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Thread: Is pool heater condensation harmful to equipment?

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    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Saint Louis, MO

    Is pool heater condensation harmful to equipment?

    If I turn on my pool heater when the water is very cold (like less than 40 deg), I see a LOT of white smoke or steam coming from the heater. I have only let it run for a few minutes, out of fear that I am damaging my equipment. I assume what I am seeing is steam from condensation, due to attempting to heat very cold water. Will this damage my heater? Should I wait until the pool water naturally rises above a certain temperature before turning on the heater?
    18x40 ft shotcrete, 4-8 ft deep. Pebble Sheen finish. Coverstar auto cover. Hayward c4030 filter. Hayward H series 300k BTU. Intelliflo pump. Intellichlor IC40. Pentair Easytouch controls. Dolphin Nautilus robot.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Silver Spring, MD

    Re: Is pool heater condensation harmful to equipment?

    If this happens once, or once a year, it is no big deal and there shouldn't be any significant damage. But if you do this regularly, for example daily for weeks or months at a time, it will significantly shorten the life of the heater.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  3. Back To Top    #3

    TFP Guide

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    western NY

    Re: Is pool heater condensation harmful to equipment?

    As Jason indicated, one in a while should be no problem. If you are familiar with High efficiency house furnaces (90+) then you will understand what is happening. Effectively you are cooling the exhaust gas below the condensation temp of 135-140 deg. When this happens the water vapor in the exhaust forms water droplets and runs down inside the unit. You do not want this to happen too often as the condensed water is slightly acidic and will start to corrode the sheet metal parts inside the unit. The water also contains carbon which will start to build up on the heat exchanger and plug it up. 90+ furnaces are designed with stainless components and drains to combat this issue. Pool heaters are not.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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