Pool Heat Automation Suggestions

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I recently built an inground/outdoor covered pool which I intend to
operate year-round in a fairly cold climate (Pennsylvania).  The pool
has both an electric heat pump and a natural gas heater.

I would like to automate the operation of the pool's heating system so
that the automated system can:

(1) Change valves between the heat pump and natural gas heater
depending on outside temperature
(2) Operate the heat pump whenever it is warm outside in order to
efficiently store energy in the pool
(3) Operate the natural gas heater only when the pool water falls below
a given threshold
(4) Log data regarding how many hours per day the heat pump and gas
heater operate
(5) Let me control/monitor the system via an Internet link

Any suggestions regarding what system might accomplish this?  I am
particularly interested in a system which can be fairly sophisticated
in terms of the algorithm I may use to decide which heat source is
operational and for how long.



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Re: Pool Heat Automation Suggestions
On Friday, September 21, 2007 12:20:35 AM UTC+5:30, Richard Kaplan wrote:
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Thanks for a marvelous posting!the information about swimming pool heater I
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http://www.potentwatercare.in/stretcher.html

Re: Pool Heat Automation Suggestions
On Thu, 20 Sep 2007 14:50:35 -0400, Richard Kaplan

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You probably need to provide the details of the equiment and how
these actions are currently performed.

Re: Pool Heat Automation Suggestions
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Intermatic makes communicating (i.e., controllable) swimming pool
automation systems.  They use Z-Wave which is a popular automation
communications protocol.  The controllers can select and operate the
appropriate pumps, heaters, etc., based on temperature conditions,
least cost (time of day), etc.  They can also be operated by
comprehensive HA systems such as ELK-M1G, Homeseer, etc.

Another posted suggested you provide more information on the systems
you plan to implement.  He's right, of course.  In order to specify
an appropriate controller we'd need a little more information.
However, you can find information on ELK Products and Intermatic at
the manufacturers' websites here:

Intermatic:
http://www.intermatic.com/images/catalog/300PS10168-LR.pdf

HomeSeer:
http://www.homeseer.com

Elk Products:
http://www.elkproducts.com/products/m1/elk-m1.htm

There are numerous other manufacturers with their own solutions.
Each has supporters and detractors.  Arguments over which is the
better HA protocol tend to take on religious fervor at times.  I
mention the above as a place to start your research -- not as though
it's the only approach I might consider.  Since I'm an ELK Products
dealer and since I also sell Z-Wave products, naturally I have a
slight bias in favor of them.  However, I've chosen them because I
believe in them.  I'm installing an ELK-M1G system in my own home and
I plan to use it to control my swimming pool and spa, among other
things.  Though the pool is probably smaller than yours, it's still
large enough that I need to optimize the controls.  We have a solar
heating system but I plan to add an electric or propane auxiliary
heater for those frigid days of winter when the temperature drops
below 60F in Sarasota.  :^)

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

=============================>
Bass Home Electronics
941-925-8650
4883 Fallcrest Circle
Sarasota Florida 34233
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
=============================>



Re: Pool Heat Automation Suggestions

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Thanks for the help.

The systems I would like to connect are:

* Hayward H350 Natural gas heater

* Heat Siphon electric heat pump (currently I have the analog model
though I understand an upgrade is available to support a digital
interface)

* Electric pool pump (perhaps I need to control this so I can turn it
off when valves are being changed)

* 3 valves which control the flow of water between the electric heat
pump and the gas heater

* On/off switch to a recirculator pump which heats the interior of the
dome by circulating water from a home water heater


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Re: Pool Heat Automation Suggestions
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Hayward heaters have, among other things, an on/off/on rocker switxh
which allows you to manually switch between pool, spa or none.  Talk
to the contractor or retailer if you're installing the Hayward
yourself to see if you can't parallel this with relay outputs from
your own controller.  If you do it this way, provide a second switch
or relay that will interrupt control from your HA system in the event
the HA is down.  That way the system will run stand alone while
you're working on the HA system.

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Some of these can be triggered with a contact closure.  If you can
get the make/model that would help.  Upgrading to digital might be a
waste if you plan to operate the system using an HA system which will
provide all the necessary logic.

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Yep.  Also, make sure the pump will run continuously during
sub-freezing temperatures in case the heating systems ever fail.

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Have you looked into an auxiliary solar heater?  While Pennsylvania
gets less sun than Florida it may still more than pay for itself,
especially with rising fuel/electricity charges.

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Again, this is trivial to control with almost any HA system.  I don't
want to sound like a broken record about ELK Products, but their
ELK-M1G system has an advantage over several other popular lines.
Any of the inputs can be analog, allowing the system to read
temperatures from remote probes to make comparison-based choices as
to which heaters, pumps, valves, etc., should be on.  Our pool & spa
automation system currently uses solar but I plan to add either an
electric or gas heater for winter (when temperatures drop below
70F)...  :^)

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

=============================>
Bass Home Electronics
941-925-8650
4883 Fallcrest Circle
Sarasota Florida 34233
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
=============================>



Re: Pool Heat Automation Suggestions

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Can you suggest a good article or website or book which compares ELK
with its competitors?


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Re: Pool Heat Automation Suggestions

said:
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By far the best comparison I know of is at S.E.T Inc (SETNET).

www.setnetpro.com/controllers.asp

"AUTOMATION CONTROLLERS Feature, Benefits, Hardware and Software For: HAI
Omni; LT, IIe, Pro II Elk Products; EZ8, M1Gold OnQ Legrand; HMS 800, 950e,
1100 "

It may not be 100% current, but is extremely comprehensive.

The company also offers courses on various panels which might be of
interest. These folks have been in the business for a long time and know
the ins and outs of HA panels and accessories based on real-world
experience as the industry and options developed.

... Marc
Marc_F_Hult
www.ECOntrol.org

Re: Pool Heat Automation Suggestions
"Richard Kaplan" wrote:
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Your concern is a legitimate one.  If I get the installation manuals
for the specific units you want I can help with the automation but
I'm not a swimming pool contractor.  I hired a company to redo my
pool last year and (with a fair amount of prodding) they did a good
job.  However, they had no clue about HA systems.  I had to figure
all that out for myself.  Fortunately, the valves and almost all
other components are controlled by switched 24VAC so interfacing it
to the ELK-M1G is simple.

It will be interesting developing the site specific part of my
project, which includes choosing which, if any heater to activate and
when to throw which valves.  That part isn't difficult; just requires
some thought and a few phone calls to tech support.

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I prefer to share here.  Others may get some useful ideas from you
and vice versa.  Once in a while I even post something useful.  :^)

We don't do installations at all.  I'm an online vendor.  My web
store sells this stuff.  You're welcome to browse and ask any
questions you like.  There are actually hundreds of companies selling
these systems online...

I'll have to answer the rest of your post later.  My wife is calling
me to get ready.  We're having a little party tonight to celebrate my
birthday.  There are about 110 people due in the next hour or so.
I'll try to get back to you tomorrow.

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

=============================>
Bass Home Electronics
941-925-8650
4883 Fallcrest Circle
Sarasota Florida 34233
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
=============================>


Re: Pool Heat Automation Suggestions

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OK if you would prefer to work out the specs on the group here that's
fine too - I'd still be glad to buy the system from you if you can help
me to select them.

It seems to me even as a fairly technolog-addicted person, there is a
huge world out there of home automation components but the details can
get hard to integrate with something as mission-critical as a pool.  If
you had to work at integrating a pool in Florida (as a vendor yourself
no less) then the odds of my finding someone with such experience for a
year-round Pennsylvania pool are pretty small.


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Re: Pool Heat Automation Suggestions
Richard Kaplan wrote:
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check here

http://www.clearwater.bbb.org/commonreport.html?bid=41001663

Re: Pool Heat Automation Suggestions

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They are if you don't search at all.  (-:  Don't give up so quickly.

There are some serious advantages to using local contractors.  Experience
with local codes and the AHJ - (authority having jurisdiction) is worth an
awful lot.  Especially when dealing with something likely to involve three
code sensitive areas (plumbing, electrical and gas) working together under
unattended control.  You don't want to find out your local authority has a
particular gripe against something you might select.  You'd be surprised at
how many pool contractors are "home automation smart."  The X-10 protocol
analyzer that's often mentioned here:

http://www.homecontrols.com/cgi-bin/main/co_disp/displ/carfnbr/53/sesent/00

(as well as a lot of other pool automation equipment) was designed by a pool
contractor.

Another reason to at least try to find a local contractor is that you may
want to have someone maintain and service it.  I've found over the years
that presenting an installer with equipment you got elsewhere usually
doesn't inspire them to take "ownership" of the project.  Anything that goes
wrong is likely to be blamed on the gear they felt was forced on them.  A
bad pool install can present some pretty lethal hazards, too.  Carbon
monoxide poisoning and electrocution lead the list for an installation that
uses a gas heater.

Get the smarts you need from the many pool owner/automators here and in
other groups and then use that knowledge to find a local contractor who
knows all the HA buzzwords they should.  If that search fails, then at least
look for someone who can implement your plan and get it past inspection in
your jurisdiction.

Try Worthington Distribution.  Like you, they are in Pennsylvania and some
would say they're the biggest HA outlet on the East Coast.

www.worthdist.com/

They have an 800 number and you can probably get the name of a highly
qualified home automation-savvy pool contractor as they sell a lot of pool
automation gear.  Ask for Rich.  (800) 949-6255

No financial interest other than as a satisfied customer of Worthington's.

--
Bobby G.






Re: Pool Heat Automation Suggestions
Robert Green wrote:

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There latest "e-newsletter" features Napco Security products at some
great prices too.  And they always answer their phone.  ;-)

Re: Pool Heat Automation Suggestions

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Well, yeah, but they price things in those cheap American dollars. ;-)


Re: Pool Heat Automation Suggestions
Dave Houston wrote:
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It's going to be really interesting in the next few months.  I've
observed (over the course of several years) that pricing of security,
fire alarm, and computer related products is actually a bit better on
this side of the border (even considering the past larger disparity in
the dollar).  I could, for instance pick up a 12 volt 8 AH battery
(sealed lead acid type) for less than $9.00 Canadian when the Canadian
Dollar was worth less than $.80 US.  Even adding a "modest 30 percent
markup", I can still blow the doors off a lot of online vendors.
Hmmmm...  Come to think of it...  :-)

Re: Pool Heat Automation Suggestions


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Yes, the Hayward heater does have a digital interface with these
controls as you mentioned.

Can you suggest finding someone to help selecting/specifying components
to achieve this?  I am very knowledgable about
engineering/electronics/networking but I have very little pool-specific
knowledge.  I have lots of confidence in my pool contractor but he has
not done any HA projects in the past and I really doubt there are any
other contractors with that experience in my area.  What I want to try
to avoid is self-selecting components and then not having thought of
some pool-specific issues such as you mentioned here.

Free free to reply to me via email if that is easier.  Does your
company only do installations or do you sell components as well?

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It is an SX5HP - See here:

http://www.heatsiphon.com/2006website/pickyourmodel/5model.specs.html


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Maybe this is a dumb question - but why?   Wouldn't I wind up lowering
the pool water temperature in that case and making the problem worse?


On the other hand, another concern I do have is what happens if the
valves fail and I am stuck with say the inflow going into my gas heater
but the outflow coming from the heat pump.  Might that result in a high
pressure situation on the inflow side and burst the plumbing?  What
sort of high-pressure fail-safe can I install which works either
electronically or mechanically?


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It is a good idea but the pool has a northern exposure with lots of
shade from a 3.5 story house - solar effects will be negligible.

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OK I am all ears - what does this do that others don't?  How can I
review the documentation to get a sense of what the interface looks
like from which I can program the operating logic of the system?




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Re: Pool Heat Automation Suggestions

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I went through these manuals and I must be missing something but I
cannot see where I can buy a thermostat.

Let's say I want to start with a simple but expandable automation
system which simply serves as a programmable remote thermostat for my
pool's gas heater.  The gas heater provides instructions for how to
connect a 2-wire remote theremostat.

Where do I buy a 2-wire remote thermostat which works with the ELK-M1G?
 What else do I need beyond the ELK-M1G and the remote thermostat?


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Re: Pool Heat Automation Suggestions

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Am I correct that this is basically the equivalent of a do-it-yourself
thermostat?

And as a result if I do this then the operation of my pool heating
system becomes dependent upon my having a functioning ELK-M1G system?

If so, that seems like a reliability risk.  It seemed to me that beauty
of the RCS device was that it was a freestanding thermostat; if the
rest of my home automation system crashed I could just keep using the
thermostats manually.

Why was the RCS device discontinued?  


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Re: Pool Heat Automation Suggestions
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Sorry.  Call and I'll get you in.

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

=============================>
Bass Home Electronics
941-925-8650
4883 Fallcrest Circle
Sarasota Florida 34233
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
=============================>


Re: Pool Heat Automation Suggestions

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How does this help them to keep away potential customers?  Why not make
the information freely available?


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