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Thread: Heater advice needed, fix or replace

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    Heater advice needed, fix or replace

    I have a 13 year old propane heater that failed last year and no one seems to want to fix it. It's a Purex Triton Minimax plus. Apparently these have a bad reputation. I had the control panel replaced so those functions operate but now it won't ignite. Last person who looked at it suspects it's a bad gas valve. I get flow indication, I can hear and feel the solenoid on the valve kick in and the igniter clicking but no gas smell and no flame. Pool store was supposed to order a new valve but they got got busy and punted.

    If I could order the valve myself online is this a DIY repair or dangerous since it's a gas component. It's seems to be a straight forward remove and replace but I don't know how to check for leaks after tightening the gas lines.

    Other option is to just replace the whole unit. It's 13 years old and apparently a troublesome product by reputation. I don't have natural gas so my options are another propane heater, electric or heat pump, or solar. I usually only use the heater in May and September and only plan to keep my house another 5 years so return on investment is a consideration.
    60' x 20' L-shape, 23K gal, NSW, IG Plaster, built spring 2002, 3 HP Inteliflo pump, Cartridge filter, gas heater, swim lane, volleyball net, Dolphin A30i robot.

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    Re: Heater advice needed, fix or replace

    Well at some point you are past a return on your investment and then your best option is to replace the unit. A couple of things first. Do you have gas in your tank? Is there a regulator by the heater? I would make sure there is nothing wrong with the propane tank, like being out of gas, and that the regulator is working. Heck maybe someone shut your tank off. Your propane supplier can check those things for you at least. Plus maybe they could replace the gas valve on the heater. BTW, these were great units when they we made.

    Just remember, you could be putting money into something that could work for one more day or one month or longer. It's the gamble you take.
    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 advice needed, fix or replace

    Good idea calling propane dealer. At least I'd know I have gas to the unit. And yes, I agree not to take chances with gas lines.

    Know of any good resources to calculate cost of operation between electric and gas. I found a link in post here on TFP but it seemed biased towards heat pumps.
    60' x 20' L-shape, 23K gal, NSW, IG Plaster, built spring 2002, 3 HP Inteliflo pump, Cartridge filter, gas heater, swim lane, volleyball net, Dolphin A30i robot.

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    Re: Heater advice needed, fix or replace

    Heat pumps are almost as cheap to operate as natural gas. The units are more expensive and can be expensive to install if you don't have enough power already run to your subpanel. Propane tends to lag quite a bit behind in cost to operate for a few reasons. Mostly just being the cost of the fuel. I like you don't have the option of natural gas but I do have a buried 500 gal propane tank for my house I went with a heat pump to save on propane costs. Obviously you are already set up for propane and the cost to install a heat pump will likely double the cost of a new propane heater so there is that to consider in terms of your ROI. Solar is another option if you have the space to put the panels. Upfront costs for solar can also get expensive but you will never have to pay a fuel bill for your pool with solar.

    Replacing a gas valve is not something you want to be unsure about doing any leaks there could lead either to large waste of fuel or on the more dramatic side of things an explosion.
    Chuck-
    15x30 Above ground, Pentair Superflo VS, 19" sand filter, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: Heater advice needed, fix or replace

    So I took your advice and called my propane dealer and two techs came by within an hour. They immediately verified gas was flowing to the valve in the heater. Then they verified gas flows through the valve when the solenoid activates. They think it's a clogged line to the pilot. Took them all of 15 minutes to figure this out, 10 of which was cracking open the rusty inlet pipe. They are coming back today to clean out the line and the rest of the pipes.

    Thanks for the suggestions on the heat pump. I too have a 500 gal tank which feeds my pool heater and back up generator. If these guys can get the heater going obviously I'll keep what I have. It's a matter of time before I'll need to replace so you've given me some things to think about. Propane is hideously expensive around here in MD.
    60' x 20' L-shape, 23K gal, NSW, IG Plaster, built spring 2002, 3 HP Inteliflo pump, Cartridge filter, gas heater, swim lane, volleyball net, Dolphin A30i robot.

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    Re: Heater advice needed, fix or replace

    You can check the individual brass orifices attached to the gas manifold in front of the burner tray. I believe they're 7/16 and unscrew. Common for spiders to have webs in there restricting the flow to the burners. This usually results in a hard start condition (loud bang upon ignition) but I've seen it also prevent the heater from lighting. Also I think Pentair requests the propane tank to be above 50% in order to sustain the correct pressure to keep the heater lit. Odd that you don't smell gas though, especially since it's propane.

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    Re: Heater advice needed, fix or replace

    A 500 gal tank will have no problems supplying a heater with plenty of gas no matter what level it is filled to.
    Chuck-
    15x30 Above ground, Pentair Superflo VS, 19" sand filter, TF-100 test kit
    Aqua Comfort ACT750 heat pump / 6x20 ground mount solar panel / DIY automation

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    Re: Heater advice needed, fix or replace

    You can run a propane tank down below 20% will no issues on the operation of a heater.
    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 advice needed, fix or replace

    The propane company techs came today and cleaned out the burners and lines. Must have been clogged pretty bad as it hasn't worked in a long time. Working fine now, pumping warm water as I type. Interesting how the pool companies were too busy to come out. I guess they have more fruitful service calls than fixing heaters. I assume with warmer temps propane companies see a slow down this time of year. Good for them to have a customer with a working heater drinking gas. Thanks for the helpful suggestions.
    60' x 20' L-shape, 23K gal, NSW, IG Plaster, built spring 2002, 3 HP Inteliflo pump, Cartridge filter, gas heater, swim lane, volleyball net, Dolphin A30i robot.

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