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MaddMatt

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Reply with quote  #1 

I was in the process of building my first dual pass hot air collector when it occurred to me that come summer time I could also use a solar heater for my 8' hillbilly hot tub (horse trough plunge pool).

So my questions is whether or not I can use the same box? In the winter, I put the screens in and hook up the snap thermostat to start the blower. In the summer, I would mount a black hose inside and hook the snap switch up to start the water pump and open the valve.

I'll say right off that this is already on the grid so it's only supplemental home heat and the pool would just be a nice bi-product so efficiencies aren't the most important thing other than the bonus of using the same box.

Anyone do this that can point out some things to watch out for? I always appreciate learning from other's mistakes :-)


Thanks!

MaddMatt

SolarInterested

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Reply with quote  #2 
Welcome Matt. Temperatures inside a collector can get hot enough to melt some plastic pipes especially when there's no flow. Most hydronic collectors use copper pipe because of this although some have had success with PEX.
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Both temperature rise and airflow are integral to comparing hot air collectors
MaddMatt

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Reply with quote  #3 

SI,

Thank for that info. I'll put more thought into the type of hose I use.  

In "Summer Mode", there will be two 4" holes out the back where it would normally attach to the vents in the house. Will I get enough airflow escaping to minimize the heat build up? Or will the cool water coming in help keep the temp down?

These might be questions that won't be answered until next summer when trials begin!

Other than ensuring a tight seal when closed, will there be issues with hinging the clear plastic panels?

Thanks everyone

MM

stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #4 
I think a small computer fan fitted over the open inlet during "summer mode" would keep the unit from overheating.  You could control it with a snap switch near the outlet.

Hot tubs don't require really high temperatures... rather than take the collector apart to install hose in it, why not put a used automotive heater core or other type heat exchanger over the outlet, to scavenge the heat the fan forces out.  The chlorine will eventually damage an aluminum heater core, but would be easily replaced.  A copper tube HVAC HEX is much more durable, but also more expensive.

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MaddMatt

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #5 
Hmm... something else to ponder.

I suppose I should get the "Winter Mode" built now since we've had the furnace on for the past month. I can figure out "summer mode" in the spring!

Thanks for the ideas, keep them coming!

Matt
SolarInterested

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Reply with quote  #6 
Some pool heating ideas. You may not need to put the hose inside your collector.
http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/PoolHeating/pool_heating.htm

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Both temperature rise and airflow are integral to comparing hot air collectors
sundug

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Reply with quote  #7 
I finally have my hot tub heater working well. 
http://simplysolar.supporttopics.com/post/new-evacuated-tube-spa-swh-7477891?pid=1304990455
Black plastic tubing melted too easily, type A PEX is working well. I bypassed the high limit switch which caused the collector to stagnate. I now use a roll up shade during the summer to prevent overheating. Most metals react with spa chemicals, so stay with plastics.  The 4x8' collector will overheat the well insulated tub in summer, but needs supplementing in winter.

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jezter6

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Reply with quote  #8 
Sorry I'm still a noob on the whole solar front, but I am very interested in your hillbilly hot tub.

I too have been looking at some various feed troughs to make a "makeshift" hot tub (though I'd like mine to be heated with the hydronic system all year round).

Curious as to if you insulated it, how you're insulating it, what you've done for seating and of course the important water jetting.

If this derails your solar thread, maybe a second thread about your hot tub would be cool for those of us looking to do something similar (even if it's not entirely solar related)

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