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Thread: Solar Pool Heater

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Reno NV
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    Solar Pool Heater

    Well, I'm probably 95% done, so thought I'd post a pic. Need to pick up a couple of more cans of 'Fusion' plastic spraypaint.

    Already had the rack to mount it on. Actually, it used to be about 4 foot longer, but took part of it off. Added a 1 foot extension up top, then painted it all black. It's facing due south.

    Basically, just a bunch of PVC all glued up together. 210 feet of 1/2" pipe between two manifolds. I figure the 7 1/2" pipe gives me a decent enough flow rate. That way I can run the filter and the heater on the one circuit.

    Use some cheap flat black paint on the rack. Used a couple of cans of fusion plastic spray paint on the tubes. Still need a couple more cans, but I figure this should be a good start.

    I've got a bunch of valves rigged up so I can easily shut off the flow to clean the filter, or to send the water through the heater.

    Can't use flexible hoses, or sprinker type tubing, because there are some kind of critters around here that like that plastic. I have to splice in repairs to the drip irrigation pretty frequently. Don't really want a hole to pop open while the pump is running and drain the pool...

    So physicists, start your engines and debate for me the relative qualities of flow rate, and tubing size versus length.

    I'm of the opinion that slower flow rates result in higher output temps, but that it doesn't really matter to the overall rate of temperature increase to the pool.

    The more tubing, the better. The thinner the tubing, the better.

    The pool temp started at 55 degrees today, which, I believe, is hypothermia inducing!

    We'll see how long it takes for this heater and the solar cover to get the pool to a decent swimming temp. I'd like the pool to be in the low 80's, but I'll still use it in the 70's, if the outdoor temp is warm enough...



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    Last edited by Brent Dowell; 05-30-2010 at 09:51 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Sure looks like it oughtta work, Brent.

    As for the flex tubing - around here, the porcupines seem to like chewing on it. Got any of them critters out there?
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Reno NV
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    No porcupines, but plenty of ground squirrels, rats, mice, cottontails, Quail, Chukar, jackrabbits and rattlers

    Just happy to have not seen any rattlers yet this year!
    Last edited by Brent Dowell; 05-30-2010 at 09:51 PM. Reason: Left out Quail and Chukar!
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
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  4. #4
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    I guess you will find out how well it works

    A friend's dad did a similar thing with black rubber hose up on the roof of their house, two huge coils of rubber hose, and it made a big difference. Also, IIRC he did not use a pump, plain old convection worked..... I think....

    Neat idea!
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  5. #5
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    I was wondering along the lines of what Stu mentioned. How hard (or effective) would it be to make one that's pumped by convection?
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  6. #6
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    Looks pretty nice Brent, but i was wondering, why would you need a pool heater in the desert?
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  7. #7
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    Oct 2006
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    The Heart of Dixie
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    Now you have my interest up! I would love to heat my pool so I could extend my season. Gas heater is just to expensive for me. And just a couple of cool nights and the temp drops like crazy. Ended up closing it early last year due to the cool nights but the days were still hot. So I am anxious to hear how this works out for you.

    I studied solar heating during the 70's and 80's when it was a big thing. One trick was to enclose the coils in a box with a glass. That raises the temperatures and heats the water faster and hotter.

    It would be really good if you had a way to check the water temp going in and coming out of the collector. Then it would be easy to adjust the flow rate to get the best temp. Not sure how you can do that cheaply or easily though. But too fast and the heat can't transfer to the water but you knew that didn't you?
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  8. #8
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    Very interesting project. I'm wondering if you might collect more heat if the "grid" was enclosed with a glass or other clear cover.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  9. #9
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    A friend with a solar kiln says it is always 75 degrees warmer behind glass than ambient air temp.
    And, like Bob, wondering why you need any heater in the hot,hot, hot Nevada desert.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    And, like Bob, wondering why you need any heater in the hot,hot, hot Nevada desert.
    Because of the cool cool nights. Same issue here in Idaho. Around Labor Day the daytime temps can be in the 90's, but the nights are in the 60's. The pool looses heat very quickly under those circumstances.
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