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Thread: Winterizing solar panels

  1. #1
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    Default Winterizing solar panels

    I know that I am WAY ahead of the game, since I have JUST opened the pool, but I installed sungrabber solar panels for an IG pool this year and I have a couple of questions about what to do in the fall when I close the pool.

    1. Why is it, if you have an above ground pool w/ panels you have to remove the panels and store inside??? And why is it ok to leave IG pool panels on the roof over the winter????

    I have installed (5) 2'x20' panels on my roof. I have a 15" slope on the panels that will drain towards the inlet side of the panels. This is above and beyond what the install manual said, to have 1" of drop for every 10'. That is the only information I have gleened about winterizing these panels.

    What is the proper way to winterize the panels for IG pools so I don't open next year to a sprinkler system on my roof????

    Thanks for any and all input. I know, I shouldn't be thinking about closing the pool, just wanted to throw this out and give you all some time to post some thoughts.

    Thanks,
    Ted (TRHOD) North Canton, Ohio
    1974 Anthony 24,000 gal IG vinyl, Hayward sand filter/1hp superpump. (5) 2x20ft sungrabber solar panel roof mounted
    Acquired pool June 2006 Been BBBing ever since

  2. #2
    CarlD's Avatar
    CarlD is offline Super Moderator Vortex Adjuster CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars
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    Default Re: Winterizing solar panels

    The main idea is to have no water in the panels so the water cannot freeze and expand and split the panels.

    The panels get much more rigid and brittle as it gets colder. If they are in 80deg sunshine, they are flexible and roll easily. In 60 deg sunshine they are far stiffer and more difficult to roll. In freezing temperatures, they are impossible to roll and can easily split because they are brittle. Ever leave a garden hose out all winter and see how it's impossible to unroll in the cold? Same idea.

    But on the roof they are away from potential movement and abuse, although severe winds can be a problem.
    Carl

    16'x40' rectangle 19K gal AG vinyl pool; ; Hayward T210 sand filter; Hayward 2 Speed Superpump 1hp pump; hrs; PS 233; PF:6.3

  3. #3
    mas985's Avatar
    mas985 is offline PF Support Team Whizbang Spinner mas985 3 stars mas985 3 stars mas985 3 stars
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    Default Re: Winterizing solar panels

    Do you have a vacuum release valve installed? If not, they will not drain by themselves.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump Run Time Paper; FSEC Solar Panel Information
    18'x36' 20k gallon plaster/gunite pool, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge Filter, 450 sq-ft EPDM Solar Panel, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Default Re: Winterizing solar panels

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985 View Post
    Do you have a vacuum release valve installed? If not, they will not drain by themselves.

    Yes, it has a VRV. The way I understand things, I need to remove the VRV and the inlet pipe, let it drain for 30-40minutes, then replace the VRV and leave the inlet pipe off so it can continue to drain.

    Is there anything else I should/need to do for winterizing the panels??/
    Ted (TRHOD) North Canton, Ohio
    1974 Anthony 24,000 gal IG vinyl, Hayward sand filter/1hp superpump. (5) 2x20ft sungrabber solar panel roof mounted
    Acquired pool June 2006 Been BBBing ever since

  5. #5
    mas985's Avatar
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    Default Re: Winterizing solar panels

    A VRV will open and close on it's own so you don't have to remove it to drain the panels but that may not be what you actually have. Perhaps they just put in a capped port for manual draining?
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump Run Time Paper; FSEC Solar Panel Information
    18'x36' 20k gallon plaster/gunite pool, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge Filter, 450 sq-ft EPDM Solar Panel, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Winterizing solar panels

    So, all I need to do is drain the panels and the lines to the solar panels from water and I should be good to go for winterizing the panels. Is that correct???

    Thanks for you help.

    BLessings,
    Ted (TRHOD) North Canton, Ohio
    1974 Anthony 24,000 gal IG vinyl, Hayward sand filter/1hp superpump. (5) 2x20ft sungrabber solar panel roof mounted
    Acquired pool June 2006 Been BBBing ever since

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Default Re: Winterizing solar panels

    I'm still not sure if you have a VRV or not. A true VRV will allow the panels to drain on their own when the pump is off so nothing is required. However, if you need to open a port to allow the panels to drain, then yes a manual drain is necessary. You might consider installing a real VRV so you don't have to worry about it.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump Run Time Paper; FSEC Solar Panel Information
    18'x36' 20k gallon plaster/gunite pool, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge Filter, 450 sq-ft EPDM Solar Panel, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Winterizing solar panels

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985 View Post
    I'm still not sure if you have a VRV or not. A true VRV will allow the panels to drain on their own when the pump is off so nothing is required. However, if you need to open a port to allow the panels to drain, then yes a manual drain is necessary. You might consider installing a real VRV so you don't have to worry about it.

    The VRV that I have is attached to the panels by a rubber couple and hose clamps. It is about the same size as the 1 1/2" panel header pipe where it attaches to the panel and then tapers outward to approx 2 1/2-3" on the other end. The larger end has holes in it. Inside that part that tapers bigger it has a plastic flap. When the panels have water flowing thru it, the plastic flap pushes tight to the end with the holes in it, which stops water from shooting out that end of the panel. When the water flow to the panels is turned off, the plastic flap will slide down, allowing air into the panels, and allowing the panels to drain. I think this is a true VRV.

    It sounds like I don't need to remove this at all for winterizing, is that correct???

    What else can you tell me about winterizing these panels???
    Ted (TRHOD) North Canton, Ohio
    1974 Anthony 24,000 gal IG vinyl, Hayward sand filter/1hp superpump. (5) 2x20ft sungrabber solar panel roof mounted
    Acquired pool June 2006 Been BBBing ever since

  9. #9
    mas985's Avatar
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    Default Re: Winterizing solar panels

    Yes, that sounds like a true VRV. So you shouldn't need to do anything but turn off the pump to drain the panels.

    However, Sungrabber suggests that the panels be removed and stored before the first frost so they may not be able to survive the winter even if the water is drained from them. But you should problaby check with the manufacture.

    This is from their web site:

    Q. What do I need to do to winterize my system?
    A. The panel must be drained and stored before the first frost. If water is allowed to freeze in the panel, it may cause freeze damage. To winterize your system:
    1. Turn off your pool pump.
    2. Place the plugs given to you with your pool in the inlet and outlet of the pool.
    3. Disconnect both of the hoses from the hose barbs on the solar heater. Disconnect the hose from the pool inlet. Connect the hose from the pump to the inlet on the pool.
    4. Remove the plugs from the inlet and outlet of the pool and check the hose clamps you just tightened for leaks.
    5. Unscrew the white drain plug that's located on the panel end opposite the inlet and outlet.
    6. Roll the panel and secure using the yellow/black -carrying strap. Tilt panel until water no longer comes out. Replace drain plug, and store the panel and plumbing in the garage or a shed until next spring.
    It sounds as though the water in the panels is the issue and would not be a problem if drained properly but they still suggest that they are removed. Other panels can be left up during the winter but is seems as though these cannot.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump Run Time Paper; FSEC Solar Panel Information
    18'x36' 20k gallon plaster/gunite pool, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge Filter, 450 sq-ft EPDM Solar Panel, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Winterizing solar panels

    I read that same thing in my installation manual, but was confused as to how I was supposed to remove the panels from the roof. Afterall, I have 3" lag bolts going thru my roof holding the straps down that hold the panels in place.
    Am I supposed to remove the straps each year to get the panels down??

    The other thing, I called the companies helpline when I was installing the panels. They told me that as long as I had the IG panels and had a slope on the panels of at least 1" for every 10' of panel, all I need to winterize them is pull off the inlet plumbing line to the panel, let it drain, and I am good to go. I don't need to take the panels inside. The lady told me if I had AG panels I would need to store them inside.

    I don't understand this.
    Ted (TRHOD) North Canton, Ohio
    1974 Anthony 24,000 gal IG vinyl, Hayward sand filter/1hp superpump. (5) 2x20ft sungrabber solar panel roof mounted
    Acquired pool June 2006 Been BBBing ever since

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