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Thread: Self Install New Heater - A Few Questions Before I Embark..

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    Self Install New Heater - A Few Questions Before I Embark..

    My Jandy LT heater needs to be replaced. I want to take on this project myself, but I need a little guidance from the experts.

    My pool is 18,000g with a small attached spa. It has an AquaPure chlorine generator that is controlled by a Aqualink RS system. I have a Pentair VS filter pump, and a booster that drives a Polaris.

    I'm looking at a Jandy LRZ Legacy 250K BTU, natural gas model with electronic ignition. I think some models have manual controls, and some have digital.

    Question #1: My current heater has manual controls, and is activated by an Aqualink RS system. It has a control wire going to the heater control board with two wires, one black, one white (furthest left in picture below). Will a new Jandy LRZ Legacy be controlled in the exact same way? I want to avoid a situation where I need to reprogram or mess with the Aqualink system.

    Question #2: If a new heater will not be controlled the same way, is reprogramming the Aqualink RS system something that I can accomplish myself? I'd consider myself to be fairly mechanically inclined, and very technically inclined (I work in IT), so I can probably get through it with assistance, but my concern is this: A few years ago, my pool contractor had to "upgrade" parts in my Aqualink system because it wasn't compatible with a new variable speed filter pump, and I worry about this same scenario with a different style heater. I don't think I could handle getting a new "board", and reprogramming the system from scratch, with the VS pump, cleaner, automated valves, and all.

    Are there any other issues that I need to think about before starting this project?
    Last edited by Wooderson; 03-30-2016 at 08:51 AM. Reason: updated with details on control wire.

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    Re: Self Install New Heater - A Few Questions Before I Embark..

    Question 1, It should connect the same way. Today, most heaters connect in the same way to automation. There should be documentation in your new owners manual on where the new connection is made.
    Question 2, N/A

    My question to you: Are you partial to Hayward heaters? Or are you just getting the same manufacturer from fear of the unknown? Or ease of connections? Perhaps just keeping with same manufacturer for all equipment? I feel you could be happier with a Raypak heater. Connections would be a little bit of a challenge only because the hookups would be in different places from the old heater. Definitely not a deal breaker though.

    How old is the heater that is being replaced? Longevity would be something to consider too. You should expect to receive at least 10 years with proper treatment from a Raypak.
    Factory Warranty Station for:
    Jandy/Zodiac, Pentair, Sta-Rite, Raypak, Polaris,
    and Paramount pool cleaning systems.

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    Re: Self Install New Heater - A Few Questions Before I Embark..

    Any heater will work with your Aqualink RS system. No need for any programming or changes to the control system. You will use the two wire from the controller and hook it into the new heater just like the old unit. Very simple to do and the heaters manual will tell you how to do this. Very simple though.

    As for a heater, do yourself a huge favor and get a Raypak.
    Paul
    http://www.gastekservices.com A word of caution: When working with gas and electrical you might want to consider a licensed contractor. Consider the value of your life and others around you. If you would like to provide a review of the help I provided, please use the following link to leave a review. gastek - Google Search,

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    Re: Self Install New Heater - A Few Questions Before I Embark..

    I'm glad to hear that the automation is straight forward. This is great news!

    I believe the old heater is 8 years old, I'll check when I get home. Rust has claimed 80% of the floor of the box, and it's throwing combustion errors.

    Yes, I was looking at Jandy simply because that's what I have, but I'm open to exploring other brands. Thank your both for your suggestion!

    The Raypak heaters appear to have the same general placement of the gas, wiring, and water, I can handle the plumbing and electrical. I don't think I need a Low NOx model, so I'm looking at the regular units. It looks like the 266k BTU runs around $1,510, but I might get a 336k BTU for around $1,700.

    Thanks again for your help, I appreciate it very much!

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    Re: Self Install New Heater - A Few Questions Before I Embark..

    Quote Originally Posted by Wooderson View Post
    I might get a 336k BTU
    Just make sure that your existing gas line size can accommodate your upgrade in BTU's.
    Factory Warranty Station for:
    Jandy/Zodiac, Pentair, Sta-Rite, Raypak, Polaris,
    and Paramount pool cleaning systems.

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    Re: Self Install New Heater - A Few Questions Before I Embark..

    Quote Originally Posted by Pool Clown View Post
    Just make sure that your existing gas line size can accommodate your upgrade in BTU's.
    The old heater was a 400 BTU, which I think was over-specd for this small pool. So I believe I'm good. You'll notice in the photo, the gas line actually reduces a bit before the branch to the pool heater. The gas meter is just behind the fence. The gas line continuation going underground services a gas grill and fireplace.

    I'm planning to use iron pipe from the heater's gas valve, extending outside the unit (min 2"), then I will use a 90 degree elbow, and then I plan to use a flexible supply line to connect that iron pipe to the shutoff valve.

    The new 336k BTU heater will be 14" narrower than the existing 400k BTU heater, which will fit the slab better, and give more room to plumb the gas line.

    BTW, After reading a lot of info self-installing heaters, it looks like I'm opening myself up to risk of not having manufacturer warranty support because it was a self install. How important is that?

    I can pretty much justify replacing this thing 3x as often since I'm saving about 65% (based on the $5,500 quote from my local pool service company, granted, that was a 400k BTU unit).

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    Re: Self Install New Heater - A Few Questions Before I Embark..

    I and others have followed your thoughts about the self install. I installed my Raypak myself and couldn't be happier, albeit after only one season. And a general premise is to buy the biggest heater you can afford. Over spec'd is a bit of a misnomer as the bigger heater will simply heater the pool in a shorter duration. Larger units may be slightly more efficient, but that is pretty much negligible. With my Raypak R406 i get a little over 2 degs per hour of heat.
    16' x 32' (21100 gal), vinyl, 1.5 hp Hayward SuperPump,
    Tagelus TA60/60D Sand Filter, Raypak 399K Digital Heater, TF-100

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    Re: Self Install New Heater - A Few Questions Before I Embark..

    I would agree with the Raypak recommendations and also to get the biggest one you have room for especially if you have a spa to heat on demand. Our pool heats 2 degree's an hour and will heat the spa in about 40 minutes on demand depending on the staring temp with the 400k btu. Also the one thing I remember is for the electric start feature there is a jumper that needs to be in the correct spot if it is a 110v verses 220v supply. If you are using the AquaLink RS for control make sure to set the heater to it's highest temp at the heater so the controller will regulate the heat. That one had me scratching my head for a few minutes until I actually pulled out and read the directions for the heater.
    Inground 22k gallon gunite 15x31 main pool, 15x7 wading pool/sunning deck, hot tub/with overflow (9' octagon with limestone top) & slide NSWG, Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen
    Filter dual cartridge Sta-rite 450sq/ft, TF-100 Test Kit
    Heater Raypak 2100 400k btu cupro-nickel exchanger
    Auto pool cover, Polaris 280 auto pool cleaner, Jandy AqualinkRS8 Remote Control System

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    Re: Self Install New Heater - A Few Questions Before I Embark..

    Do not use a flex line. Hard plumb it. Especially if you are worried about the warranty...even if you aren't, don't use flex for the gas connection.
    Factory Warranty Station for:
    Jandy/Zodiac, Pentair, Sta-Rite, Raypak, Polaris,
    and Paramount pool cleaning systems.

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    Re: Self Install New Heater - A Few Questions Before I Embark..

    Quote Originally Posted by Pool Clown View Post
    Do not use a flex line. Hard plumb it. Especially if you are worried about the warranty...even if you aren't, don't use flex for the gas connection.
    Why are flex lines a bad idea?

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    Re: Self Install New Heater - A Few Questions Before I Embark..

    Wall thickness on flex lines are so great, that it can turn a 3/4" line into a 1/2". Getting enough gas volume to a heater is sometimes a challenge. Flex lines tend to aggravate this and in some cases, the main reason a heater isn't getting enough gas.
    Factory Warranty Station for:
    Jandy/Zodiac, Pentair, Sta-Rite, Raypak, Polaris,
    and Paramount pool cleaning systems.

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    Re: Self Install New Heater - A Few Questions Before I Embark..

    That makes sense! Thank you!

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    Re: Self Install New Heater - A Few Questions Before I Embark..

    I really took my time, and completed the install in just under 6 hours. Absolutely no problems with the install, it went exactly as planned. Ok, yes, I got a little overzealous with the PVC primer, but I'm confident in my pipe fitting skills.

    The new heater brought the spa from 67 degrees to 98 degrees ~35 minutes. I heated the pool as well, 67 to 80 in less than five hours (we were out all morning, so not sure exactly when it reached the set temp). Not bad!

    I still need to wire the Aqualink RS control wire, and I have a Jandy JVA that seems to have gone bad, but those tasks can wait for another day (I had to operate the valves manually this weekend).

    Thanks for all of the input and suggestions, I really appreciate it.

    BTW, I have a lot of respect for my pool service company, they do solid work and back everything up with warranties, but I also like doing things myself, and everything cost me $1,550 total. My pool company quoted $5,000+ for this project, granted, I think that was for a 400k BTU broiler, I ended up buying a much smaller 266K. I know many of you suggested a larger BTU, but we use the heater for the spa 90% of the time, and it's small. We don't heat the pool very often, and when we do, it's just to add 5 to 10 degrees of rise in May and September. I feel that this 266K will be more than sufficient, and I can redirect the savings to other pool related projects.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Self Install New Heater - A Few Questions Before I Embark..

    Looks great. I might have added a sediment trap in the gas line, but I don't think that is a big deal. As for the bigger heater, per your results it looks like that will heat in plenty of time! Great install.
    16' x 32' (21100 gal), vinyl, 1.5 hp Hayward SuperPump,
    Tagelus TA60/60D Sand Filter, Raypak 399K Digital Heater, TF-100

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    Re: Self Install New Heater - A Few Questions Before I Embark..

    Quote Originally Posted by Wooderson View Post
    The new heater brought the spa from 67 degrees to 98 degrees ~35 minutes. I heated the pool as well, 67 to 80 in less than five hours.
    Those are excellent numbers.
    Factory Warranty Station for:
    Jandy/Zodiac, Pentair, Sta-Rite, Raypak, Polaris,
    and Paramount pool cleaning systems.

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    Re: Self Install New Heater - A Few Questions Before I Embark..

    Yes, I thought about adding the sediment trap, and it is specified in the Raypak installation documentation, but in the end, I skipped that. The heater diagnostics report "8" for flame quality, which is good.

    I wired the heater automation line last night, it took a second to figure out how to get to the Raypak board (4 screws on the side, tilt the panel down), and then wire cap the control wire to pigtails, and done. 10 minutes start to end.

    I also replaced a bad JVA. It turned one way, but wouldn't turn the other. I ruled out a bad wire, and even a bad microswitch, and couldn't figure out what was causing it to fail. My best guess is a bad toggle switch, but the unit was so old, I gave up testing and just replaced it.

    Those new JVAs are really nice, the capacitor and toggle are attached to the circuit board now, cleaning up the inside of the device quite a bit, and the toggle is out of harms way on the bottom. I love the new cam design; they're so easy to adjust. I guess the downside to is fewer serviceable/replaceable components, but I imagine most people replace the whole unit anyway, rather than replacing individual components.

    My pool equipment is now 100% functional. Woo hoo!!!

    The next item to fail is probably the original cleaner booster pump, but I'm pretty conservative with it's runtime (to save wear on the pump, and the Polaris itself), so maybe she'll hold out for a few more years.

    Thanks again to all for your help. This is a great community.

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