What tips do you have about integrating solar pool heating systems into existing pools with in-floor cleaners? With the high head pressures required by these cleaners, many existing pumps are not capable of the flow rates needed for effective solar pool heating, especially with the additional head pressure from solar panel systems.

Short of a booster pump, returning via other pool returns (if present) is an obvious choice, and can be accomplished with automation during solar heating. 

Any other thoughts about this?

Jason Szumlanski

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  • Jason,

    Have you found an answer to your question?

    My understanding of infloor systems, is you need 60GPM per zone. And isn't that about the flow rate needed to satisfy the solar system?


    Florida Leisure Pool & Spa


    • It's not really the flow rate, but the pressure that is a requirement of in-floor cleaners - usually 20PSI. The problem is that if the pressure is already in the mid-20's, especially with added head from 1-1/2" suction plumbing, you are on the flat part of the pump curve and any additional head results in dramatically reduced flow.

      I guess one question is how much head is added by the valve cleaner manifold itself? That would be easy enough to bypass. I suspect, however, that the majority of the pressure is added by the in-floor pop-up head.

      • Hi Jason, the problem does not seem to be the pump or the cleaning system but most likely the plumbing size.  The succion plumbing on any In-Floor system should be at least 2.5" if not even 3".  1.5" plumbing would be adequate for a maximum 3/4 HP pump which would not run the In-Floor.

        The solar does not need a lot of flow - approx. 1/10th GPM per Sq. Ft. of collector on average and generally does add a significant amount of head due to the rise to the roof.  It sounds like the system design has problems on the plumbing end that can not be corrected any other way.

        With this plumbing a bigger pump would just cavitate and not push any additional water.  A "bypass" could be designed to isolate both systems from each other bypassing the In-floor when in the "Solar" mode and bypassing the solar when in the "In-Floor" mode.  That would help a little but would require automatic controls and motorized valzes, then setting the "Solar" cycle for day time and the "Cleaning" cycle for night.  That is just about the only way to improve this system without larger pipe.

        Best wishes on the fix!  

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