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Sunday Time Editorial

Sun, 11 Jan 2009

See our editorial on solar pool heating in todays Sunday Times ReadersMART. Click here to view full article as PDF.

Panels in the swim



KEVIN Baker of Edgewater built his own home and around 12 months ago got a price to install rooftop solar heating panels for his battle-axe shaped swimming pool which contains 43,000 litresof water.
"I mucked Stewart from Whiteside Pool Heating around a bit, but he was really patient, calling me every few months to see how I was progressing and locking in the 12-month-old price when the installation was eventually done," Mr Baker said.
"I found Stewart Whiteside really good to deal with, he told me what was needed for pipes from the pool to the roof and the installation of the panels went like a dream.
"The water temperature increased pretty much straight away, which I found remarkable."
Mr Baker said the temperature is now maintained at a constant 29 degrees, which is where he wants it to be.
He said he chose Techno Solis panels, instead of tubes fixed to rubber matting because the panels came with a lifetime guarantee as opposed to only a 10-year guarantee with the tubes.
Greg Hart, also from Edgewater, replaced the rubber matting system on his roof with Techno Solis panels when the tubes started to deteriorate.
"It had been up for eight or nine years and it was starting to turn the pool water black," he said.
"I was lucky to get use from it last year and the Whiteside people made a special trip to install the new system before I went on holiday, so the people looking after my house would be able to use the pool.
"The installers did a great job, left no mess, explained how it all worked and my son was swimming in the heated pool the same night."
The two systems provide the same function, but the Techno Solis panels are easier to work with.
Mr Whiteside said the panels, which were more expensive than the rubber tube method, were selling well, because customers can see it is a much more rigid product and will outlast a conventional system.
"A rubber matting system can break down over a period of time and leak, they have hundreds of joins where the 8mm tubes have to run onto a manifold system, whereas with the panels the manifold is welded to the collector so the only joins are between the panels themselves which is done using stainless steel clamps" Mr Whiteside said.
"With the panels the manifold and the collector are both made from the same polypropylene material, which means there are no different expansion rates, which can occur when different materials are used on a job."
He said there had been a lot of interest from people who lived on the coast, because strong winds could blow glued rubber mat systems from a roof.
"But the Techno Solis panels are bolted directly to the roof battens using 50-120mm galvanized screws, making them extremely secure in exposed locations," he said.
"The Techno Solis system is the most efficient direct solar pool collector in the world and it performs up to 15 per cent better than rubber matting systems per square meter."
"We still manufacture and install standard tubing systems as some roofs cannot accommodate the panels and they don't suit everyone's budget"
The Techno Solis company has been around since 1976 and its collector panels are able to withstand freezing conditions as well as very high temperatures and hurricane force winds.
Techno Solis offers cockatoo protection as part of the warranty as with the solid panel construction and double welded header pipes make it impossible to penetrate.
All panels are stringently inspected before leaving the Techno Solis factory, with all welds and seams tested, together with flow and pressure examinations.
Whiteside Pool Heating has been operating in Perth now for nearly 10 years, the company founded by Stewart specializes in all forms of heating systems for swimming pools and distribute throughout WA
Info: (08)9438 2341.