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Thread: Replacing pool heater – need advice!

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    Replacing pool heater – need advice!

    We are getting ready to replace our 400K BTU natural gas heater and are looking for some updated recommendations on brands/models. We are in Houston, TX, and heat the spa regularly, but the full pool probably only a couple times/year. I’ve read many of the postings here and there seems to be a lot of support for Raypak/Rheem and much distaste for Hayward. How about Jandy or Pentair? I was intrigued by the Lochinvar another poster recommended, but I’m not sure it has the value for the money for me.

    I’m also curious about the wide range of prices online for a given model. For one Pentair MasterTemp it ranged from $1689-$2289?!

    What are some of the risks or other things to be aware of if ordering online? We haven’t had a regular pool company for over a year so I’ll be on the hunt for someone to do the installation. Having had so much bad luck with pool companies this part makes me very nervous! The local ‘big box’ pool stores like Leslie’s are willing to offer deals, but they quoted $2429 for the same heater above (though with free installation).

    Thoughts on any other pertinent points I might be missing are also welcomed!
    Mike

    22,000 gallons, cartridge filter, 1.5 hp hayward pump
    ag, vinyl

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    susa's Avatar
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    Re: Replacing pool heater – need advice!

    you may be able to compare the leslies price with places like ebay, amazon, craigslist and for anything needing a specialized installation, it's often possible to do as much as you can yourself and just pay for the actual hookup. for example, there would be no need to incur the time and work effort for an expert to remove an old installation when you can also turn off breaker, disconnect and have all the new parts ready and waiting on-site on the day you have asked for the expert to come.

    I've picked up brand new pumps, filters and cells from ebay, sometimes for 50% off and everything came with full manufacturer warranty (yes, I called and registered all components) and have also picked up parts from local wholesalers who appear now more than willing to allow individuals to pay in cash and purchase at wholesale cost.


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    Re: Replacing pool heater – need advice!

    Ordering on line is great for the DIYer but don't expect a pro to install it. That's like bringing your own steak to a steakhouse like Outback or Ruth's Chris.

    The Rheem/RayPak and Pentair/Sta-Rite MasterTemp/Max-E-Therm are about equal in quality. The Rheem/RayPak electronic ignition are usually a little less money.

    If you were replacing the pump and filter too, then the Pentair/Sta-Rite line, with the extended warranty when purchased together makes the small premium worth while.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Replacing pool heater – need advice!

    Rheem's site makes a reference to internet orders and says that MAYBE warrenty's can be compromised unless you buy from a dealer. I think it's probably BS. A warrenty is a warrenty. I suppose since Rheem is offering it, they can do as they want, but I think if they denied a warrenty claim based on an interent sale, you could fight it.
    Like Scott said though, if you order it online, be prepared to DYI the install.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    susa's Avatar
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    Re: Replacing pool heater – need advice!

    Pro's in S.Florida are very humble and install readily upon request. In every trade previous aversion to customer supplied parts is out-the-window and especially so when the parts are in sealed containers with original wholesaler labels which is the same place the pro uses.

    Have always received full and extended (3 yr Pentair) warranty honored with this method.

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    Re: Replacing pool heater – need advice!

    Quote Originally Posted by susa
    Pro's in S.Florida are very humble and install readily upon request. .
    It's florida. The rules dont apply down there to much of anything

    Scott and I are in the northeast. Rules are different.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    susa's Avatar
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    Re: Replacing pool heater – need advice!

    > The rules dont apply down there to much of anything

    You may be correct. We live in interesting economic times and cash is king.

    When it comes down to making a house payment or feeding the children, the professionals in every field, including medical, IT, mechanical are willing to discuss rates and once an agreement is reached, they do an excellent job since they know word-of-mouth referrals are a valuable commodity.

    Works with hospital bills and new car purchase too.

    FWIW, I've purchased from online major pool suppliers who are *approved Pentair, Hayward, Jandy* vendors and *are not* located in Florida. Final invoice after some discussion was 47% off the advertised *special*. Full warranty included.

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    Re: Replacing pool heater – need advice!

    Thanks for all the tips so far. We're going to call around to some local folks and just see what they have to say for starters! I work in a service industry myself, so I appreciate the steak/Ruth's Chris analogy, but it can't hurt to ask around!

    On the specific topic of brands, Hayward seems to be the most popular by far in this area, but the online feedback I've seen here isn't very good. Any thoughts/recent experiences?
    Mike

    22,000 gallons, cartridge filter, 1.5 hp hayward pump
    ag, vinyl

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    XsAllOverIt's Avatar
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    Re: Replacing pool heater – need advice!

    I've got to tell you, I've got the Pentair Max-E-Therm 400000 BTU heater and have only used it currently for 2 months. I was really worried about my gas bill for December since the temperatures at night were averaging in the teens here in MD. I run my heater full-time at 70 and heat up to 100 whenever we get in (about twice per week). My bill in January was $73. Can't remember how many therms we used, but I'm VERY SATISFIED with this heater to-date. Farily quiet and obviously pretty efficient. Time will only tell. I have a 620 gallon gunnite spa that I'm heating.
    18 x 36 Inground Gunnite, White Plaster 21K gallon
    18" raised spa, 8' Diameter (620 gallon)
    Triton II Sand filter, Intellichlor IC40 SWG
    Pentair Pump, Max-E-Therm 400 BTU
    Lamotte ColorQ PRO 7-Plus test kit
    TFT-100 test kit

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