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Thread: Heater Help (Supplement to Solar)

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    Heater Help (Supplement to Solar)

    We had our pool installed about 6 years ago. We decided at the time to install solar panels which have worked awesome. We figure they have definitely paid for themselves and then some. At the time we built our pool we had oil heating for our home. We have since converted to NG. With that being said, we are considering adding a natural gas heater to our pool. The *only* reason being is that towards the middle part of August, the sun is fairly low on the horizon, even though our backyard gets full sun from 9-sunset, the sun is just not as strong. We usually end up losing about 5 degrees overnight and regain only about 3 degrees. There was one August it rained a cold rain for one week straight and we never regained a pool temp above 78-80. Our entire August had been lost. Yes, 80 is too cold for us...spoiled, I know.

    So my question is, how big of a heater/# of btu's do we need? We are only looking to supplement the solar so at the most we would need to raise our pool by 15 degrees in September. People have told us 400k/btu's, but we are trying to figure out if that would be if it was our only source of pool heat and is overkill for this situation.

    If I calculate the surface area of our pool, which is a grecian-lazy-l, it comes to 680sf ((18+24)*.45) * 36. The depth averages 5.5 feet.

    The one other problem is the piping on the equipment pad will need to be reconfigured and of course most pool companies won't do the reconfiguration unless we buy the heater through them, which is an extra $1k over an internet supplier. Will need to try to find someone to do it on the side.

    One last question which I know will vary is brand. My sister in SanDiego has a Pentair MinMax, my sister in Arkansas has a Jandy(don't know model) and we were looking @ a Hayward H-400, but the reviews on Amazon for Hayward say to stay away.

    I can do further research on the brand, but my main question is how big of a heater do we actually need to suit our purpose.

    Thanks for your time.
    18x36 IG Vinyl Grecian Lazy L (20k gallons) ~ Whisperflo DS 2.0HP pump ~ QuadDE100 filter ~ Autopilot SWG DIG-60 ~ (7) 4x16 solar panels

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Tucson, AZ

    Re: Heater Help (Supplement to Solar)

    The size of the heater generally does not impact the cost to heat the water much ... it just impacts how FAST the water is heated. The bigger the heater, the faster the water will be heated up. Of course, the bigger heater costs more up front and required a larger gas pipe which will cost more initially as well.

    There are many posts that discuss heater brands ... seems that Raypak is usually most recommended.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    ps0303's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Re: Heater Help (Supplement to Solar)

    As mentioned above, it depends on how fast you want to heat the pool. If you think you might want to swim in say mid Jan for a weekend, not sure where you live, then you would want to heat it fast and a 400K would be good. Other wise a 250K or comparable would work.

    My business is gas pool heaters and I work on all brands and from my experience I can tell you that Raypak/Rheem has the better reputation. I repair more Pentair, Sta Rite, Hayward's, and others than the Raypak brand.

    One thing you also have to consider is how far you will have to run a gas line to the heater. Doesn't sound like you have any pipe there now by the equipment pad so you will need to factor that into your cost.

    $1K over internet pricing is fairly common. Just like AC units, you have a normal markup but AC's can't be installed by the average Joe homeowner. If you find anyone that is really really cheap, you better make sure they have all the correct licenses and insurance. Also, I have price competed with many others in my area who were cheaper than me. Their work was sloppy and in less than 2 years they were out of business because they priced themselves too low. Many people think they will make it up in volume but that isn't always the case.
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