Propane heater vs Solar

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  #1  
Old 01-07-06, 07:17 AM
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Propane heater vs Solar

In my new (to me) house I have an inground pool (16x32) with an approx. 8ft jacuzzi. This is heated by a StaRite SR333 333k BTU/hr unit. I've yet to use the pool so I have no idea as to the consumption or efficiency of the unit. The PO had a new computer control unit put in before closing.

The property has a nice north orientation giving me unobstructed, full southern exposure in the back yard & pool area. Would solar heat be a reasonable consideration? I have a large dirt area on one side of the house (by pool equipment) that's a "dead area" other than the leech field located there. A ground rack seems better than a roof mount (flat roof) to me and that area would be perfect.

(With the way the price of gas is going) would the investment return on solar, in general, be that quick as opposed to use of the propane heater?

From what I hear, the propane heater can really suck the wallet up.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-08-06, 04:21 PM
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Heaters

If you plan on heating the entire pool then Solar is definately a viable heater, Especially if you have a southern exposure. I personnaly don't like solar applications on the ground as they can easily get damaged, so I prefer the roof install. If you are just heating the spa the Sta-Rite is one of the best choices. It is a very efficient unit compared to some other models. I always recommend them on Spas I build because most people only use them a few times a week at most and the can heat the water rather fast. Hope this helps.
 
  #3  
Old 01-09-06, 02:05 AM
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Thanks - yes it does help. Hearing you recommend the StaRite is good. I'm a first time "real" pool owner so, to quote Sgt. Shultz, I know nothing! Last pool I owned, I had to blow up and stick a hose in it for 10 minutes.

The spa portion is one of those that spill over into the pool, and I guess with all the sun, the pool will get some warmth to it .

In regards to the solar on the ground - the area it would use is "dead" area, as far as usage, so there would be no human factors to consider. I would think some sort of wind screen or some sort of protection on the perimeter would help with nature throwing yard stuff at it. I do see the point of a roof mount having it "out of the way" and untouchable.

What other considerations should I have as far as the source of potential damage to the ground-array, if I ever did go that route for the entire pool?
 
  #4  
Old 01-09-06, 04:17 PM
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Solar

If you do a ground install make sure it is far enough away from any buildings and trees that could shadow it at different times during the day. Remember that this time of year the sun is very low on the horizon so differnt shadows are cast than in the summer. If yard mowing and such is not a potential problem then there probably is no other reason except for the shadow factors.
 
  #5  
Old 01-10-06, 06:41 AM
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Thanks. I was hoping it was "normal" stuff to be worried about. If it's just a matter of being careful in day to day things, there would be no problems. Some razor wire and 50 calibers mounted on the corners will take care of the rest !

The area doesn't seem to be subject to any real shadow problems so I think I might have a winner here. I'll be watching my consumption this first year of use and will decide after the season but it seems like free money to me.

I'm sure I'll be back next year with questions about the solar heater.

Thanks for the advice! This place is great!
 
  #6  
Old 01-14-06, 07:21 AM
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solar vs propane

All the replies are great. I also would recommend making an off ground mounting for the solar panels. We used 2x4's and marine plywood we painted black and created a lean-to type to mount the panels so the bottom was 3 feet off the ground. This helps to keep animals away and doing damage to the panels. Also, i would keep the heater attached to the pool pipes just incase you need more heat in the pool. use it as a backup.
 
  #7  
Old 01-14-06, 08:18 AM
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Keeping the heater in the loop makes sense to me. Some links that I've come across have diagrams and show the heater still in the loop as a back-up and/or "helper".

That, and elevating the array somewhat, all sounds like good advice. Thanks.
 
  #8  
Old 01-14-06, 02:03 PM
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Panels ground mounted

Have a 20' x 40' pool with an 8' spa next to it. After five bids and somewhat extensive study on panel location, we decided to have it ground mounted.
13 solar panels were mounted on redwood with 3 ft clearance off the ground sloping about 15 deg southwardly and a 200 ft run to the pool eq. What was expected, happened. We wuz' right - it leaked! I only noticed it when I saw ground indentation under the panel connections. They had to come twice to correct the problem. If it was roof mounted, it was out of sight until stain (?)appears on your ceiling.
 
  #9  
Old 01-14-06, 05:19 PM
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Thanks for the input, jun54e.

I can rival Murphy with things but it is usually directly proportionate to the expense.

That was the main reason for my looking at the yard for it. A lot easier to eye-ball at any time and, I would imagine easier to repair. I figure with having all that dead yard space I could rest easier at night. Otherwise I would just be waiting with a pail somewhere in the house - knowing and waiting...
 
  #10  
Old 01-28-06, 11:29 AM
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Capt Murphy? I see him all the time. lol. Incurred additional expense for the ground mount - good value anyway.
 
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