five thousand gallons of water (by volume) that are pressing down against the line n your main drain.

The "simplest" and most reliable method of plumbing in solar heater panels involve the addition of a three-way valve (or a "T" and a couple of gate valves - between the Pool filter and your saline generator system. From this, one line returns to the pool - normally, while a second line "feeds" the solar heater panels. Returning "from" the solar panels, the line should feed through a "check" valve - to another "T" - also located between your filter and the saline generator (but after the first/valved one). For a really good example of this - try the following site: These people are trying to sell you their automated valve system, for solar heaters ... but a manual one will do the same job. I use them only because their drawings, examples and descriptions of the plumbing systems is pretty accurate.

As for the manual valves I might recommend: There is the gate valve and "T" Method, of course - though it requires dealing with two valves all of the time ... there are also good, single handle, three-way valves available (from such companies as Hayward, Pentair, Jandy, TVI, etc). For a check valve, though it may be a bit more expensive than most on the market, I would suggest the Jandy "swing" or "Flapper" type with the clear lid. The main reason for suggesting this model is that you can look through the lid and actually "see" that water is moving through the valve from your solar heater.

NOTE: Just for information: there are two primary types of check valve - the "flapper" or "swing" type and the "Spring-loaded" models. In pool water systems, the flapper type is most commonly used. The "spring-loaded" type is intended primarily for "air delivery" systems, such as auxiliary air blowers on spaa or jetted seats in pools. It takes more pressure to open a spring loaded valve - usually.

I hope this has been helpful,

Ray10311 is an experienced pool professional with 25 years experience

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