Solar Pool Heater Patents ( Solar Thermal Magazine)
Aquatherm Industries, Inc. has filed with the United States Patent & Trademark Office for three new patents. Two of the patents pertain to mounting and connection hardware used in the installation of its solar collectors, while the third relates to a method of draining said collectors.
Aquatherm Industries, Inc. has filed with the United States Patent & Trademark Office for three new patents. Two of the patents pertain to mounting and connection hardware used in the installation of its solar collectors, while the third relates to a method of draining said collectors. The manufacturer currently holds 16 patents and trademarks in the United States.
Solar Pool Heater Patents
The first of the company’s three concurrent patent applications is for a design patent for a piece of hardware necessary to install transverse polypropylene-coated stainless-steel hold-down strapping called a “Strap Hold-Down Clamp” (Part Number 10011). Though the clamp has always been an integral part of the manufacturer’s installation hardware, “the new patent pending design allows the part to be made using a roll-forming process,” says Dave Sizelove, President & CEO of Aquatherm Industries, “which makes for an even stronger, more secure connection.”
The second patent application pertains to a “leak-resistant solar panel connector,” used as a coupler to join two or more solar collectors, or panels, in parallel. The manufacturer’s patent pending elastomeric connection hose design employs multiple degrees of hardness as well as a central reinforcing lumen, to achieve two things. First, the softer ends of the hose – where the sealing actually occurs – allow for a more complete and leak-resistant fluid seal. Secondly, the hose’s reinforced central lumen eliminates any possibility of a burst or collapse due to pressure changes within the system. According to Sizelove, in the past the solar industry has relied on connections borrowed from other technologies and applications. “Our patent-pending design is really the first of its kind – designed from the ground up with solar thermal applications in mind.”
The third patent application relates to a method to ensure positive water drainage of active direct solar thermal systems using a bypass line, which diverts a portion of water from the feed line of the solar collector to an inlet of a water pump. Proper drainage of solar thermal systems ensures collectors and components are protected from damage resulting from freezing conditions. When water is used as a heat transfer fluid, such as in a solar pool heating system, it must be drained back from the collectors to storage when not being actively circulated through the collectors. This drainage typically occurs when the circulation pump shuts off, however in commercial pools it is not always possible to shut off the circulation pump. Commercial swimming pools must maintain a specified turnover rate in order to comply with health department regulations, and shutting off the filtration pump to drain collectors is not possible.
The manufacturer’s patent pending method of draining collectors does not interfere with the operation of the pump, and utilizes a series of valves and float switches to divert fluid inside the collectors to the suction side of the pump, positively evacuating the collectors.