Day in the Sun

1) Place the solar collectors on a south-facing roof. There won’t always be a way to make the collectors face directly south, but ensure they get as much sun exposure as possible. The collectors are flexible and the number used depends on the size of the pool to be heated. This installation had six collectors, while those with bigger pools might require nine or 10.

2) A rubber coupling is used to join the individual collectors.

3) The pipes at the bottom of each collector should be fitted together.

4) Brackets are used to hold the collectors to the roof at the top and bottom. In this case, lag bolts were placed through the brackets and into roof tiles. Other types of roofs may dictate a different approach.

5) Poly-coated stainless steel straps are used to keep the collectors from billowing up in a high wind.

6) The old single-speed pump is removed and a new variable-speed model is prepared for installation. Afterwards, a sensor will go into the line to test the water temperature from the pool. Another sensor checks the roof temperature. A four- to seven-degree differential activates the system.

7) Meanwhile, the return line is fitted to the top of the collectors. When the collectors are operating, water from the pool will come into the collectors from the bottom and be heated as it rises through. It will then be returned to the pool.

8) The return line comes down from the top of the collectors to where the intake pipe brings filtered water from the equipment pad.

9) The lines are attached to the side of the house, while holes are cut in the roof to accept the pipes.

10) Water lines are directed through the roof down to the equipment pad.

11) Electrical lines are run into the new control box on the side of the house.

12) The PVC pipes are painted to match the color of the roof. The pipes on the side of the house were similarly painted the color of the stucco. The crew had an uncanny ability to mix paint shades from a few basic colors they carried in their truck.

13) The actuator is installed, and the electrical hookups are made to the pump.

14) Success! There is warm water coming out of the jets in the pool.

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