Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: need new pool heater, which type is best?

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    35

    need new pool heater, which type is best?

    We currently have a non-working gas heater that didn't work when we bought the place last summer, the model of the non-working heater is a MiniMax N7 400,000 BTU unit, 80% efficiency. So for buying a new heater, is the best option cost efficiency wise to just buy a new gas heater?

    Since we've never used it we don't have any historic costs to go by, but after looking at info about heating costs we were slightly shocked to hear that average annual costs are $2376 in Los Angeles (without cover @ 80 degrees) but that according to an article on ehow annual costs for heat pumps average $1210 in Los Angeles, but are those numbers really based on the high electricity costs in LA where even tier 1 starts at 13c/kWh and already at tier 3 it's up to 29c and tier 5 36c? Just by running the pump 3hrs/day we easily get up to tier 3 levels, so I'm not so sure about the cost efficiency of adding a pool heater that runs on electricity?!

    We're not ready to go solar right now, since a pool solar heater seems to take up the better part of your roof, and then we could just as well do solar for the entire house first instead... and that's not something we have time to delve into right now...

    Any other options? What does everyone here recommend, especially people in the socal area with similar climate, gas & electricity costs?

    Thanks!
    IG, pebble tech, approx 20k gallons (33x16 free form) with 3ft raised spa approx 1k gallons & waterfall
    Pentair FNS Plus FNSP60 DE filter (broken), 3 Pentair WhisperFlo WFE-8 2HP 1.30SF pumps (2 broken, 1 leaking a bit when starting), MiniMax N7 gas heater (also broken), AquaRite SWG (it or cell not working), AquaLink RS8 Control, Dolphin Z5 cleaner, TF-100 test kit

  2. Back To Top    #2

    In the Industry

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    340

    Re: need new pool heater, which type is best?

    What are you looking to do with the heater? Heat the whole pool or just a hot tub? In most cases, it makes more sense to use an electric heat pump to heat the pool.
    25K aggregate IG, Intellipro, FNS48, Polaris 360, PG2000 fiber optic light source

  3. Back To Top    #3
    Isaac-1's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    SW Louisiana
    Posts
    6,711

    Re: need new pool heater, which type is best?

    There is a lot to any type of pool heating system, one big factor is how do you plan to use it, would this be a matter of maintaining a temperature throughout the swim season / year, or would you want to heat it up on demand (weekends only, etc.)
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
    ~Remember TFP counts on your donations to keep this site ad free~

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    35

    Re: need new pool heater, which type is best?

    Maybe I should have been more clear, I want to heat the pool and also spa, I'll add a picture showing both pool & spa.

    Electric heat pump, Really?! I thought they were the most expensive option to heat a pool, especially in LA with our high electricity costs?!
    IG, pebble tech, approx 20k gallons (33x16 free form) with 3ft raised spa approx 1k gallons & waterfall
    Pentair FNS Plus FNSP60 DE filter (broken), 3 Pentair WhisperFlo WFE-8 2HP 1.30SF pumps (2 broken, 1 leaking a bit when starting), MiniMax N7 gas heater (also broken), AquaRite SWG (it or cell not working), AquaLink RS8 Control, Dolphin Z5 cleaner, TF-100 test kit

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    35

    Re: need new pool heater, which type is best?

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1
    There is a lot to any type of pool heating system, one big factor is how do you plan to use it, would this be a matter of maintaining a temperature throughout the swim season / year, or would you want to heat it up on demand (weekends only, etc.)
    I guess generally I would like to maintain a nice temperature for most of the year if manageable, but I guess it depends a bit on cost vs heating it on demand, we will probably mostly use it on weekends afterall. Also like I said in the previous post, I forgot to mention there is also an attached spa that we want to heat...

    We're also considering adding a solar cover to decrease heating costs...
    IG, pebble tech, approx 20k gallons (33x16 free form) with 3ft raised spa approx 1k gallons & waterfall
    Pentair FNS Plus FNSP60 DE filter (broken), 3 Pentair WhisperFlo WFE-8 2HP 1.30SF pumps (2 broken, 1 leaking a bit when starting), MiniMax N7 gas heater (also broken), AquaRite SWG (it or cell not working), AquaLink RS8 Control, Dolphin Z5 cleaner, TF-100 test kit

  6. Back To Top    #6

    In the Industry

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    340

    Re: need new pool heater, which type is best?

    Take into account that I am in north Florida. We have a surplus of electricity so I can't compare apples to apples. Heck, I don't even know what my rates are. I just pay the bill.

    You certainly want to use some sort of evaporation barrier, preferably a solar blanket. At the very least, use some of the liquid solar blanket (cue snake oil, you got pool stored post).

    Gas heaters are good for hot tubs because they heat the water quickly and basically at any ambient temperature. You crank it up before dinner and you're in the hot tub before your food settles. On the pool side of things, they'll heat it quickly and at any temperature, but it's going to use a lot of gas.

    With a heat pump, you'd get it going before you leave for work Friday and probably be ready to swim in the pool that evening, definitely Saturday morning. On the hot tub side of it, you can probably crank it right when you get home and be ready to go after dinner. Depending on the size of the heater, it may even get it up to temperature in an hour or two. Most heat pumps won't work below 40 degrees.

    Edit: I'd have a solar guy come give your situation a look. I have many customers who are in situations where the solar is more than adequate to maintain a warm pool on its own, with a little help from a heat pump on either end of the season.

    That is a beautiful pool by the way. Love that elevated spa.
    25K aggregate IG, Intellipro, FNS48, Polaris 360, PG2000 fiber optic light source

  7. Back To Top    #7
    Richard320's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    San Dimas, CA (LA County)
    Posts
    18,768

    Re: need new pool heater, which type is best?

    Quote Originally Posted by bjornk

    Any other options? What does everyone here recommend, especially people in the socal area with similar climate, gas & electricity costs?

    Thanks!
    I use the heater only to heat the spa. Twice last year we had pool parties and I ran the heater a few hours just to bring the temperature up from 80 to about 83.

    If I intended to swim year round, I'd look into solar. Two or three hundred a month to swim an hour or so a few times a week? No thanks! I don't even use the spa much in the winter. It feels good while you're in it, but that time between getting out of the spa and hitting the shower defeats it.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

  8. Back To Top    #8
    harleysilo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    North Georgia
    Posts
    1,924

    Re: need new pool heater, which type is best?

    Have you considered having a repair person fix your old heater?
    18'x43' Sport Pool
    19,000 Gallons Vinyl Liner 3'-3.5'-4'
    SWCG and D.E. Filter
    Test Kits - Pool Calculator - Chlorine/CYA Chart - Pool School

    Secret Weapon for Pool Chemistry Testing

  9. Back To Top    #9

    In the Industry

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    340

    Re: need new pool heater, which type is best?

    Quote Originally Posted by harleysilo
    Have you considered having a repair person fix your old heater?
    Doesn't sound like what he has I going to do best what he wants. It's also a discontinued, outdated, inefficient heater.
    25K aggregate IG, Intellipro, FNS48, Polaris 360, PG2000 fiber optic light source

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Orange County, CA
    Posts
    696

    Re: need new pool heater, which type is best?

    Quote Originally Posted by thepoolman
    Quote Originally Posted by harleysilo
    Have you considered having a repair person fix your old heater?
    Doesn't sound like what he has I going to do best what he wants. It's also a discontinued, outdated, inefficient heater.
    Based on the manual for the Minimax NT series, it looks like these were produced around 2004 or so, so it may not be all that outdated. Parts for these units are readily available from several online sources. As for efficiency, most current models from the big suppliers are not very much better than what he has, unless he wants to pay 2-3X the price for a high-efficiency 95% heater like the Jandy Hi-E2. Recovering the price differential between a standard "high efficiency" heater like the Master Temp Low NOx, or Raypak (both in the low 80's efficiency-wise) and a 95% Hi-E2 would take a particularly long time.

    We are located not far from the OP, and have considered the same issue. For us, it came down to a) the convenience of quickly heating the pool b) the ability to heat the attached spa on the fly, and c) the ridiculous cost of electricity vs. natural gas in Southern California. I would suggest at least a look at the heater to see why it is not functional, as it could be a relatively simple fix to repair it. Also, adding a solar cover will help to minimize the expense of keeping it heated.
    38K in ground pool with attached spa. Current equipment: Easytouch 8 (521150) with IC-60 SWCG with web control by Autelis, 1x Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 pump (for filter), 1x Pentair 2HP WhisperFlo pump (for waterfall), 2X Pentair IntelliBrite 5G 12V lights, Pentair MiniMax400 NG Heater, Pentair SMBW2060 DE filter. Zodiac Barracuda MX8 cleaner on dedicated cleaner line. Lighting/home automation controlled by Insteon/ISY-99i.

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: need new pool heater, which type is best?

    I agree with the last few posts.

    I'm in CT, I use the heater to pretty much just heat the spa. My pool, when my kids were home I used to use the heater a few times in spring and fall when the kids had parties for their sports teams, etc...but they're out of the house now. During the summer, my pool just through solar gain (no solar heating system, just simple sunshine) usually hovers in the high 80s. So when it comes time to heat the spa, I'm only looking to raise the temp another 15 degrees or so, to 100-102F, for example.

    We use the spa probably 4-5 nights a week. Because I want it hot when I want it hot, we use a 400k propane heater. We had a Pentair Minimax and it was problematic for years until literally, it went up in flames. Replaced it with a Raypak R2100 ASME heater, took me about 30 minutes to install it. We've had this heater for 3 or 4 years now, no problems whatsoever.

    I generally advise folk if they want heat NOW, like for a spa, go with gas or propane versus a heat pump. As to sizing it, remember that BTUs are BTUs. While a 200K heater will cost less than a 400k heater, they will essentially use the same number of BTUs, or the same volume of gas, to heat the water from temp A to temp B. The 200k will simply take twice as long to do it, as it puts out half the BTUs of the 400k heater.
    20' x 40' plaster pool with 6'D 4-jet spa. Estimate 23K Gallons
    Raypak ASME 400k propane heater, Pentair Intelliflo pump, Pentair Quad DE 100 filter
    Liquid Cl via Stenner 45MPHP10 pump and Intermatic HB880R timer
    Loop-loc cover, Letro Legend II sidewall cleaner, soon to be replaced
    Live in CT, use pool from mid-APR to mid-NOV

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    35

    Re: need new pool heater, which type is best?

    Quote Originally Posted by thepoolman
    Take into account that I am in north Florida. We have a surplus of electricity so I can't compare apples to apples. Heck, I don't even know what my rates are. I just pay the bill.

    You certainly want to use some sort of evaporation barrier, preferably a solar blanket. At the very least, use some of the liquid solar blanket (cue snake oil, you got pool stored post).

    Gas heaters are good for hot tubs because they heat the water quickly and basically at any ambient temperature. You crank it up before dinner and you're in the hot tub before your food settles. On the pool side of things, they'll heat it quickly and at any temperature, but it's going to use a lot of gas.

    With a heat pump, you'd get it going before you leave for work Friday and probably be ready to swim in the pool that evening, definitely Saturday morning. On the hot tub side of it, you can probably crank it right when you get home and be ready to go after dinner. Depending on the size of the heater, it may even get it up to temperature in an hour or two. Most heat pumps won't work below 40 degrees.

    Edit: I'd have a solar guy come give your situation a look. I have many customers who are in situations where the solar is more than adequate to maintain a warm pool on its own, with a little help from a heat pump on either end of the season.
    Yeah I'm thinking gas heater would be the best choice, heats fast so we can turn it on when we want to use it, then try to keep it up as much as possible using a solar cover.

    I found a chart on energy.gov that at least included a *based on $x/kwh" at the bottom of the chart. It's funny how misleading some of those charts can be even on sites like energy.gov where they show "Gas Heating costs by Location", only they don't consider the differences in energy costs per location, so instead of a $1200 heating cost in LA @ $.085/kwh which would be almost half of the gas heating costs, for us it would be more like $4659 @ $.33 or more, which would be twice the cost of gas heating, comparatively...

    Quote Originally Posted by thepoolman
    That is a beautiful pool by the way. Love that elevated spa.
    Thank you We love it too, now it would be even better if we would actually start using it
    IG, pebble tech, approx 20k gallons (33x16 free form) with 3ft raised spa approx 1k gallons & waterfall
    Pentair FNS Plus FNSP60 DE filter (broken), 3 Pentair WhisperFlo WFE-8 2HP 1.30SF pumps (2 broken, 1 leaking a bit when starting), MiniMax N7 gas heater (also broken), AquaRite SWG (it or cell not working), AquaLink RS8 Control, Dolphin Z5 cleaner, TF-100 test kit

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    35

    Re: need new pool heater, which type is best?

    Quote Originally Posted by CraigMW
    Quote Originally Posted by thepoolman
    Quote Originally Posted by harleysilo
    Have you considered having a repair person fix your old heater?
    Doesn't sound like what he has I going to do best what he wants. It's also a discontinued, outdated, inefficient heater.
    Based on the manual for the Minimax NT series, it looks like these were produced around 2004 or so, so it may not be all that outdated. Parts for these units are readily available from several online sources. As for efficiency, most current models from the big suppliers are not very much better than what he has, unless he wants to pay 2-3X the price for a high-efficiency 95% heater like the Jandy Hi-E2. Recovering the price differential between a standard "high efficiency" heater like the Master Temp Low NOx, or Raypak (both in the low 80's efficiency-wise) and a 95% Hi-E2 would take a particularly long time.

    We are located not far from the OP, and have considered the same issue. For us, it came down to a) the convenience of quickly heating the pool b) the ability to heat the attached spa on the fly, and c) the ridiculous cost of electricity vs. natural gas in Southern California. I would suggest at least a look at the heater to see why it is not functional, as it could be a relatively simple fix to repair it. Also, adding a solar cover will help to minimize the expense of keeping it heated.
    Yes we did consider repairing the heater, but first of all when we bought the place last summer the heater doors were open & wires sticking out so I have no idea what has been done to it, all I know is the pool inspector who did a quick visual inspection said he didn't think it was worth trying to repair it. From what I've seen these heaters only last up to 10 years or so, and I'm guessing this heater is probably about that old so even if we would get it working how long before it's EOL anyway?...

    Aren't there any middle-ground 90% efficiency heaters that are more efficient than my old heater but still at a decent price-range? I saw that 95% Jandy for $5k+ and I'm not so sure that'll pay for the big price difference...
    IG, pebble tech, approx 20k gallons (33x16 free form) with 3ft raised spa approx 1k gallons & waterfall
    Pentair FNS Plus FNSP60 DE filter (broken), 3 Pentair WhisperFlo WFE-8 2HP 1.30SF pumps (2 broken, 1 leaking a bit when starting), MiniMax N7 gas heater (also broken), AquaRite SWG (it or cell not working), AquaLink RS8 Control, Dolphin Z5 cleaner, TF-100 test kit

Posting Permissions

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