(C) Daniel FriedmanGas Collection in Solar Collectors
Swimming Pool Heating Solar Panel Gas Problems

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Solar collectors for swimming pool heating:

This article discusses the question gas or air accumulation in solar collectors, and a possible solar collector corrosion problem with swimming pool heaters.

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Overnight Gas (air) Accumulation vs. Corrosion in Solar Collectorsutton to return to this page

The question-and-answer article about the overnight accumulation of a gas (probably air) in a solar collector used for swimming pool heating, quotes-from, updates, and comments an original article from Solar Age Magazine and written by Steven Bliss.

What Causes an Overnight Accumulation of Gas in my Solar Collector used as a Swimming Pool Heater? Corrosion?

Question: There is an overnight accumulation of gas in the solar panels that heat my swimming pool. When the solar heating system pump turns on in the morning, a small amount of gas (perhaps a quart) comes out of the discharge line. I suspected a leak in the solar collectors but found none when the water was pumped at about 15 psi.

I am concerned that this solar collector gas accumulation may indicate corrosion involving the copper solar collectors and the chemicals in the swimming pool water. Is it possible that this is dissolved gas released overnight, owing to reduced pressure in the solar panels caused by the weight of water trying to return to the swimming pool? - R.H., Lake Charles, LA.

Answer: As you suspect, the gas in your collector is quite probably nothing more than air that has come out of solution in the swimming pool water left in the collector overnight. Air developing in the solar collector in this installation would happen for two reasons:

What About Solar Collector Corrosion Due to Chemicals in Swimming Pool Water?

According to Doug Root, of the Florida Solar Energy Center, there have been very few cases of actual corrosion of copper collectors by swimming pool water. In the few cases that have been documented, the pool chemicals dissolved in the swimming pool water have been grossly out of balance - such as an excessive level of chlorine.

Technical Tip for Removing Air From Swimming Pool Solar Collector Systems

Air scoop and air purge valve atop a heating boiler (C) Daniel Friedman

Air accumulating in water in hydronic home heating systems (hot water boilers) is a well-known problem for which at least two components are in common use that may help automatically purge unwanted air or other gases from inside the solar collector plumbing system: [Added, DJF, 10/2009]

Here we include solar energy, solar heating, solar hot water, and related building energy efficiency improvement articles reprinted/adapted/excerpted with permission fromSolar Age Magazine - editor Steven Bliss.

Photo a rooftop mounted site-built solar collector at page top courtesy of Bob Cheney.

Also see SOLAR COLLECTOR OUTGASSING for more discussion of possible causes of outgassing from a solar collector. Contact us to suggest text changes and additions and, if you wish, to receive online listing and credit for that contribution.


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