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Question DetailsAsked on 2/16/2018

Is it safe to cap off 2 water lines of pool solar heater 1 by 1 then remove without harm pump and gas heat system ?

I just bought this old house with an old powerstip solar pool heater . Too many broken tiles
under those strips caused bad leaks from the roof . I want to haul them away to restore the roof and NOT putting them back .
This pool water heater system is both solar and gas together : cool pool water goes to pump , to filter , to solar stripes on the roof then returns to gas heater then this really warm water now goes back to pool .
I want to remove solar system and keep gas water heater for my pool .
My question is :
Do I need to cap off water 2 water lines , to and from solar strips on the roof , one by one separately for that purpose or I need to loop them instead ? What method is safer ?
I want to do the job by myself and don't want to harm the pool pumping - heating system since they are all connected .

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1 Answer


As you describe it, pump to filter (presumably right next to each other) then a loop out through the solar panel on the roof, then back to the main line and on to the heater then to the pool - if you cap the lines to and from the roof you cut off water to the heater and back to the pool and stall out the pump - you would have to connect those two lines together to maintain continuity to the heater and pool, same as if the lines originally ran from filter to heater without any solar panel.

Since you are dramatically shortening the flow path through the system and eliminating the lift to the roof, you are likely to get a lot more flow through the system than before. This will reduce the resident time in the heater - meaning the water going to the pool will be cooler than before unless the flow rate is throttled correctly, not only because of the higher flow rate through the heater but also because there will be no solar pre-heating.

This will also of course mean a lot higher gas bill for the heater - and in fact in cooler or cloudy conditions the existing heater, which was presumably designed with the solar heating in mind, may not be able to keep up. This may cause it to run continuously, which is a definite safety hazard if gas as opposed to electric, so the matching of flowrate with heater capacity (in the manual if not on nameplate) is important to have it work right.

I would say you may want to do the job yourself, but I would at least get a professional pool design/installation/repair company in there to consult with you on the total system function without the solar panels, so you do not get into trouble.

And if the heater itself is not high enough capacity for your locale and pool size, you will have to decide on putting in an additional heat source, replacing and upsizing the existing heater, or maybe getting a floating solar blanket for the pool surface.

The latter is commonly about as effective or even more so than a rooftop solar collector, especially as it is not only generally larger but also eliminates most of the evaporative and convective heat losses from the water surface, which is a major source of your heating demand. Also keeps pool cleaner, though if large pool does require a reefing system to coil it up for pool use, and of course generally lasts 5-10 years, not many decades, though supposedly some of the kevlar-reinforced ones are promising a lot longer lives.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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