Solar heater coming to Monterey pool

Monterey, Va. – The Highland County Recreation Commission has been working on a project at the pool in Monterey this fall that promises to bring an even more enjoyable swimming experience to county residents in 2013. The Commission has contracted with Main Street Solar of Fincastle, Virginia to install a solar pool-heating system. Recreation Director Kenny Hiner talks about how this project got started.

“I made a trip to Franklin because I heard they had a solar heating system,” said Kenny Hiner. “I took a trip down there to check it out. The temperature was between 83 and 84 degrees and it really felt good. As opposed to our water temperature up here that struggles to get up to 80. I think that has hurt us in attendance with some of the seniors and we are hoping this will bring the seniors in to do water aerobics and bring more people out to our pool since it’s warmer. The typical temperature is between 70 and 75. We are hoping to boost that up to between 83 and 84 degrees,” he said.

Maggie Cavell, who worked very hard to make the Monterey swimming pool a reality had suggested years ago that heating the pool would make for a longer pool season of operation and that warmer water would make it a more enjoyable experience throughout the season. The director at the Franklin, West Virginia pool told Kenny that their heating system has had very few problems over nearly ten years of operation. Kenny goes on to describe how the solar heating system works.

“It has its own little pump and little motor and it pumps water out of the pool, runs it up through the collectors on the roof and it is thermostatically controlled” said Mr. Hiner. “When the pool calls for warmer water then it will open a valve up and allow water to run off the roof and into the pool,” he said.

Kenny talks about where things currently stand with the solar heater installation.

“They started putting the panels on the roof on November 7,” said Mr. Hiner. “Right now everything is up on the roof. The plumbing is all hooked up. The pump is all hooked up. The only thing we’re waiting on now is for a couple of electrical to come in. As soon as they come in they are going to hook them up and it’ll be ready to test in the spring when I cut the water on over there,” he said.

Finally, Kenny goes on to describe how this heating system will affect the pool season.

“We’re hoping we can open it in mid-May and we are hoping we can leave it open through the end of September,” said Mr. Hiner. “That depends on the life guard situations too but with this system installed we can open earlier and close later (in the year),” he said.

This solar heating system for the pool will cost about $13,000 and is being funded from revenues received by the Recreation Commission from the Mountain Mama Road Bike Challenge event. The Recreation Commission is currently taking applications for life guards for the 2013 pool season. Lifeguard applications are available from the Recreation office or from the High School office.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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