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Thread: Unconventional heater?

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    Unconventional heater?

    Due to nerve damage I need water therapy (physical therapy in water at about 89F).

    I have an indoor, inground pool and have had a series of Hayward natural gas heaters. They always seem to leak 1-6 months after the warrantee is up. Looking back over bills for about 15 years, we've had to pay roughly $1000 per year in parts and labor. They always claim that, "You had too many leaves wash into the pool," sorry, but it's indoors, there have been no leaves. Nobody in the region seems to carry anything else. The problem is that there are no local repair people who either show up or do competent repair and the closest official dealers don't want to drive 2 hours out into the middle of nowhere.

    Is there a way of replacing the pool heater with something far less expensive to replace, like a residential water heater? An on demand heater that just runs constantly? Remember this is indoors so the weather isn't an issue. I realize it would take a long time to heat up, but being indoors, there's not much exchange of heat with the environment so it's pretty stable.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Unconventional heater?

    Welcome to TFP!

    I think you need to stick to a pool heater. The Raypak heaters get great feedback on the forum. Being indoor, you can likely get by with a small heater if the speed of heating does not matter.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Unconventional heater?

    Has anyone investigated the water chemistry? What is leaking in the heater? Is it the exchanger? If so, you may have aggressive water eating away the copper heat exchanger. Another possibility is excessive flow literally stripping the copper away. You've got to stay with mfg specifications on GPM through the heater. Proper water flow (along with proper gas pressure and flow) also means the heater is operating efficiently, which can save on fuel costs.

    Like most everything in life, in order to get something better and longer lasting, you'll have to spend more. If you need to replace the entire heater, look at a commercial grade version with a cupro-nickel alloy heat exchanger. They're much more resistant (but not invulnerable) to poor chemistry and water flow. Most manufacturers make a commercial grade heater.

    If you want the best, look at the Zodiac/Laars Hi-E2 heater. They are just about the most efficient heater you can buy for a pool, but also one of the most expensive.
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    Re: Unconventional heater?

    Quote Originally Posted by poolkid View Post
    Has anyone investigated the water chemistry? What is leaking in the heater? Is it the exchanger? If so, you may have aggressive water eating away the copper heat exchanger. Another possibility is excessive flow literally stripping the copper away. You've got to stay with mfg specifications on GPM through the heater. Proper water flow (along with proper gas pressure and flow) also means the heater is operating efficiently, which can save on fuel costs.

    Like most everything in life, in order to get something better and longer lasting, you'll have to spend more. If you need to replace the entire heater, look at a commercial grade version with a cupro-nickel alloy heat exchanger. They're much more resistant (but not invulnerable) to poor chemistry and water flow. Most manufacturers make a commercial grade heater.

    If you want the best, look at the Zodiac/Laars Hi-E2 heater. They are just about the most efficient heater you can buy for a pool, but also one of the most expensive.
    It used to be well water that was off the scale for hardness, but when we finally got city water available it didn't improve anything.

    Are you saying that a high flow pump (which was recommended by the heater company) may simply be causing mechanical erosion? Yes, it's always the heat exchanger that dies. Then we have to shut it down and it usually takes 1-9 months (seriously) for anyone to show up to do anything. I'm convinced that it's the being shut down for so long that causes most of the damage. I live in an area that you have to be a DIY'er. It used to be ok when a friend of mine was still alive. He was a competent contractor, but he's not around anymore and unfortunately due to health I can't do that anymore either.

    I'll look up Raypak and Zodiac

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    Re: Unconventional heater?

    Unfortunately the new Hayward's do seem to leak around the 18-24 month time frame due to a manufacturing issue of which Hayward won't acknowledge. This is the reason that I won't install them. Also it was mentioned for you to look at the Zodiac/Laars but I see many issues with them as well. The only units that I have had great success with is the Raypak/Rheem. I've been installing them for many years and I hardly ever get complaints on them, especially leaking. I would also suggest like the other poster here said, check you water chemistry. An indoor pool is slightly different as far as keeping your chemicals in line as you don't have any direct sunlight or other outside conditions that can change the chemistry. The other thin is where is the heater actually located? If it's inside somewhere, is it in an area where you have a vent to the outside and does that area also get any fresh outside air to help with combustion. I see indoor units that sweat and it can cause pitting and rust to happen thus lowering the amount of life you get out of them. So there are several other factors you need to look at and possibly address before sinking more money into a unit.

    Oh and BTW, you really have to stick to a heater designed to be used with a pool. Anything else and you are only asking for more trouble and $$$$$.
    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: Unconventional heater?

    Quote Originally Posted by ps0303 View Post
    Unfortunately the new Hayward's do seem to leak around the 18-24 month time frame due to a manufacturing issue of which Hayward won't acknowledge. This is the reason that I won't install them. Also it was mentioned for you to look at the Zodiac/Laars but I see many issues with them as well. The only units that I have had great success with is the Raypak/Rheem. I've been installing them for many years and I hardly ever get complaints on them, especially leaking. I would also suggest like the other poster here said, check you water chemistry. An indoor pool is slightly different as far as keeping your chemicals in line as you don't have any direct sunlight or other outside conditions that can change the chemistry. The other thin is where is the heater actually located? If it's inside somewhere, is it in an area where you have a vent to the outside and does that area also get any fresh outside air to help with combustion. I see indoor units that sweat and it can cause pitting and rust to happen thus lowering the amount of life you get out of them. So there are several other factors you need to look at and possibly address before sinking more money into a unit.

    Oh and BTW, you really have to stick to a heater designed to be used with a pool. Anything else and you are only asking for more trouble and $$$$$.
    ps303 - I respect your opinion and experiences. I have been installing pool heaters for a few decades in the western US, and haven't encountered the leaking that you mention. I have installed 12 to 15 heaters per year over the last 10 years or so, and my heater of choice is the Pentair MasterTemp. I've had minor failures that were quickly repaired by the factory under warranty, but not one of them has leaked. I also don't install Hayward heaters, but for different reasons - primarily their overall low quality. I see Hayward heaters practically every day, and the only ones I've seen leak have been damaged by corrosive water.

    Your comment on the chemistry of indoor pools not having the same fluctuations as outdoor pools is partially correct. Indoor pools can get corrosive as easily as outdoor pools. As an example, if the OP is using a low pH chlorine and not correcting for it, you'll easily eat through a heat exchanger in days.

    You make a good point about condensation. If the ambient temp at the heater is low, the heater will condensate corrosive water (essentially acid rain) on the outside of the exchanger, causing additional damage. This is where a cupro-nickel heat exchanger pays off. The Laars Hi-E2 is actually designed to condensate on the exchanger and then onto the stainless steel case and into a drain. Once you're above ~84% efficiency rating, condensation is considered normal.
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    Re: Unconventional heater?

    Quote Originally Posted by poolkid View Post
    As an example, if the OP is using a low pH chlorine and not correcting for it, you'll easily eat through a heat exchanger in days.
    Hmm, I've never heard of a low PH chlorine.
    Paul
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    Re: Unconventional heater?

    The pump/heater room is vented. There's never been a problem with sweating or any corrosion on the outside. When the unit worked it wasn't even hot to the touch, but heated the water. The leaks always start with the heat exchanger. Normally the pH is rock stable and we were advised to run the chlorine low so it barely registers on a dipstick and we mainly have gone by the water's clarity requiring one 3 inch biscuit every 5 days or so.

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    Re: Unconventional heater?

    Well if your numbers are great, then I would have to say it's bad equipment.

    I install about 130 Raypak/Rheem heaters ever year and the call back rate is extremely low. I have had customers call me seven years after with their first problem. Now others have their own opinions on what heater is best but if you search thru this forum you will see a higher rating on the Raypak/Rheems.

    Which Hayward units have you had?
    Paul
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    Re: Unconventional heater?

    Just order your heater on Amazon. Don't need someone local to carry it

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    Re: Unconventional heater?

    Current dead model is a H200. I don't remember the previous model, but it was a little bigger. The first one before that ultimately turned out to be a retrofitted propane heater sold to us and installed by a Hayward authorized dealer as a new NG heater. Since propane and NG do not burn at the same temperatures...you know the answer, but of course Hayward wouldn't do anything about it.

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    Re: Unconventional heater?

    OK so I'm guessing this was still the older H200 and it wasn't the FD(forced draft) that had a blower on it for exhaust. Anyway, I would suggest that since you haven't had much luck with locals, that you could try and get one online, I usually don't advocate this, and then maybe you could find a reliable local person to hook it up. Just do your research on what brand/model you want and go from there. Since you've been burned by Hayward you will probably go with another manufacturer.
    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: Unconventional heater?

    Raypak Digital Natural Gas Pool Heater 200k BTU | Electronic Ignition | P-R206A-EN-C 009216 P-M206A-EN-C 009962

    I was thinking of getting this, if I can first find a local plumber who can install it, made some calls, waiting for an answer.

    I'm having trouble though with their site, can't find out, does it come with an electric cord? Do I need a separate cord, of what type? Are there special fittings not included? I've run into this unexpectedly with kitchen appliances and don't want to get the unit, have the guy show up to connect it and find out that there are parts not included. It's going to be close to a 2 hour round trip commute

    - - - Updated - - -

    It's a 1400 cubic foot pool volume, but again, indoors

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    Re: Unconventional heater?

    It requires a separate electrical connection, no cord. Just like a pool pump, it runs either off of 120 or 240. Since you have a Hayward unit now, the Rheem will be an easy fit. You would need some PVC pipe and 4 90's, elbows. Use schedule 40.
    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: Unconventional heater?

    Quote Originally Posted by WaterTherapy View Post
    ...Normally the pH is rock stable...
    What value is the pH? Is it rock steady at 6.8 or 7.5 or 8.0? Being rock steady at each of those pH levels would have different implications for heater longevity. How do you test your pH? Drop testing, strips, electronic?
    21K gal 16' x 40' in-ground pool built 1959, old school with Jacuzzi bronze pump, American Products 24" Sand Filter & Americana Multiport valve, Jandy Lite2 millivolt heater, Coverstar cover, and classic Kreepy Krauly.

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    Re: Unconventional heater?

    WaterTherapy,

    Do you keep a CYA level in the pool even though it is indoors? Normal FC levels without CYA can cause corrosion.

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...d-Indoor-Pools
    Mark
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    Re: Unconventional heater?

    pH = 7.0

    use test strips

    ?CYA level, it's not on the strips

    talked to a pool contractor who said he's too far away but suggested a heat pump with a back up gas fired...then he just rambled off topic. I had a lot of trouble understanding him. I couldn't understand if he was talking about heating the air or the water with the heat pump. It just made me more confused. Eventually he suggested a titanium heat exchanger for a gas pool heater...off to more googling

    Thanks for the comments

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    Re: Unconventional heater?

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985 View Post
    WaterTherapy,

    Do you keep a CYA level in the pool even though it is indoors? Normal FC levels without CYA can cause corrosion.

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...d-Indoor-Pools
    Not sure if this was your point and I have a bunch of other things going on right now, so might drift off the topic, but we use straight chlorine. I have a little different biology apparently than other people and get terribly sick if bromine is used. I realize that that is the exception

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    Re: Unconventional heater?

    Another thing that I've noticed (just did a test strip after the pool has cooled about 30 degrees from having the heater bypassed since it leaked to the point of shutting off the ignition) when this happens and we have to shut it down the chlorine level spikes up. Normally it barely registers, the same as it did when I first shut it down from the leak. It's been pumping but bypassing the heater for a little over 10 days or so and the chlorine dip strip now registers at maximum when we haven't added any chlorine during that time.

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    Re: Unconventional heater?

    With no CYA in the water, the chlorine is much more harsh and could be causing problems.

    You really should invest in one of the recommended test kits and stop trusting test strips.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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