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Thread: Heater opinions requested

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    Heater opinions requested

    Hi, I'm hoping to get some opinions here. (LONG POST)


    Our very old RayPak RP2100 bit the dust 2 years back, and we've decided we can't live without a heater. I've been doing as much research as possible, and so far have determined:



    • based on our usage pattern, a (natural) gas heater is appropriate
    • given our volume (27000) and usage, 400 BTU's is the right size



    What I liked about our old RP2100



    • heated pool very quickly
    • simple controls - we had no electrically-related failures ever



    What I didn't like about our old RP2100



    • it seems I had to check the pilot light a lot (millivolt gas valve system)
    • all of the case walls, especially the floor and burner ***'y - began rusting

    inside after only 1 year - I don't feel that enough corrosion protection
    was there - most of the floor and lower walls literally disintegrated
    long before the heat exchanger failed


    I wonder if I did something wrong taking care of the RayPak, which caused it's insides
    to rust out so quickly. At first I thought a cover would help - but then it seemed
    a cover would trap internal moisture inside the unit and not allow it to evaporate.


    In any case the insides of case did not weather being outside very well.


    So for replacements I have been looking at the Hayward, Sta-Rite, Pentair and also
    another RayPak.


    Some of my concerns:


    Electronics


    AFAICT, all of these heaters use some level of electronic controls. This bothers me:
    I do not feel that complicated electronics are necessary (other than safety controls).
    Give me a thermostat and an on/off switch, that's all that is really needed. Also,
    I don't feel that electronic circuit boards do well in the elements - especially inside
    a box that gets really hot inside periodically - and then is exposed to rain, humidity,
    etc. I think the number of horror stories I've found describing failed boards bears
    this out. It doesn't even seem like any of these companies are at least sealing their
    boards against moisture (not being able to desolder and individual components does
    not matter - these boards are always replaced as a unit when something fails.) Being
    inside a rain-proof case isn't enough - boards will still corrode without some
    extra measures being taken against moisture.


    Casing


    I'm not sure, but I believe that the Sta-Rite is the only heater of the four I've
    mentioned that has a corrosion-proof case (it is not metal). I'm leary of buying
    yet another metal box to put outside in the elements, then watching as it slowly corrodes
    away into another pile of rust dust.


    Warranty


    The Pentair (and the Sta-Rite, since that is now sold by Pentair) warranty feels like
    a pre-arrangement between the manufacturer and its local dealers - Pentair will not
    offer a decent warranty unless the product is "professionally installed." Combine
    that with the fact that most local dealers I've asked have refused to install a heater
    unless it was purchased from them (they give "problems with warranties" as the reason),
    and what you end up with is you must purchase the heater from the dealer. Now I
    understand that local b&m dealers have costs, and I expect (and am usually willing)
    to pay a bit extra for them to make a profit and stay in business, but I'm seeing
    numbers like $2K vs $3K for the same heater. And it's not like you're getting the
    installation as part of the extra $1000 you're paying - they still charge extra for
    that. One more point: I had my new pool pump (a gift from a family member)
    "professionally installed". The 2 guys doing the installation were, IMO, total hacks.
    I watched them fumble around and attempt to jury-rig my new pump repeatedly, until
    I couldn't bite my tongue any longer. I told them I could finish the details and
    paid them so they would stop and leave. So I had to endure that to get Pentair's
    warranty. Just doesn't make any sense.


    OK, sorry for the long rant, but I'd very much appreciate opinions!


    Thanks!

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Heater opinions requested

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    I do not know much about heaters beyond that the Raypak units seem to be nearly universally recommended by technicians that participate on TFP because they break down less and are easier/cheaper to fix if there is a problem.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Re: Heater opinions requested

    I can tell you that since your old Raypak they have made improvements. Firstly which really isn't an improvement on the unit but with codes in many places you can no longer have a standing pilot system so that eliminates the millivot systems. Raypaks electronic systems are very good and work great. As for the unit they now have a stainless steel bottom so they don't rust as easily plus they have redone the internal bypass to also help prevent this.

    To address some of the issues you had with your old unit, the rusting inside was mostly due to condensation most likely. With the improvements they made on the internal bypass you can also add a external bypass in the piping and allow a small amount of water to bypass the heater thus cutting down on any condensation that can form. Also, if you have a lawn watering system, I live in Fl so we all have them, they also aid in the destruction of the units. Pay attention where the heads point and what they are spraying on.

    Electronics on the heaters is a non issue these days. If they were a real problem they wouldn't have them in it. Also many of your AC units these days have control boards and other things in the outside unit. They do a very good keeping the boards from the elements. If you are really concerned about the electronics then stay way far away from the StaRite/Pentair and the Hayward's as they have more electronics and moving parts than a Raypak does.

    Take it from someone who repairs heaters for a living, StaRite/Pentair, are not all they are cracked up to be. Of all the units on the market I repair MANY of them weekly and many are only withing 4-5 years of age. Hayward also has it's issues. Do lots of reading here and you will see what I am talking about.

    Warranties, well they are what they are. Yes pretty much all manufacturers want the units installed by a licensed professional in order to keep the warranty in place. Over the years they have gotten tired of eating parts and what not due to a DIY install. As for the guys that did your pump install, well, I can't say much other than hopefully they won't be the ones doing your heater. I would call the manufacturers or go to their web site and find an installer. Now I'm not saying you will find an installer that is awesome but maybe you can find a good one thru them.

    Good luck. Pick another 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,

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Re: Heater opinions requested

    Hey guys, I hope I'm not hijacking this thread but I'm thinking of buying a Raypak RP2100 for a great price. I'm not sure if this is a millivolt system or not? I know the size is not optimum for my size pool but it's really a good deal and I have solar panels that should help do most of the heavy lifting. I'd use this heater just for some quick heating on special occasions. This unit was never installed so basically brand new (although a bunch of dust in the pictures). Are these good units? If I do buy it, are there any precautions, such as maybe galvanizing the case to prevent rust?

    00I0I_6XM5Z4TlMZo_600x450.jpg
    00I0I_904doAVteGh_600x450.jpg
    00n0n_5f2Fc8GJYJ9_600x450.jpg
    36,000 gallon IG Gunite (40 x 20), 1.5 HP Hayward pump, Pentair Nautilus NS-48 DE filter, 2 skimmers, 12 - (2 x 20) Fafco Solar Panels (Goldline controller not hooked up yet), Hayward Swimpure Plus SWG, Blue Pearl Robot cleaner. New Dr. Wellness X-12 standalone Lifestyle Spa.

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    Re: Heater opinions requested

    I have a 1yr old Raypak 400k LP heater which has been great so far and also the only LP heater recommended by Several good pool places in my area. I will say the inside still has some rust spotting which is odd for something so new. Good luck with your heater
    22,500 gal inground salt water pool & spa w/ Jandy 2.5 vs pump & booster pump, Hayward 100k heat pump and Raypak 400k propane heater

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    Re: Heater opinions requested

    That is an older unit and I would pass on it. Plus is a very small unit and recommended really only for spa heating.
    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: Heater opinions requested

    Quote Originally Posted by ps0303 View Post
    That is an older unit and I would pass on it. Plus is a very small unit and recommended really only for spa heating.
    Hey, were you responding to my post? Someone posted before your post. I couldn't tell what BTU the unit is. I think they made 4 sizes but I doubt it's a 400k BTU unit?

    The unit apparently was never hooked up before and I would use it just for spot heating over my solar panels?? Thanks for any help.
    36,000 gallon IG Gunite (40 x 20), 1.5 HP Hayward pump, Pentair Nautilus NS-48 DE filter, 2 skimmers, 12 - (2 x 20) Fafco Solar Panels (Goldline controller not hooked up yet), Hayward Swimpure Plus SWG, Blue Pearl Robot cleaner. New Dr. Wellness X-12 standalone Lifestyle Spa.

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    Re: Heater opinions requested

    Quote Originally Posted by mac4lyfe View Post
    Hey, were you responding to my post? Someone posted before your post. I couldn't tell what BTU the unit is. I think they made 4 sizes but I doubt it's a 400k BTU unit?

    The unit apparently was never hooked up before and I would use it just for spot heating over my solar panels?? Thanks for any help.
    Yes I was responding to your post. That unit is a very small one. I believe it the 185K BTU model. Yes it would provide heat but really not much for your size of pool, in my opinion. The one you show is really for smaller bodies of water like a spa. It will work very hard to warm your water up in the pool.
    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: Heater opinions requested

    Quote Originally Posted by ps0303 View Post
    Yes I was responding to your post. That unit is a very small one. I believe it the 185K BTU model. Yes it would provide heat but really not much for your size of pool, in my opinion. The one you show is really for smaller bodies of water like a spa. It will work very hard to warm your water up in the pool.
    Thanks for all your help. It's a 206k BTU's which is very small for my pool but I can get it for a good price (<$450). I have the solar panels and a cover that should help. I was just looking for a cheap way to increase the heat a bit more in April/May and October/November where the outside temps are often in the 80's but I like a warmer pool. I'm not too concerned if it takes twice as much time to heat as most of my swimming is a good 24 hours in advance and usually 2 or 3 days a week (mainly weekends).

    Obviously working a unit harder will most likely burn it out sooner (or at least I would think so) but I was thinking of using it just for 2 or 3 seasons then get a bigger unit at a later date. The initial price is what's attractive to me here. It's ~5x less than a 406k unit, which is kind of a throw a way for me right now. The efficiency of the unit is probably much less to a larger unit and I may end up spending more money in fuel over the 2/3 years anyway but it would at least be spread out instead of upfront. Apart from the smaller/lower heating, are there other considerations that I'm not seeing? Are there additional costs with these units that I should be aware of? I really appreciate your insights. Thanks
    36,000 gallon IG Gunite (40 x 20), 1.5 HP Hayward pump, Pentair Nautilus NS-48 DE filter, 2 skimmers, 12 - (2 x 20) Fafco Solar Panels (Goldline controller not hooked up yet), Hayward Swimpure Plus SWG, Blue Pearl Robot cleaner. New Dr. Wellness X-12 standalone Lifestyle Spa.

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    Re: Heater opinions requested

    I bought a hayward and regret it.Control board failed after a year and reading reviews that's very common..I am just hoping I don't have to keep spending $100 every year to replace it.

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    Re: Heater opinions requested

    Quote Originally Posted by mac4lyfe View Post
    Thanks for all your help. It's a 206k BTU's which is very small for my pool but I can get it for a good price (<$450). I have the solar panels and a cover that should help. I was just looking for a cheap way to increase the heat a bit more in April/May and October/November where the outside temps are often in the 80's but I like a warmer pool. I'm not too concerned if it takes twice as much time to heat as most of my swimming is a good 24 hours in advance and usually 2 or 3 days a week (mainly weekends).

    Obviously working a unit harder will most likely burn it out sooner (or at least I would think so) but I was thinking of using it just for 2 or 3 seasons then get a bigger unit at a later date. The initial price is what's attractive to me here. It's ~5x less than a 406k unit, which is kind of a throw a way for me right now. The efficiency of the unit is probably much less to a larger unit and I may end up spending more money in fuel over the 2/3 years anyway but it would at least be spread out instead of upfront. Apart from the smaller/lower heating, are there other considerations that I'm not seeing? Are there additional costs with these units that I should be aware of? I really appreciate your insights. Thanks
    The biggest question is, does it work? It's not hooked up so you have no way of testing the unit to make sure it works. Plus with the age you might want to also consider that parts will start to fail as well. Also one other big thing is if the header is rusted inside. If so, you're going to have rust in your water and cause other issues.
    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: Heater opinions requested

    Quote Originally Posted by ps0303 View Post
    The biggest question is, does it work? It's not hooked up so you have no way of testing the unit to make sure it works. Plus with the age you might want to also consider that parts will start to fail as well. Also one other big thing is if the header is rusted inside. If so, you're going to have rust in your water and cause other issues.
    Can I hook up the electricity to make sure the control panel starts up? Apparently, it was never, ever used, even though it looks like it. It gathered dust in the garage over the years. One of the pictures look like the inlet and outlet were used but they say it's never seen water. Can I check the header for rust or would I have to remove it? Thanks again.
    36,000 gallon IG Gunite (40 x 20), 1.5 HP Hayward pump, Pentair Nautilus NS-48 DE filter, 2 skimmers, 12 - (2 x 20) Fafco Solar Panels (Goldline controller not hooked up yet), Hayward Swimpure Plus SWG, Blue Pearl Robot cleaner. New Dr. Wellness X-12 standalone Lifestyle Spa.

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    Re: Heater opinions requested

    You could hock it up to electric but you won't fully know if it's all functional without gas and water flow. You could take some time and a volt meter to check a few things but you still won't know for sure until hooked up. As for the header, you can look inside and see if it looks rusted or not. If the heater truly hasn't been used then it should be in great shape internally.
    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: Heater opinions requested

    Quote Originally Posted by ps0303 View Post
    You could hock it up to electric but you won't fully know if it's all functional without gas and water flow. You could take some time and a volt meter to check a few things but you still won't know for sure until hooked up. As for the header, you can look inside and see if it looks rusted or not. If the heater truly hasn't been used then it should be in great shape internally.
    Do you think it's worth the price or am I better off just biting the bullet and spending more money? You are the resident guru. Thanks again.
    36,000 gallon IG Gunite (40 x 20), 1.5 HP Hayward pump, Pentair Nautilus NS-48 DE filter, 2 skimmers, 12 - (2 x 20) Fafco Solar Panels (Goldline controller not hooked up yet), Hayward Swimpure Plus SWG, Blue Pearl Robot cleaner. New Dr. Wellness X-12 standalone Lifestyle Spa.

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    Re: Heater opinions requested

    If it were hooked up and you could verify everything it might be a good deal. Who knows. It's a gamble for sure. Obviously you're going to pay alot more for a new one but then you could get the 266K unit that would be more suitable for your size pool with your solar and you would know that you are safe for many years to come. A new one purchased and installed from a local company will probably be over $2K I'm sure.

    So it's really up to you. Take a gamble or safe up a little more $$ for a new one.
    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: Heater opinions requested

    Quote Originally Posted by ps0303 View Post
    If it were hooked up and you could verify everything it might be a good deal. Who knows. It's a gamble for sure. Obviously you're going to pay alot more for a new one but then you could get the 266K unit that would be more suitable for your size pool with your solar and you would know that you are safe for many years to come. A new one purchased and installed from a local company will probably be over $2K I'm sure.

    So it's really up to you. Take a gamble or safe up a little more $$ for a new one.
    Thanks much for all your help. I really appreciate your input
    36,000 gallon IG Gunite (40 x 20), 1.5 HP Hayward pump, Pentair Nautilus NS-48 DE filter, 2 skimmers, 12 - (2 x 20) Fafco Solar Panels (Goldline controller not hooked up yet), Hayward Swimpure Plus SWG, Blue Pearl Robot cleaner. New Dr. Wellness X-12 standalone Lifestyle Spa.

  17. Back To Top    #17
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    Re: Heater opinions requested

    Back to the Original Poster klandingham:

    If you are required to use the electric version (I suspect that MA might have the same rules as CA: NO PILOT LIGHTS), how about a Goldenrod (Amazon.com: GoldenRod 36 inch Dehumidifier 7D-36: Home Kitchen) or equivalent to control moisture in the heater? You may have some nasty sea air. The dehumidifier could maybe extend case life?

    p.s. - The remains of an old Ray-Pac came with this place. It's only controls are a toggle switch and a rheostat thermostat.
    I'm not real certain these 'computerized everything' units are an improvement.
    Dave
    Sacramento
    1980's 15,000 Gal IG Plaster; 1 1/2 hp Hayward Northstar; Hayward Swimclear C3025 Cartridge Filter (325 sq ft, nom.); Pentair Legend; Polaris PB4-60; Equipment 40' from pool. p.s.: it's an aye-aye.

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    Re: Heater opinions requested

    Hey there!

    Firstly I must apologize for not getting back to the kind folks who took the time to reply to my OP.

    FWIW, I did get another Raypak. I did do a considerable amount of reading beforehand. A local dealer tried to sell us on a StaRite. I did like the fact that the case could not rust (not metal), but the horror stories I read about problems with the electronics put me off. We did have the Raypak installed and therefore got the full warranty.

    I must add that I found Raypak's support to be fantastic: for whatever reason, the compression fittings for the water connections were missing from the carton. I emailed Raypak about this - and in less than a day I got a call from a very nice gentleman who was the regional sales rep, and he shipped me the missing parts in less than a week. IMO you don't come across support like that very often these days.

    The other thing I would mention is that just before we bought the heater, I called local pool dealers for a price...and I was shocked at what they were asking. We bought the heater online for $2K with free shipping. Appreciating the fact that local dealers struggle to make ends meet when competing with the big Internet sellers, I told my wife I'd be willing to pay a few hundred dollars more to help keep local dealers in business and she agreed. But when I called our favorite dealer, their price was $4500! They told me if I bought it that day, they would take 10% off the installation charges. Wow. Thanks. That would have been close to $5K for the same heater. The simple fact was that I just didn't have that much money. So are choices were buy online, or not get a heater. Crazy.

    Anyways, thanks again for the excellent helpful info!

  19. Back To Top    #19
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    Re: Heater opinions requested

    Yes, I know where you are coming from. I bought a replacement Raypak 2100 online a few years ago and installed it myself and saved $1600.
    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: Heater opinions requested

    $4500??? Wow! Sounds like they were quoting you the professional series model.
    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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