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Thread: Good Reliable Heater Recommendations Needed Please

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    mickey4paws's Avatar
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    Good Reliable Heater Recommendations Needed Please

    We have an old Comfortzone natural gas heater (150,00 btu) from 1991 that has finally bit the dust. The burner tray is all rusted out and I'm sure there are other problems. It just won't fire up. Got it to start a couple times, but it just went out after a short period of time. We did have someone come out to look at it and he said he might have a burner tray and would get back to us. Anyway, I'm thinking unless it were not that much to get it fixed, we're looking to get a new heater and had a few questions:

    What is a really good reliable brand? Or, are they all pretty much the same? Is a cupro nickel heat exchanger really better, or is it simply marketing? How does Raypak compare to Sta-Rite Max-E-Therm? Millivolt or electronic? I understand the Max-E-Therm uses forced air and a blower. For anyone that has one of these, is it very loud? I'm also looking at a Lochnivar EnergyRite. Is this a good heater?

    We use a solar cover at night to keep the heat in, and mostly use a heater during May and September when it's cooler here. We're in Michigan if it makes a difference in choosing a particular heater. We have a 20,000 gallon inground vinyl lined pool and also have a salt water chlorine generator. Would 200,000 btu be enough? With our gas piping, I believe the most we could have is 266,000 btu.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
    IG 12' x 39' - 20k Gallons - Vinyl Lined - StaRite Cristal-Flo II 26" Sand Filter - Hayward SuperPump 1 hp - Dolphin Dynamic autocleaner - Lochinvar Energyrite gas heater - Aqua Rite SWCG T-15 - TF100 Test Kit - Skimlite Duallly 9016 pole (great pole)

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    mickey4paws's Avatar
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    Re: Good Reliable Heater Recommendations Needed Please

    Bump?
    IG 12' x 39' - 20k Gallons - Vinyl Lined - StaRite Cristal-Flo II 26" Sand Filter - Hayward SuperPump 1 hp - Dolphin Dynamic autocleaner - Lochinvar Energyrite gas heater - Aqua Rite SWCG T-15 - TF100 Test Kit - Skimlite Duallly 9016 pole (great pole)

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    DaveNJ's Avatar
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    Re: Good Reliable Heater Recommendations Needed Please

    Can only comment on my Hayward. Its been working fine for 4 years. It may take a little time, but someone from the industry/service may chime in.
    IG 18x36 oval vinyl, Spill over spa, Northstar 2hp-2spd, 2.5" piping, S310T 500lb Sand filter, 400k gas heater, AutoPilot SWCG
    http://www.tftestkits.net/

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    mickey4paws's Avatar
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    Re: Good Reliable Heater Recommendations Needed Please

    Thanks, Dave, I appreciate it
    IG 12' x 39' - 20k Gallons - Vinyl Lined - StaRite Cristal-Flo II 26" Sand Filter - Hayward SuperPump 1 hp - Dolphin Dynamic autocleaner - Lochinvar Energyrite gas heater - Aqua Rite SWCG T-15 - TF100 Test Kit - Skimlite Duallly 9016 pole (great pole)

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    Re: Good Reliable Heater Recommendations Needed Please

    I have the Sta-Rite Max-E-Therm 400, 000 BTU. I don't know how it compares to other heaters, as it is the only one I've ever used. As far as the noise goes, my pump is a bit loud, so I don't notice the blower too much. I do know when the heater cycles on, as the gas ignites it sounds a bit like a jet liner landing. I find that the heater noise is not a significant factor when I am using the pool or spa. It may be for my neighbor, but it's not for me. It does heat my spa from the low 70 degree range to 100 degrees in less than an hour. I like that. It takes a few hours to heat the pool to a swimmable temperature. I also have an SWG and I haven't had any problems with either in three years.

    I think if you consult with a plumber to do the calculation for a larger gas line to install a 400K heater, you would at least know what your total cost would be. With the smaller heater, you are looking at a longer time to heat a given volume of water. I wish I could help you with the math, but I can't. There are three kinds of people. Those that get math and those that don't.
    20K inground gunite w/ Aqua Logic automation and chlorination Sta-Rite 400 K natural gas heater and cartridge filter 2 HP pump 1.5 HP spa bubbler for spillover spa 1 HP dedicated Letro Legend cleaner
    H2O: two parts Heart and one part Obsession. ~Author Unknown

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    mickey4paws's Avatar
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    Re: Good Reliable Heater Recommendations Needed Please

    Quote Originally Posted by flintstone
    There are three kinds of people. Those that get math and those that don't.
    I'm one of those that don't get math too Thanks so much for the reply, I really appreciate it. We had a guy come out the other night to look at our old dead heater and also to quote us for a new one (still have heard back from him yet). He said we could go up to 266k with our gas line now. The distance from the meter to the pool equipment is over 100 feet so we don't really want to install a bigger line, at this point anyway.

    I really like what I've read about the Max-E-Therm, but am concerned a bit about the noise level only because it will sit only a few feet from a window in the room where we watch tv. I can't imagine it being louder than our pump though.

    I also see the Max-E-Therm comes in a version with a cupro nickel heat exchanger, but they run a few hundred dollars more. Not sure if it'd be worth it or not.
    IG 12' x 39' - 20k Gallons - Vinyl Lined - StaRite Cristal-Flo II 26" Sand Filter - Hayward SuperPump 1 hp - Dolphin Dynamic autocleaner - Lochinvar Energyrite gas heater - Aqua Rite SWCG T-15 - TF100 Test Kit - Skimlite Duallly 9016 pole (great pole)

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    Re: Good Reliable Heater Recommendations Needed Please

    I prefer the Lochinvar and the Raypak as far as overall quality, but go with whichever heater you have local service for. If you are a follower of BBB no need for Cupro-Nickel...it's really for people who don't pay attention to water balance.
    21' Leslies Beachland Ag Pool, 10,000 gallons, professionally installed (best money I ever spent) Hayward 16" sand filter w/Pentair two speed pump Fafco 4x20 solar heater,Aqua Trol RJ. Borates added. Hard plumbed.

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    mickey4paws's Avatar
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    Re: Good Reliable Heater Recommendations Needed Please

    Thanks, Aquaman. We do follow BBB. On another note, got a callback from my PB, and he's coming by in a few days to try to fix our old Comfortzone. He thinks it's possibly some corroded contacts. It's definitely worth a try and it would be nice to get another season out of it. Otherwise, we'll have to go with a new heater.

    Thanks for the replies and I'll let you know if the older heater gets repaired.
    IG 12' x 39' - 20k Gallons - Vinyl Lined - StaRite Cristal-Flo II 26" Sand Filter - Hayward SuperPump 1 hp - Dolphin Dynamic autocleaner - Lochinvar Energyrite gas heater - Aqua Rite SWCG T-15 - TF100 Test Kit - Skimlite Duallly 9016 pole (great pole)

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    Re: Good Reliable Heater Recommendations Needed Please

    Hi all,

    Great site--glad I stumbled upon it. In fact, I'm relying on it quite heavily in this, my second season as a pool owner, since I fired my pool guy for sloppy chemistry (i.e., indiscriminately oversalted; pH and TA in the stratosphere).

    Anyway, our heater spontaneously failed. It's one of the notorious Pentair Minimax models. We were told we needed a new blower, but the installer came today and plugged in the new blower, and THAT didn't work. So now we also need a new main board... or something. Actually, what they strongly recommend is a Sta-Rite Max-E-Therm 400,000 BTU, and they quoted me a price of $3300. That seems a touch steep, since the first place I googled is selling it for $1689, and I'm pretty sure $1600 for labor qualifies as gouging.

    At any rate, I guess we'll go with this model unless someone in the know has MAJOR objections. I don't know enough to suggest an alternative. However, I would like to avoid getting scammed, so if anyone has ideas about appropriate cost, I would be glad to hear them!
    42K IG vinyl pool
    48 sq ft./120gpm DE filter
    Mineral Springs SWG cell

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    mickey4paws's Avatar
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    Re: Good Reliable Heater Recommendations Needed Please

    Hi Land of the Locust and welcome to TFP

    My PB came out a few days ago and was able to get our heater going but he says he needs a new thermostat, plus it's totally rusted out on the inside. He had to put a brick under the burner tray. So I'm still in need of a new heater.

    From what I've heard about the Max-E-Therm, it is a good heater but has one drawback, and that is that it has a fan that is going all the time and is loud, maybe about the same as an air conditioner (one guy called it a vacuum cleaner).

    I got a quote $3,085 for a new millivolt Raypak, 266k btu from a local hot water specialist company that also specializes in pool heaters. Instead, I'm going to buy the heater myself and have my PB install it. He said he could get me a used one or I could buy a new one myself. I don't think I want to get a used one because you never know how that person kept their pool, and also there's no warranty.

    The hot water place said that our gas line can support up to 275k btu, but I wonder just exactly what we really need. Our pool is approximately 468 square feet of surface, and is 20,000 gallons.

    Would 200,000 btu be enough? The heater we have now is 144k btu and is almost 20 years old. Or, would I be better off with 266,000 btu?

    I'm thinking of the Raypak digital heater. I've also looked at Lochinvar, although they're kind of expensive and wonder if it's really worth the extra money.
    IG 12' x 39' - 20k Gallons - Vinyl Lined - StaRite Cristal-Flo II 26" Sand Filter - Hayward SuperPump 1 hp - Dolphin Dynamic autocleaner - Lochinvar Energyrite gas heater - Aqua Rite SWCG T-15 - TF100 Test Kit - Skimlite Duallly 9016 pole (great pole)

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    mickey4paws's Avatar
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    Re: Good Reliable Heater Recommendations Needed Please

    Hi all,
    Just wanted to thank everyone for the replies and advice. We decided to go with the Lochinvar Energyrite heater and it should be here sometime next week.

    Thanks again!
    IG 12' x 39' - 20k Gallons - Vinyl Lined - StaRite Cristal-Flo II 26" Sand Filter - Hayward SuperPump 1 hp - Dolphin Dynamic autocleaner - Lochinvar Energyrite gas heater - Aqua Rite SWCG T-15 - TF100 Test Kit - Skimlite Duallly 9016 pole (great pole)

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