PVC Pipes And Pool Solar Heating Advice


We have a set of EnerSol solar panels (black water pipes) which are installed on the roof. Our pool pump sends water up to the panels via black PVC pipes. The water goes through the panels, warms significantly then returns back down to the pool.

When it's running it works great. The water feels warm coming out of the jets and the pool is nice and warm all summer.

The problem is... we are up in Southern Canada and the winters are harsh on the panels. Every spring we have burst PVC pipes in various places which necessitate an expensive call to a plumber. This despite carefully blowing out all the water from the pipes in the fall. (I suspect some water doesn't fully drain due to being at the bottom of the roof slope.)

Are black PVC pipes appropriate in this situation? Anyone have a similar setup with any...

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You can heat your pool using solar power. Your pool system already includes the pump, controller, and filter, along with PVC pipes that route the water flow. Simply break into the PVC line after the filter and run a couple of flex hoses (or PVC, if you prefer) to the solar collector panel, which you can lay out on the ground or set against a hill to achieve some tilt toward the sun.

A simple swimming pool solar-heating system.

When the valve is closed, water runs exclusively through the solar collector panel, heating the water. As you open the valve, less water flows through the collector panel. In this way, you can adjust how much heat is going into your pool.

Solar collector panels are available at most pool supply stores. You can get a 4 ft. x 20 ft. panel for around $220. Flex hoses cost around $35 apiece. Adaptors are sometimes necessary.

Here are some ways to run the system for best results:

Place the solar collector panel where it sees...

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Originally Posted by


You don't really need the vacuum breaker at the top. Mine is localed close to the filter and pump. Water shipons up from the breker through the panels and down the other side. Been through two winters with no problems (freezes both winters).

In principle that will work but it may cause the solar return pipe to collapse under certain conditions. Several months ago, I had a discussion with a solar installer who recently started to put their vacuum release valves near the pad. He said soon after, they started to get reports of return pipe collapse on the roof. This makes sense when you consider the pressures involved and how solar controllers work.

Because of the placement of the vacuum release, the plumbing at the top of the house, especially a two story house, will be under a very high vacuum when the pump is turned off. This vacuum is proportional to the distance between the top of the panels and the vacuum release valve (i.e static...

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Dalene Pienaar: Your idea excellent! But the video oh which some-one helped you with this. What about the dust on the floor?

Dr. Drake Ramoray: Maybe you should invest some money into some chemicals. That's some murky water.

Gtiplus: Man you are brilliant! So many great ideas that are pretty easy to make. I really like your skimmer and shower ideas. Well I really like your heater idea too, but I live in Florida. It will come in handy around November though. BTW, your video didn't suck, I thought it was quite informative. Quality knowledge, Thanks!

CUdetoom: Very cool...best video i've seen on this topic, TY !!!

Kenny aka Zyfix brown: Hey man I want to say your video was helpful and I've looked over many videos with me upgrading to this sand filter system. And yours was the most informative of them and brilliant ideas bud. Hats off to you on the creativity and workable diy setup.

Kris Iyer: Superb ingenuity - congrats on the pool :)


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Are you one of those people who liked to swim all year around? And is your cold poll keeping you from doing just that? Maybe you’ve thought of a Jacuzzi instead, but what you might not have considered is the benefit of a pool heater. And I’m not suggesting you go out and buy an expensive underwater heater for you pool, but instead make your own inexpensive, highly-efficient, homemade solar pool heater.

It’s simple to construct and works as long as there is sunlight. It can work on cloudy days as well, but just not quite as well. It is one of the cost effective and environment friendly way to keep your pool warm even during the winter months.

Things You’ll Need For Solar Pool Heater

Now I said this device is cheap, but it’s not free. You can’t MacGyver your own heater form grass and duct tape. No, you’ll have to invest a little money to get the parts you’ll need to construct it.

First off, find an underwater pump. You can find these at pool supply...

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We got a small above ground pool for the kid's and so naturally Dad decided to find a way to heat it. Solar was the first step and a wood burning heater, the second step. Following is how I built the Solar Pool Heater.

The Solar Heater works by letting the water in the black pipe heat in the sun for one hour and then pumping that water into the pool (I found this takes about ten minutes). I installed it on my garden shed roof that is East West facing with a very shallow peek so both sides get sun almost all day.

Some of the Parts I used.

1. 300 ft of black 1/2" drip irrigation pipe. (three one-hundred foot rolls)

2. 12 volt dc utility pump (the connections fit garden hose quick connectors).

3. 12 volt Battery to run the pump (i had an old gel battery for a power wheelchair).

4. 12 volt timer with 17 programmable times ( off for one hour and on for ten minutes ).

5. 12 volt battery charger ( The plan is to replace this with a solar...

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PVC is a good choice, provided that it is properly installed and maintained. A proper installation includes shielding the PVC from UV light, which is the primary means of premature aging. UV light will eventually turn PVC into a brittle mess.

ABS on the other hand tends to not become brittle with sun exposure, but to deform and is generally softer. As a result, buried ABS pipe seems to be at a higher risk of crimping, impeding water flow.

In either case, you should paint your exposed pipe, which probably wasn't done, and is the primary reason you are looking to repair it. Personally, I'd go with painted PVC, because after it is protected from UV light, it is less flexible (less pipe collapse) has a wider variety of fittings, and generally has a wider range of temperature distributions. I'm also more familiar with PVC, which might cloud my judgement. I'd love to hear from someone intimately familiar with ABS.

Both types of plastic are generally considered for...

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The schedule is the wall thickness of the pipe (essentially how much pressure it can withstand). Wikipedia has a Nominal Pipe Size Table (and the article goes into the description of the size and the why behind them).

From this article http://www.ehow.com/facts_5575151_difference-between-schedule-schedule-pipe.html:

For a relatively constant pipe outside diameter, the wall thickness varies from Schedule 10 (light) to Schedule 40 (standard weight) to Schedule 80 (extra strong) to Schedule 160 (double extra strong).

Schedule 40 pipe is typically used in construction. However, if a stronger pipe is needed, then Schedule 80 can be used. An example where Schedule 80 should be considered is if the pipe is exposed during construction. The stronger pipe is more resistant to incidental bumping by workers or equipment.

In my house the line that runs out to my irrigation system and the sewer pipe are all schedule 40 (the schedule is usually printed...

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Having your own solar pool heating system in place sure sounds very enticing. There is a lot of planning that goes into building a heating system. This guide is intended to give you an overview of what’s involved.

But before you go ahead and build one, there are a few things you need to be aware of. First of all, you definitely need to have a pool blanket, since night time temperatures vary greatly and this is the time when the majority of heat loss takes place.

Also, the area you live in and the amount of sun your pool and roof gets is a consideration. In colder areas, like Tasmania, solar heating may not be a good choice for you. It is however perfect for Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and other warmer parts of Australia. Please see our article 4 Top Pool Heating Options to guide you on the pool heating options and what option best suits you.

So let’s jump into it and take a closer look at what you need to get started.

Equipment Required To Build Your...

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When it comes to selecting black or white PVC pipe for plumbing your solar pool heating system, there are some important factors to consider, both generally and locally. While black PVC pipe is available, there are some important reasons you should avoid it if possible. Some Homeowner’s Associations require the use of black pipe on the roof in a shortsighted attempt to make it “look better,” to the detriment of the homeowner in the long run. In this article we will explore the reasons that white PVC plumbing is preferable, and why painting PVC pipe isn’t a great solution.

Split Fitting

Swelling caused this coupling to split and leak.

Collapsed Pipe

Collapsed black PVC pipe from improper vacuum relief.

Split Fitting

Swollen black pipe causes fittings to split or burst.

Pipe Warping

Long horizontal runs cause black pipe to warp.

White Pipe Warped and Discolored

Even white pipe is subject to warping and...

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Solar pool heaters are the simplest and least expensive solar water-heating systems to install and use in a home. The only components needed are solar collectors and some additional valves and piping. Solar heating systems make use of the pump and filter already needed for pool operations.

Solar collectors, typically mounted on the home's roof, absorb heat from the sun. The pool pump pulls water from the pool and forces it through the pool filters, a pressure-relief valve, a check valve, a bypass valve and then through the solar collectors for heating. Once heated, the water flows through piping to the chlorinator (if used) and back into the pool. The solar collectors raise the temperature of the pool water 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit between the inlet and the outlet of the collector. The collector transfers most of the solar energy that strikes it to the water, often operating at 80 percent efficiency or higher. The series of valves added for a solar pool-heating system is...

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Hi everyone,

This is my first post here, on recommendation of someone from another forum who tells me all the smart people are here

I apologise in advance for the long post, but I thought I would put it all into context....

We are planning to install a pool heating system. We are based in Brisbane, have a 8mx4m pool, and the pool receives a reasonable amount of sun during the day, missing out only during the early and late afternoon due to some shading....

Last year we went through the rigmarole of having companies come out and quote on solar pool heating, and in the end were unable to make a decision because of the wide variation of products and opinions... everyone had their own idea of what percentage of pool surface area to put up on the roof, with opinions ranging from 110% right down to 50%!!!!!!! Most companies offered some version of the rubber or PVC black strips, each proclaiming their particular design was the best, and getting specific, without...

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My Homemade Solar Pool Heater

Update April 29, 2015 - If you scroll down you can still see my OLD solar Pool Heater. I believe I was the first of many to do this system but it had many flaws. The vinyl tubing does not stand up to UV radiation and I was constantly fixing leaks. The system was hard to make leak proof so when the pump shut off the water would drain back into the pool allowing air into the coils which would then need to be re-purged by extra work for the pool pump. All this extra load was killing my pool pumps and so I finally took my own advice.

I kept telling people, keep it simple, it's only black hoses in the sun. So here it is, I give you my new pool heater a simple, single run of 1 1/2 PVC pipe. After over 1 year now I am very happy I did this. Absolutely no maintenance, no leaks, easy on the pool pump and the small decrease in efficiency is well worth the lack of problems. These 2 pictures tell the whole story. Enjoy, Andy

*This system could be...

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After much deliberation, I decided to go with 20mm ID pipe and, due to the limitation of the width of the flat roof next to the pool, I added 4 coils, each about 1500mm diameter. Each coil used about 70m of pipe. The remaining off-cuts may very well be used later to add another 1 or 2 coils.

I added 4 ball valves ( for isolation in the event of a failure ) to the 50mm feed pipe, and connected each of the 4 coils to a ball valve.

The return from the 4 coils all feed back into a single 50mm which drains into the second inlet in the pool.

Murphys law, Saturday to Tuesday were all overcast days, so didn't seem to get much heat from the coils. In fact, the weather was so cool on 2 of the days, that I simply closed the master ball valve and by-passed the coils completely.

Wednesday was a great day. The pool started off at 22 celcius (c) in the morning. By mid-day, 23c and afternoon it got to 24c.

Overnight to Thursday morning it lost 1c...

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Home Solar Energy Contractors

Solar Panel systems use arrays of photovoltaic power cells to convert sunlight into electricity. They can fuel anything that is connected to them, including space heaters, water heaters, cooking appliances, and even your pool. Talk to a contactor experienced in solar energy about evaluating your home for the best designs and options for you. Installing a solar energy system in your home will cost more up front, but in the long run, it's going to save you bundles in energy bills, and help the environment at the same time.

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