Any experience or thoughts on solar pool pumps? Any installers in San Diego?

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Submitted by bibsoconner on April 22, 2014 - 2:40pm

Hi,

Anyone here have any experience with DC solar pumps to circulate the pool water? Note, that I'm not talking about heating the pool (although feel free to chime in on that :) ), but rather circulating the pool water (filtering) which needs to be done regardless of whether you are heating the pool or not.

I've found some references:
http://www.awwasc.com/pool
http://www.awwasc.com/documents/lorentz-...

but not many. Perhaps that's a tip-off in itself. It could be that the technology is not ready for prime time.

Currently, I filter the pool for 2 hours a day. When I start heating and/or using the pool more, that amount will have to go up.

When I first moved into my new house, I tried to be the "best dad in the whole world", by heating the pool. I kid you not, the bill for just 1 week was $200.00 (gas & electric). The great majority of that was the pool and can be further broken down into
1. Gas to heat pool
2. Electricity to filter/circulate water.

#1 can be easily taken care of by not striving to be "best dad in the whole world" and telling the kids to jump in the unheated pool. (Actually, it works best just to toss them in).
#2 gets better if you are not heating the pool because you can filter/circulate less, but it's still a big part of our electrical usage. And I do want to use the pool more. Otherwise why have it?

My ultimate dream would be to have solar heating and solar circulating/filtering and be off-grid, but that may not be cost effective. And the DC pumps may not be ready for prime time.*

Any advice?
Anyone know contractors that do the DC solar pumps?
If you know contractors that do the solar heating and just that, I'm also interested (it may turn out that DC pumps are not a good idea).

Thanks,

Dave

*Something can be a great idea but not be ready for prime time. ABS breaks are a great idea, but I don't necessarily want the first car year model to have them. Some say that early front load washers and tankless water heaters were problematic.

Submitted by an on April 22, 2014 - 3:20pm.

Why not just get a solar PV system and a variable speed pump? On top of that, you can get a solar blanket to keep the heat in. That seems to be a better option, since the solar PV system also provide power to the rest of your house instead of just your pool pump. A variable speed pump will help drastically reduce the energy usage. A solar blanket will help keep the heat in the pool and to keep the pool ~5 degrees warmer normally, which will reduce the amount of gas needed to bring the pool temp up.

Submitted by bibsoconner on April 22, 2014 - 4:07pm.

Thanks for the quick reply AN. I'm certainly looking at all options and solar PV system is one of them. I still need to see what type of pump I currently have. I believe it is variable speed but will reconfirm. I don't know if the pool cover is "solar blanket" or not. It's an electrically operated cover (blue and on roller). Bit of a pain actually - the cauter pin broke the first week we moved in.

My interest on just going with a pool solution was sparked by:
1) Pool heating and pumping seems to be the main part of the bill anyhow.
2) The idea of the whole thing being off the grid appeals to me. Also, I'm not 100% confident that the rules for PV systems selling electricity back into the grid won't change. But you're quite right - I need to look into it more. Doing the basic research is quite challenging (at least to me).
Dave

Submitted by an on April 22, 2014 - 4:42pm.

You don't have to get a PV system that put you into the negative. You can get a system big enough to cover your Tier 3&4 usage. I had a Pentair Intelliflo and for most of the year, I have it on speed 2 running for 8 hours a day during the winter/spring/fall and 12 hours a day for summer. I only turn it on speed 4 for a few hours to turn on the heater. It heated my entire pool in ~4-5 hours (on the first day, 2-3 hours on subsequent days) and it last the whole day . My electricity bill without solar PV with those settings were around $150-450/month (depending on how often I use the pool heater and turning the pump on to 4. After solar, my electricity bill were around $5-90/month with similar usage.

Submitted by CA renter on April 23, 2014 - 2:07am.

AN wrote:
You don't have to get a PV system that put you into the negative. You can get a system big enough to cover your Tier 3&4 usage. I had a Pentair Intelliflo and for most of the year, I have it on speed 2 running for 8 hours a day during the winter/spring/fall and 12 hours a day for summer. I only turn it on speed 4 for a few hours to turn on the heater. It heated my entire pool in ~4-5 hours (on the first day, 2-3 hours on subsequent days) and it last the whole day . My electricity bill without solar PV with those settings were around $150-450/month (depending on how often I use the pool heater and turning the pump on to 4. After solar, my electricity bill were around $5-90/month with similar usage.

AN, we're having solar contractors come out this week to give us some bids. We have a very old-school pool pump plus a second pump for the pool vacuum which, I believe, are costing us a lot of money. We would have followed OCR's recommendation to just change that out before getting solar panels -- and plan to do that eventually -- but we also LOVE air conditioning, so the solar panels are pretty much a must for us.

We use very little gas, even in the winter, because we like it very, very cold, but the summer electric bills are killing us!

I was wondering if your bill, especially the one closer to $450, included any air conditioning or if it's just the pool pump (or gas?) that runs it up so high. Also, what size solar system do you have? Anything you wish you had done differently now that you've had your system for awhile?

Submitted by livinincali on April 23, 2014 - 7:34am.

Pool pumps are high energy users. Installing a newer higher efficiency pool pump is going to get the most bang for your buck. Your old pool pump might be taking 50 KWh per week if you're running it 8 hours per day so each hour it's running would be about 0.9 KWh. A newer one might be closer to 0.3 KWh.

Submitted by SD Transplant on April 23, 2014 - 9:23am.

Not to high jack the thread, but does anyone here have recommendations for decent pool remodel/install new equipment companies/contractors?

Submitted by an on April 23, 2014 - 2:35pm.

CAR, the $450 is pool and AC running during the summer. During the winter, where its just the pool pump and household usage, its about $150-$180. My solar system us 3.8kWh. Nothing I would do differently.

Submitted by CA renter on April 23, 2014 - 3:53pm.

Thanks, AN. :)

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