DIY Solar Pool Heater Questions


Old 08-03-14, 04:55 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 11
DIY Solar Pool Heater Questions

Alright so I want to make a pool heater such as this one,
Screenshot by Lightshot
Screenshot by Lightshot

But the only problem is that I only get sunlight behind my garage which is about 50 feet away from my pool.

Here are my questions.
1. I need to run about 70 feet of pvc tubing underground before I get to the solar heaters and 70 feet back. Is running pvc tubing underground going to make the water cool off faster? Should a just make it above ground (will look uglier) and spray paint it back to keep the heat or can I leave it underground and find a way to insulate the pipe if that is an issue?

2. My pump is 1hp and since I have to make the water travel 70 feet to the solar heaters tubing and back will that be good enough? I don't think pressure matters really. I also think that having the water travel slower will make it heat up more while in the solar heaters.

3. As mentioned in question 1 if running the pvc piping underground is good, how can I insulate the pvc piping if possible?
Sponsored Links
Old 08-03-14, 07:20 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 18,729
1. Of course long runs of tubing sill rob efficiency. Insulation can help considerable so above or below ground won't be so much an issue.

2. The motor's hp does not matter as much as the pumps design and how much flow you want. I would not use the pools filtration pump for a solar heating system.

3. Insulated piping is available so there is no need to re-create the wheel.

The big problem with the system in your photograph is that there is a whole lot of resistance through the tubing. It's simple to build but wastes a lot of your pump's power. You may want to consider purchasing the collector to have a more efficient and free flowing design without the difficulty of fabricating it.
Old 08-03-14, 07:43 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 11
Thank you for the quick reply.

1. So going underground with insulated pvc pipes would work correct?

2. I would rather stay away from a dedicated pump for solar heating if possible. Do you think if I attach a 1/2" pvc pipe to the end of my filter so it could to my solar heaters and that it would keep the minimum amount of pressure to efficiency to operate?
Something like this? 1/2 in. x 10 ft. PVC Sch. 40 Plain-End Pipe-530048 at The Home Depot

Here is my pump. Do you think it will be good enough to run all the tubing?

3. Can you link me to some insulated pvc piping that is safe to put underground? I have searched all over google and I only found the foamy stuff that goes over the piping.

Also you don't have to worry about the resistance. I will try to keep the hosing very circular as to not kink it and create unnecessary pressure buildup.
Old 08-03-14, 08:15 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 48,439
You have to allow almost full flow of water thru the pump. Most pool pumps are designed with 1-1/2" piping. If you try to push all that water thru your very small solar tubing the pump will not last very long. Usually a second pump is used for solar but if you need to use one read on.

Look at my diagram. You'll see two T's in the return line. These T's are your connection point to the system. The valve will normally stay about 75% open so that the bulk of the water travels back to the pool. In theory, 25% would pass thru your solar tubing. The valve position is strictly experimental. You should be able, by feel, to determine if enough water is passing thru the solar stuff based on heat. Two additional valves allow you to shutoff or disconnect the solar pipes.

Name:  solar.jpg
Views: 792
Size:  16.3 KB
Old 08-04-14, 06:09 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 18,729
I think the core problem is the solar heater you linked has very high resistance just within the heater. Add to that the 140 feet of piping to get to and from your pool and you're certain to need a separate, higher pressure lower flow pump.

As for the insulated piping start searching for "insulated PEX". It's commonly used with heating systems like a geothermal heat pump or exterior wood fired boiler. It's also used when connecting separate buildings to a central heating boiler.


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
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes