A cutaway of the iSwim panel showing fully open tubes.

Day 3: Two Inch Headers & Plumbing

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This article is part of a series: The 12 Days of Solar Pool Heating

A cutaway of the iSwim panel showing fully open tubes.

A cutaway of the iSwim panel showing fully open tubes.

iSwim Solar Pool Heating Systems feature Two Inch Headers & Plumbing, meaning there is less restriction in the system. Less restriction results in better heating performance. What most people don’t realize is that system performance is a function of flow rate, not panel rating.

Most competitors use 1-1/2″ headers, plumbing, and valves. All of these reduce the potential flow rate in a pool heating system, and reduce your pool water turnover, which is essential for proper sanitation and chemical dispersion. Most importantly, lower flow means lower heat transfer efficiency.

Some manufacturers of panels with 2″ headers stretch the truth about their product. Some are advertising products as 2″ that are actually 2″ outside diameter, not inside diameter. In addition, one manufacturer makes a “2 inch” header that has a threaded insert that effectively reduces inside diameter of the header to 1-1/2″ inches at each end, largely defeating the purpose of a 2″ header.

Virtually all new Florida pools are built using 2″ or larger plumbing throughout we are seeing more and more building code required low-horsepower pumps and variable speed pumps designed to save energy at low operating speeds. Reducing existing pool plumbing to 1-1/2″ inches and causing any restriction in the solar pool heating loop defeats the purpose of today’s efficiently built pools, and reduces heating performance.

In addition to full 2″ headers, we use all 2″ PVC plumbing and 2″ premium serviceable valves in all of our systems, resulting the best possible flow, efficiency, and pool heating performance. Nobody else can claim the same.

You must consider a solar pool heater as a system, not just base your decision on a panel rating done in a vacuum. By using all 2 inch components, we achieve a far better system rating than our competitors.

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