Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: My DIY Natural Gas Heater

  1. Back To Top    #1
    pool_clueless's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Evans, GA
    Posts
    25

    My DIY Natural Gas Heater

    Just thought I would share my experiences with my DIY heater install. I did my research before I even thought about ordering it. I downloaded the owners manual for the heater I was thinking about, and read the manual to be sure I could do it all myself before I bought the heater. So here are a few gotcha's to watch out for:
    1. Make sure you get the right size heater(BTUH) for your gas line and gas meter if using natural gas. I didn't use propane gas, but I am sure you would have similar limitations. The old heater that the original owner had installed was a 350k BTUH. But the line that he had run to it was about 60 feet long and only 3/4" diameter. It was way under supplied and starving for gas which caused a lot of sooting and the original owner said it only lasted about 2 years. I had to rip out all the 3/4" pipe and install 1 1/4" supply line from the meter, then tap the 1 1/4" line with short 3/4" runs to my appliances and pool heater. Also call your gas company and ask them if your meter can supply enough volume for your heater, in addition to any other natural gas appliances you may have.
    2. Check to see if your local laws allow you to do your own work. In my county, Columbia County GA, you are allowed to do anything you want on the customer side of the utilities. But you do have to get a building permit, and have the work inspected when you are finished. Building permit cost me $50 which includes the first inspection. If I don't pass inspection, it costs $30 for each re-inspection until I get it right. I started by calling a local plumber first, BAD IDEA. The local plumber told me that I would be fined $500 if I touched anything in my house, even if I changed out a leaky fawcet. I figured that was bull, so I called the county officials that issue building permits and do inspections. They gave me the real story. In my county, you only have to have a permit if you are doing major structural work, or something like I did with the gas line.
    3. Set your heater on something that will prevent it from being flooded if the water lines nearby rupture. I have mine sitting on a cinder block pedestal. The old heater was sitting on the ground level and was completely rusted out in the bottom. Original owner must have just let the backwash hit the ground, and the heater is right beside the filter.
    4. Leave plenty of space around the heater so you can work on it. I have about 3 feet on all sides but the back, which has about 6 inches. Made it real nice when I swapped the water inlet and outlet to the left side, cause it was manufactured on the right and my supply was coming from the left.
    5. Flexible PVC? I used flexible 1 1/2" "SPA" PVC when running my water lines to the heater. It just made it easier to pull a hose up and glue it instead of using $20 worth of 90 and 45 degree elbows to get my line from the multiport on my filter to the heater. It does cost more, but for me it is worth it to not have the hassle of lining up all the freaking fittings.
    6. One thing I didn't do that I learned - buy more pipe and fittings than you think you will need. I made about 5 trips back to lowes, home depot, and Ferguson plumbing supply before I finished the job. Save your receipts and if you don't use an item, you can always return it.
    7. Have a Helper. I could have done it all myself, but my teenage sons really made the job 10 times easier. Their backs are still limber and not nearly as stiff as mine. Makes crawling under the house dragging pipe not so formidable a job.
    8. Don't forget to bleed the air out of the gas line when you finish. Or it will take forever for your appliances to light.

    I will post pictures when I get more time. Just thought I would get this down while I am thinking about it.
    20,000 gal L shaped, 28' x 28' (legs of L are 14' wide), with Jacuzzi spillover to pool, pentair de filter 48sqft, 1.5hp booster on Jacuzzi, 1.5hp hayward variable speed on pool, Raypak 199kBtuh heater

  2. Back To Top    #2

    TFP Guide

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    western NY
    Posts
    1,557

    Re: My DIY Natural Gas Heater

    Congrats. A job like this is very satisfying when done. Don't fret the plumber either. It seems to be a national thing as we get the same stuff around here. The plumbing board who licenses plumbers is always publishing threatening propaganda like this. In our area it is permissible to do your own workup to but not including connections to the sewer and water. The gas companies here allow a homeowner to do connections as long as it passes a visual and pressure test.

    As far as your old heater goes...something to keep in mind. Sooting is usually caused by running too cold of water thru the heater. This causes the flue gas temp to drop below the dew point and causes the water vapor in the flue gas to drop out as condensation. This will soot up the heater real bad and cause a lot of rust internally. Most underfed heaters I come across are running lean which won't cause soot, just not heat well. If they get to low on fuel then they do not fire properly
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    2,769

    Re: My DIY Natural Gas Heater

    One thing you don't mention is warranty.

    Most of the heater manufacturers require that the heater be installed by a licensed professional.

    Below is the language from Raypac's warranty document:

    Raypak, Inc. (Raypak) warrants to the original owner that the above model gas pool and spa heater (the
    “Heater”) when installed in the contiguous 48 states of the United States of America with a pool or spa by
    a properly licensed installer will be free from defects in materials and workmanship under normal use and
    service for the Applicable Warranty Period. Under this Limited Warranty, Raypak will, at its option, repair
    or furnish a replacement for any defective part of the HEATER. The repair or replacement will be
    warranted for only the unexpired portion of the original Applicable Warranty Period.

    So if you install a Raypac heater yourself and are not a licensed professional you don't meet the qualifications of the warranty. Raypac may honor the warranty, but they don't have to.

    The same is true with Pentair:

    http://www.pentairpool.com/pdfs/Limi...yCard-2-16.pdf

    At least with Pentair you get a 60 day warranty, with Raypac you get nada.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    793

    Re: My DIY Natural Gas Heater

    Can you install it yourself and then have a licensed installer review it and approve/sign-off on it saying it was done correctly to get 3 yr warranty?
    InGround 15K gal, 18'x30' 3.5' to 5.5' depth w/ 9'x9' spillover Spa, Pebblesheen w/ Travertine, Hayward 3 HP VSP, Hayward C4030 Cartridge, Hayward 1.5 HP for 2 Scupper columns, ProLogic, PL-PS-8 Panel, Hayward 400K BTU Heater, 3 ColorLogic LED, Spa Blower, TF-100 w S-Stick, QC Tiger Shark, Autofill

  5. Back To Top    #5

    TFP Guide

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    western NY
    Posts
    1,557

    Re: My DIY Natural Gas Heater

    Quote Originally Posted by tstex View Post
    Can you install it yourself and then have a licensed installer review it and approve/sign-off on it saying it was done correctly to get 3 yr warranty?
    Possibly. If you can find one who will do it. Here is the rub on that. He is going to assume all responsibility for that heater in the eyes of the manufacturer at that point. In doing so he is going to look at the situation from this perspective. Seeing as he did not get the job for the install he is going to charge you for that "look". Some will charge you the cost of the install for that "look"

    In another life I did furnace installs for a living and was certed by Lenox, Milwaukee thermoflow and a couple others for both gas and fuel oil. Every so often I would get a call for this exact thing. I stopped doing this after one particular incident that almost cost me one of my certs. A "customer" did an install and it was way wrong. I gave him a list of what needed to be fixed/added to the system. when I came back a few days later, I OK'd the install as it was good to go. Fast forward a year or so I get a call from the factory to see the customer about a problem with the unit. It turns out he changed a couple things back to the original bad install and caused the heat exchanger to crack. The factory rep came out and did not want to warranty the unit due to the condition it was found in. Fortunately I took pictures of the final install to cover my butt. Since the customer had obviously changed things from my final "look" the warranty did not apply. There was a host of legal stuff to follow but, in the end I was clear and so was the manufacturer
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

  6. Back To Top    #6
    pool_clueless's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Evans, GA
    Posts
    25

    Re: My DIY Natural Gas Heater

    Although a warranty is a good thing for marketing, I never count on warranties. Im willing to assume the risk as I had the local gas company come out and verify everything, which they did for free. When I finished the install I had no gas at any of my appliances. Fearing that I had somehow broken the meter or had a massive leak somewhere(even though i didn't smell gas), I called them to send a tech and check me out. The guy was super helpful and gave me an "A+" on my install job. Said I did very well for an amateur and had zero leaks. Also verified my calculations on volume, load, etc. and said the meter was just fine for the load, and no I didn't mess it up. The reason I had no gas is because I forgot to bleed out the air that was in the line after the install(Doh!). Silly mistake, I know, but I was so excited to be finished and fire up the heater that it just slipped my mind totally. I felt pretty sheepish when the tech said, "you bled the line, right?"

    I am also having the county inspector come out and he will sign off as well. Our county has very strict guidelines, hence the replacement of nearly all the gas line under my house. Me being an electrical engineer by degree and working in the engineering industry for 12 years before I came back in the Army, if something breaks I can most likely fix it myself, or negotiate with Raypak. From what I have read about Raypak, they have the best reviews for longevity, given a proper install. So if they don't honor the warranty after the county inspector and after the utility guy, who are both licensed, sign off on my install, then I think they are not a very good company and that could hurt their reputation.

    - - - Updated - - -

    By the way, the jacuzzi has been oh so toasty and nice.... the wife definitely approves. The kids said, "wow, this is awesome, and we didn't even have to go to myrtle beach or a hotel to sit in a hot tub!!" That is satisfaction enough for me to assume a little risk on warranty.
    20,000 gal L shaped, 28' x 28' (legs of L are 14' wide), with Jacuzzi spillover to pool, pentair de filter 48sqft, 1.5hp booster on Jacuzzi, 1.5hp hayward variable speed on pool, Raypak 199kBtuh heater

  7. Back To Top    #7

    In the Industry

    ps0303's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    3,436

    Re: My DIY Natural Gas Heater

    The inspectors do not count. Not sure inspectors hold a license in many places. They just make sure codes are followed.

    Your warranty will run out before you have an issue with the unit.
    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,

  8. Back To Top    #8
    pool_clueless's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Evans, GA
    Posts
    25

    Re: My DIY Natural Gas Heater

    Quote Originally Posted by ps0303 View Post
    Your warranty will run out before you have an issue with the unit.
    Which was exactly my reasoning in doing it myself. As long as I follow the instructions in the manual, making sure I also meet the gas requirements, what is a licensed gas plumber going to do different anyway?
    20,000 gal L shaped, 28' x 28' (legs of L are 14' wide), with Jacuzzi spillover to pool, pentair de filter 48sqft, 1.5hp booster on Jacuzzi, 1.5hp hayward variable speed on pool, Raypak 199kBtuh heater

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •