Monday, November 3, 2008

Solar Heating Becomes Reality

Sunday, November 2, 2008. Standing at the southern end of the patio, in front of the filter system, next to the pool, looking at the house. It is 8am. You see how the sun is shining on the roof above my bedroom there, but that the rest of the yard is shaded? That is the problem we have been having with exercising at 8am.

The air temperature was a bone chilling 61°F this morning (sorry, Northerners, it's all relative. Remember we tropical people have thin blood). The pool temperature had warmed up to nearly 80°F, but the solar heating installation was only completed on Saturday. It takes a few days to heat up the water temperature. We set that date back a bit when we emptied the pool on Saturday to paint the exterior border of the swimming pool white again. It was looking rather, well, disgusting. (See photo above taken yesterday pre-whitewash.) We did not fill the pool until Sunday, so we had not given it a chance to complete its heating process. This morning all the knobs were adjusted and the water coming in through the filter was warm. We were walking and running laps around the pool to stay warm, and every time I passed a jet a big smile and feeling of warmth overcame me. The water coming through was much warmer. This is very exciting. We were four exercisers this morning. We decided to do our warmup exercises out on the mat even if the pool was too cold to enter. This group has decided it is worth walking across the street, or around the corner, to take Pablo's great exercise classes. We all got into the pool and at the end of class we were so proud of ourselves, we were dancing to Wilson Pickett...warming up in the sun a little, Wilson called for us to do the mashed potatoes, the jerk, the watusi, etc. Things are looking up on the exercise front, folks, we are back in business.

This is the filter system. It was already in place with just a few PVC pipes and knobs. Now it is what I would call a clusterf**k of tubería that only Pablo knows how to operate. The good news is that the filter we put in last year was "calefacción lista", or ready to easily install any heating system we should choose.

Close up of two of the panels, the tubing, the roof, the pool below. Just to give you an idea of the setup.

Here is a bigger picture of all five panels. Too bad a cloud passed over when I took the photo. It doesn't look too sunny. If I ever promote these panels, I will take that into consideration and take a brighter photo. I think the PVC pipe should be black. That is what everyone I spoke to told me. So we may paint it black. Otherwise, pretty cool, huh? It is the talk of the neighborhood. Someone managed to find solar power! We may just start importing and installing the buggers now, because next up is the electrical energy in the house. Now that the intimidation factor is past, it is time to think about cutting out the electrical company's bills.

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