Black Specks Coming From My Solar Panels

by Mike

Any suggestions to clear up black specks that look like bits of rubber coming from my panels. My system is 16 years old. I contacted the company and they told me it should clear up on its own in a couple of weeks.

It has been over three weeks with no luck.

Do you think I might have to replace the panels? Thanks

Thanks for the question Mike

Through my experience with pools since 1999 I've found that the average life span for pool solar panels is about 20 years. Even FAFCO, one of the biggest solar panel manufacturers say on their website that most will last between 15 - 20 years.

Your system fits right in there. Without actually testing the panels and a visual it's hard to tell but chances are if the panels are not failing at the moment they probably will within a short period of time. I saw some panels on my pool route that were over 20 years old but they were the exception.

I can't tell you to replace them at the moment but it might be something to consider. This is just my opinion.

You may want a rep to come out and give you there opinion as well.

Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


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Salt Water (Chlorine) Pool Or Traditional Chlorine Pool & Heating

by Charla Gautierre
(Tampa, FL, USA)

I am planning on building a house soon and will be putting in a pool.

So, I am interested in the difference between the types of systems? Which is best with a solar heating system in terms of efficiency and, of course, cost. The approx. finish size of the pool will be 15' x 19' x 5'in the center.

How do I know what the approx. cost of operation will be? Can you help me?

Thanks for the question Charla

I just moved to Florida in January from Oregon and so far I'm loving it.

For your question, with so many sunny days, I'd definitely go with solar panels. Now, which panels is the best for you is debatable.

Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) is a research institute of the University of Central Florida that has alot of good information. Sometimes you need to do your own research and take what they say with a grain of salt.

I always ask myself who is doing the research? Someone has to pay for it. If the manufacturer of the panels funds the project, well, you have a conflict of interest, so be careful.

Here are some panels to look at:

  • Heliocol - They have a good warranty (12 year parts/labor)
  • Fafco - Good price and 12 year parts warranty
  • Solar Industries
  • Powermat - A little harder to find
  • Techno-Solis

    A big thing to remember is when you talk to a salesman you need to ask about the tests during wind speed. The higher the wind speed the less heat a solar collector will deliver. Get the information from several places and compare.

    Solar collectors with exposed tubes tend to cool much faster than those without exposed tubes. Heliocol has exposed tubes and Techno-Solis does not.

    Be sure to oversize your panels or using a solar cover. It's really required to get and keep the temps you want.

    Solar pool heating system can range anywhere from $2000 to $7500. Variables include:

  • location and size of the pool
  • location of the solar panels
  • desired temperature
  • number of cloudy and sunny days

    It's really impossible to give you an accurate estimate because of the variables. You'll probably need someone to come out to your house and give you a proper estimate.

    There's normally no additional costs because home pools with solar panels use an automatically controlled valve to divert the water flow to the panels.

    Your pool may require a solar boost pump. This will cost a little more in electricity to operate.

    Most panels can have a 20 - 25 year life.

    To post a reply, or if you have a similar question, you can see your post on the Q&A page in the "Heaters" category.

    Check back to this post for updates or answers.

    If you need immediate assistance (within 24 hrs) or for emergency personal assistance, you can make a donation of your choice and I'll answer your questions by phone.

    Contact Me


    Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


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    The Bubbles In Pool Cover Keep Flattening Out & Popping

    I have an 18 foot above ground pool and have used 6 different solar covers. My water is always clear so I think I'm doing a good job with the chemicals. I always leave the cover off for two days when I shock.

    Unfortunately, within 2 months all the bubbles seem to deflate completely and I get water sitting on top of the cover. What could be causing this?

    Thanks for the question

    Over the years of doing pools, I've found some reasons that your solar pool cover bubbles might be popping. These are the most common:

    -Putting the solar cover back on the pool after you have just shocked it

    -You're not putting the solar cover in the shade or covering it when you take it off the pool

    -People will drag the cover over the coping and across the deck

    -If you leave it on the grass, deck, or concrete area. This causes heat retention and might cause the bubbles to pop.

    -Laying the cover out bubble-side up

    -Accidentally stepping on them

    Hope this helps and have a great rest of the Summer


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