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Old 02-16-2014, 03:36 PM
 
Location: Lemon Bay, Englewood, FL
3,178 posts, read 5,379,614 times
Reputation: 1162

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There are various studies showing a variety of manufactures heating results. There is no "best" overall. Three of the pool builders I had quote used only Helicol. I researched and found Fafco panels were also very popular and have good BTU heating ability. But, the pool builder I chose stands by and provides warranty work for Helicol, so that's what I have and so far, after 3 years, we like it.
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Cape Coral, FL
25 posts, read 58,632 times
Reputation: 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbor Hopper View Post
There are various studies showing a variety of manufactures heating results. There is no "best" overall. Three of the pool builders I had quote used only Helicol. I researched and found Fafco panels were also very popular and have good BTU heating ability. But, the pool builder I chose stands by and provides warranty work for Helicol, so that's what I have and so far, after 3 years, we like it.
That's interesting, because as far as I know, the only company that can do warranty work for Heliocol (the manufacturer) is the Heliocol dealer. Pool builders are not able to support the manufacturer's warranty. That's not limited to Heliocol - that's all brands and dealers. The builder probably just calls the dealer when there is a problem, but they don't directly back the warranty.

Lots of pool builders recommend the cheapest equipment possible to seal the deal on a pool sale (not all - there are lots of premium pool builders out there). For example, I can't tell you how many are installing two-speed pumps over variable speed pumps to meet the Florida Building Code just to save a few hundred bucks and show the best quote. They usually just set the pump on the high speed anyway, and some are skirting the law by not even installing two-speed controls. This doesn't do you, the pool owner, any good. Two-speed pumps usually don't do either speed well, they are not well integrated with heating sources, including solar, and they result in lower energy savings than otherwise attainable.

Anyway... I digress. Heliocol is a cheaper brand. There's not other way to put it. The other two major players can't touch their price usually. If you want the cheapest price with acceptable performance, you may be very happy with their product. In fact, they do have many happy customers like Harbor Hopper. If you want the best product, the best performance, and to be even happier, I recommend a full body panel, regardless of what brand you choose.

Finally, you should take all of the studies and ratings with a grain of salt. "Test conditions" are rarely "real world" conditions. Solar panels are not like traditional heating sources. There are many more variables to take into account other than BTU rating. The BTU rating is not as important as for a heat pump or gas heater comparison. However, one thing is certain - a full body panel will always outperform a separated tube panel on average, and especially when it counts (when you need heating the most).
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:39 AM
 
Location: Lemon Bay, Englewood, FL
3,178 posts, read 5,379,614 times
Reputation: 1162
What I meant was that my pool builder did the install themselves, not the dealer, and if there were a problem, they would be the ones to remove/replace any defective components.
I LOVE my 2-speed pump. I actually requested this during the quoting process. A variable speed pump was WAY too expensive. I adjust the setting all the time based on my filtering and heating needs. But I'm a hands-on guy. Most people probably don't even know how to adjust the valves for a solar heating system, let alone flip a toggle on a pump from hi to low.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:53 AM
 
Location: Cape Coral, FL
25 posts, read 58,632 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbor Hopper View Post
What I meant was that my pool builder did the install themselves, not the dealer, and if there were a problem, they would be the ones to remove/replace any defective components.
I LOVE my 2-speed pump. I actually requested this during the quoting process. A variable speed pump was WAY too expensive. I adjust the setting all the time based on my filtering and heating needs. But I'm a hands-on guy. Most people probably don't even know how to adjust the valves for a solar heating system, let alone flip a toggle on a pump from hi to low.

A Variable Speed pump is inherently more efficient at any speed (brushless DC motor). Why settle for two speeds when you have have over 600 speeds to select? If you do the math, despite the higher initial cost, it's a much better long-term investment. Considering the energy savings and the longer expected service life, a variable speed pump typically costs about half that of a 1.5HP two-speed pump, even when considering the time value of money at a discount rate of 6%... and that's conservative. I've already saved over $1,500 in reduced energy costs with my variable speed pump - far more than the difference between the two options.

The other problem with a two-speed pump is that the high speed may be sized correctly for solar operation, but it is unnecessarily high for virtually all other high-speed tasks (rapid filtration and chemical dispersion, skimming, vacuuming, etc.) On the flip side, a two-speed pump may be sized correctly for a pool initially, but adding solar results in a sub-optimal flow rate. A variable speed pump also let's you "dial in" a perfect speed for heating and features like spillover effects and fountains. Optimizing the balance between heating performance and energy savings can only truly be achieved with a variable speed pump.

You're right in that most people don't understand the first thing about valves, automation, and pump speeds on their own pool. That's where a good automation system that is properly connected and programmed for variable speed pumps comes into play.
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Old 02-18-2014, 03:22 PM
 
1,917 posts, read 2,342,021 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Szumlanski View Post
A Variable Speed pump is inherently more efficient at any speed (brushless DC motor). Why settle for two speeds when you have have over 600 speeds to select? If you do the math, despite the higher initial cost, it's a much better long-term investment. Considering the energy savings and the longer expected service life, a variable speed pump typically costs about half that of a 1.5HP two-speed pump, even when considering the time value of money at a discount rate of 6%... and that's conservative. I've already saved over $1,500 in reduced energy costs with my variable speed pump - far more than the difference between the two options.

The other problem with a two-speed pump is that the high speed may be sized correctly for solar operation, but it is unnecessarily high for virtually all other high-speed tasks (rapid filtration and chemical dispersion, skimming, vacuuming, etc.) On the flip side, a two-speed pump may be sized correctly for a pool initially, but adding solar results in a sub-optimal flow rate. A variable speed pump also let's you "dial in" a perfect speed for heating and features like spillover effects and fountains. Optimizing the balance between heating performance and energy savings can only truly be achieved with a variable speed pump.

You're right in that most people don't understand the first thing about valves, automation, and pump speeds on their own pool. That's where a good automation system that is properly connected and programmed for variable speed pumps comes into play.
$1500 is a lot of money can you please explain further how you came to this amount?

I have a single speed pump and would be interested in making a change if it makes sense.

Thanks Gary
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Old 02-18-2014, 03:32 PM
 
Location: Cape Coral, FL
25 posts, read 58,632 times
Reputation: 22
I'm saving $45 per month. I replaced a two HP pump that cost $73/month to operate 10 hours a day to get the needed turnover. I now spend $28/month to operate my pump 20 hours a day at various speeds to achieve the same turnover and provide enough flow for my salt generator. I've had my pump for three years, which is over $1,500 in electricity savings.

Admittedly, my 20k gallon pool is larger than average in this area. Your savings may vary.
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:57 AM
 
Location: Port Charlotte, FL - Dallas, PA
3,787 posts, read 3,728,704 times
Reputation: 3422
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Szumlanski View Post
I'm saving $45 per month. I replaced a two HP pump that cost $73/month to operate 10 hours a day to get the needed turnover. I now spend $28/month to operate my pump 20 hours a day at various speeds to achieve the same turnover and provide enough flow for my salt generator. I've had my pump for three years, which is over $1,500 in electricity savings. .....
How are you figuring out how much it cost to operate the pump? I would surmise that you don't have a meter on the pump itself. Is there a formula to calculate its electrical usage by knowing its volts and maximum amperage on the motor plate? Just because it's rated at, for example 6.7 maximum amps, does it mean that it always operates at that load?

Also, I imagine that it's not as easy as swapping out a single-speed pump for a two-speed or variable-speed pump. They must need some kind of automatic switch to control what speed they operate at. How much does that add to the cost?

Not debating your numbers, just trying to learn so that I can figure it out myself.
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:48 AM
 
Location: Cape Coral, FL
25 posts, read 58,632 times
Reputation: 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikMal View Post
How are you figuring out how much it cost to operate the pump? I would surmise that you don't have a meter on the pump itself. Is there a formula to calculate its electrical usage by knowing its volts and maximum amperage on the motor plate? Just because it's rated at, for example 6.7 maximum amps, does it mean that it always operates at that load?

Also, I imagine that it's not as easy as swapping out a single-speed pump for a two-speed or variable-speed pump. They must need some kind of automatic switch to control what speed they operate at. How much does that add to the cost?

Not debating your numbers, just trying to learn so that I can figure it out myself.
The most accurate way to determine electricity usage is to puts a ammeter on your pump wires, which is relatively easy for a technician to do. The rated specs are at full load, and may not be the most reliable, but can get you in the ballpark. Still, you will not know the power factor, so determining kilowatts is tough.

There are tons of calculators out there that will get you very close. Pentair's is among the best at Pool Pump Calculator

Many variable speed pumps have electronic timers built right in that set up speeds based on schedules. Overriding scheduled speeds is a button press on the pump. If you have features that require different pump speeds, a controller is advisable, but not always required. You will balance heating performance with energy savings with a suitable controller. If you have an existing automation system, there is a good chance that it is already capable of handling Solar.
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Old 02-25-2014, 05:08 AM
 
4 posts, read 8,315 times
Reputation: 10
There are many types of solar heating systems and first you have to decide that which one you want to install and then order any solar pool heater. about hiring some service you have to call the best service provider in the town and fix the price before starting the work.
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Old 02-25-2014, 10:03 PM
 
Location: Port Charlotte
1,721 posts, read 2,483,035 times
Reputation: 383
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldfart1947 View Post
The one thing I forgot to mention, if I had a tile roof, then I would stay away from solar panels. I would then go with the heat pump.

If you have a tile roof, then you can probably afford the electric bill........LOL
why would you stay away? my last house had a tile roof and when I did s pool I went with the roof solar heater the tubes no trouble in 6 years
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