Go Back   EcoRenovator > Improvements > Solar Power
Advanced Search

Blog 60+ Home Energy Saving Tips Recent Posts Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-08-12, 07:55 PM   #1
Lurking Renovator
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: California
Posts: 1
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Collector Circ Pump for Small Pool

I am planning to fabricate an open-loop, 4'x8' solar collector utilizing 81 feet of serpentined 1/2" ePEX tubing (yes, the tubing will be totally protected from direct sunlight). The PEX tubing has an inside diameter in the range of 0.461" to 0.509". At this length, the total volume within the collector computes to approximately 0.70 to 0.86 gallons of water.

Initially, I will use just one collector panel, with the option of adding a second one, based on need and degree of success.

I will be mounting the collector(s) in an optimally-pointed location (with adjustable angle) on the roof of the pool house for a small (~3000 gallon) above-ground pool (3 psi head - top of collector to surface of pool). So, I will need a small circulation pump (no, I cannot use the system pump - it does not have sufficient capacity beyond what is needed for filtration).

What formulas and/or rules-of-thumb can anyone suggest to determine minimum, optimum, maximum flow rate (gph) for said pump, in order to maximize solar gain (or more specifically, transfer of heat into the pool)?

If a second collector is added (same elevation), should it be in parallel or series with the first?

RSquirrel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-12, 10:10 PM   #2
Lex Parsimoniae
Xringer's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Woburn, MA
Posts: 4,897
Thanks: 111
Thanked 248 Times in 228 Posts

In electronics, resistance in parallel increases the flow.
Picture the pump's output hose changed to twice the diameter.
My guess, that series would make the pump work harder.

I think the heat inside (under the glass) of the last panel of a series array, is the hottest.
So, it seems logical that series will give you hotter water, but at less GPM.
Whereas Parallel would give you more water that's less hot.

Kinda seems like the amount of BTUs per sq foot is going to be the same, regardless of configuration.
Except for one thing. If water is already really hot in the last collector,
then perhaps it's not going to be as easy for the sun to add more heat.

Picture water coming into a collector that's already outrageously hot.
It seems like water coming into a coil that's lukewarm would be easier to heat.

Picture putting 5 pound block of copper on the stove, and heating it to 400F.
Not too hard to do, shouldn't take too long.

Then, After it's at 400F, leave the gas setting the same and see how long it takes to get the block on up to 800F.
My guess is, it's going to take a lot longer than it did to get it to 400F.
(I've never done this.. So, I might be wrong)!
My hobby is installing & trying to repair mini-splits
EPA 608 Type 1 Technician Certification ~ 5 lbs or less..
Xringer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-12, 06:20 PM   #3
Apprentice EcoRenovator
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Simcoe County, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 102
Thanks: 11
Thanked 15 Times in 10 Posts

I have a similar setup heatig my small (1700 Imp. gallon) pool. It consists of about 300 feet of 1" poly, fed by a submersible marine bilge pump powered by a 20 watt solar panel.

There are no control devices, the pump runs when it's sunny, and doesn't when it clouds over.

A couple of hydraulic fundamentals will help you in your design. The head elevation will be offset equally by the fall as the water leaves your collector and returns to the pool, a siphon effect if you will. So the power required to pump "up" will be supplemented by the gain of the falling water on the return side. This is assuming that there is no vent in the loop, this would break the siphon.
Parallel conductors reduce the "friction loss", allowing a pump to pump a lot more water. Splitting the flow into two same diameter, same length pipes will allow four times the water to flow while the pump does virtually the same work. It may be to your advantage to split the pex within your collector. More water will flow through your collector, and your pump will not have to work as hard.
I don't really know if flow rate are that critical- slow flows will produce hotter water, faster flows will produce more water, but at a lower temperature. The net energy gain is the same, but it seems more rewarding to feel hotter water flowing into your pool. The only other consideration is that you can use a smaller pump to pump at lower flow rate, maybe saving some money on the purchase.
herlichka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-12, 09:23 AM   #4
Solar Southwest Florida
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Fort Myers, FL
Posts: 8
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

You could always just go with a purpose-built solar pool pump like the Lorentz PS600 system, but there are flow issues at low irradiance levels (not enough flow through solar panels to get desired heating performance).

SolarSouthwestFlorida is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:12 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Ad Management by RedTyger
Inactive Reminders By Icora Web Design