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Thread: Is heater as bad as it looks?

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    Is heater as bad as it looks?

    Help. I flipped on my 10 yr old Jandy LXi 400N 2 days ago after not using it for 5-6 most. After there was no change in temp the next day, I checked the unit to find a heat limit error. Examining the unit closer I see the corrosion evident in the attached photos. I also notice no check valve isolating the heater from the SWCG. Do the internal and external corrosion in combination with the age of the unit point away from repair?
    Thx for your help
    Attached Images Attached Images
    David - Dallas
    30x20 ft kidney saltwater
    Jandy LXI

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Is heater as bad as it looks?

    David,

    Welcome to TFP.. a great place to find the answers to all your rusty questions...

    You don't need a check valve between a SWCG and the heater, because the cell can't produce chlorine when the pump is off.. Unlike 3" tablet dispensers that can leak high levels of chlorine and acid back into the heater when the pump is off...

    I'll let some of our heater experts chime in on the repair or not question...

    Thanks for posting,

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Caldera Spa.

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    Re: Is heater as bad as it looks?

    Is water dripping out of the heater?

    If it is, the heat exchanger might be leaking.

    The age and corrosion point away from a repair being worthwhile. But, it's hard to tell for sure.

    Maybe have a service give an evaluation to see if the heater is worth fixing.
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    Re: Is heater as bad as it looks?

    Thx for your help, Jim.
    Looking at the manual for the LXi400, it appears to have a copper heat exchanger and is (?was 10 yrs ago?) not recommended for salt water.
    Currently Jandy appears to recommend/require such a valve. Since I got 10 yrs out of the unit, I don't suppose I can blame the missing valve for the failure. I will have to put a valve in the replacement , however. (see below)

    Zodiac (Jandy) - July 7, 2017 - A Zodiac technical services representative confirmed via email that both erosion feeders as well as salt chlorinator cells fall under the area of "sanitation equipment" with them and must be protected with a positive seal check valve to prevent siphoning from allowing concentrated chlorine from accessing and damaging the heater. They did specify that a lack of a check valve would not immediately void their heater warranty. While the Hayward representative asked to not be named personally, and the Pentair representative replied to my question with only a single sentence, the Zodiac technical representative provided the most detailed response which was:


    "Yes, we do consider an electronic chlorine generator to be sanitation equipment and we do require that a check valve be installed between the heater and the salt cell just the same as with an erosion feeder. To clarify the warranty impact, we don't void the entire warranty of the heater if this check valve is not installed but if it is determined that the likely cause of failure was due to a concentration of corrosive water from the salt cell then that is a reason to deny a warranty claim as we do require in our manual that a check valve be used to prevent this type of failure. But if a warranted failure occurs that has nothing to do with corrosion or no check valve we would still honor that warranty claim per our standard warranty policy."

    Jeff Holmquist
    Senior Product Manager - Heating & Core Equipment
    Zodiac Pool Systems Inc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimrahbe View Post
    David,
    Welcome to TFP.. a great place to find the answers to all your rusty questions...

    You don't need a check valve between a SWCG and the heater, because the cell can't produce chlorine when the pump is off.. Unlike 3" tablet dispensers that can leak high levels of chlorine and acid back into the heater when the pump is off...

    I'll let some of our heater experts chime in on the repair or not question...

    Thanks for posting,

    Jim R.
    David - Dallas
    30x20 ft kidney saltwater
    Jandy LXI

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    Re: Is heater as bad as it looks?

    James,
    Thx for the reply. There is a little water dripping. but I haven't isolated the source. You can see a tiny puddle on the concrete in one of the pix.
    Looking at the manual for the LXi400, it appears to have a copper heat exchanger and is (?was 10 yrs ago?) not recommended for salt water. Should I go Cupro for the heat exchanger? Apparently the Jandy JXi is cupronickel. It is more expensive, however. Since my remote control is Jandy, I suspect I should stay with them.
    Thx,
    David - Dallas
    David - Dallas
    30x20 ft kidney saltwater
    Jandy LXI

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    Re: Is heater as bad as it looks?

    If water is dripping out of the heater, it's probably done.

    Listen closely to the heater near the heat exchanger then turn the pump off. The pressure will become suction and you might be able to hear air getting sucked in at the leak point.

    A cupronickle heat exchanger should be somewhat more corrosion resistant than a regular copper heat exchanger.

    Add the check valve if the installation instructions call for it.
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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Is heater as bad as it looks?

    David,

    Adding a check valve certainly makes sense to maintain any warranty required by your heater manufacturer... My point was more about how the lack of a check valve, when using a SWCG, is never the cause of a heater failure. More or less proven by your 10 years of use. My understanding is that poor pH management is more likely the cause of most heater corrosion...

    Thanks again for the info..

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Caldera Spa.

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    Re: Is heater as bad as it looks?

    Thx,
    Searching through the forum there appears to be a preference for Raypak over Jandy. Is this correct? Can the remote be made to work on both?
    David - Dallas
    30x20 ft kidney saltwater
    Jandy LXI

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Is heater as bad as it looks?

    David,

    Almost all automation systems can control almost all brands of heater.

    I don't have a heater, so no direct experience, but I too have noticed that RayPak gets the most positive press here..

    What specific automation system do you have??

    Thanks,

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Caldera Spa.

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    Re: Is heater as bad as it looks?

    Well, a tech came out and saw the unit, pointed out the melted sensor wires you see in the pix and a rusted hole in the adjacent sheet metal. He then pronounced it dead and recommended a pentair 40OK MasterTemp.

    I later repaired the wire harness, and there is indeed some hot air blowing out of the side of the box under the polymer header which can't be good, but I don't yet have a specific diagnosis.

    In discussion of replacement units, the tech seemed surprised there was a pentair HD unit with cupronickel exchanger, and I didn't get the idea he was knowledgeable of the pros and cons of copper-nickel. When asked about the Raypak 400k he said it was a good simple design but bulky and susceptible to rust in a salt water pool. He says all his salt water pools show rust.
    He also did not seem to be too aware of what a a sacrificial anode is - I am considering one since I have some suction grill corrosion and broken screws in my spa.

    ----- Hey, Dave. Is there a question here somewhere?

    1) What are points of failure of Raypak, and will cupronickel-nickel or commercial version support these failure points (for example raypak C-R407A-EN-X 010230 tubing is 50% thicker)

    2) I hate being an internet prick questioning the experienced pro but should I look to another installer because this guy doesn't speak the lingo?

    3) Should I consider some zinc to protect the limited other metals I have in my pool (copper tubes, light facades, etc)
    Thx,
    David - Dallas
    David - Dallas
    30x20 ft kidney saltwater
    Jandy LXI

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    Re: Is heater as bad as it looks?

    The resident heater installer/expert Ps03 (Paul) has said a few different times that the cupro nickel exchanger
    is generally a waste of money. If you maintain proper PH levels it would last as long as the standard exchanger.

    And Raypak unit's over all have great reliability and less parts to replace if something goes wrong.

    I went from a Jandy Laars to a Raypak last year and very happy with it.
    16x32 IG Vinyl, 13,000 Gals. Hayward S-244T sand filter, SP2810X15 pump
    (1.5 HP motor) Raypak PR266AEN (266k btu) gas heater. TF-100 Test Kit.
    Dolphin E10 Cleaning Robot.

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    Re: Is heater as bad as it looks?

    "he said it was a good simple design but bulky and susceptible to rust in a salt water pool." That's why you don't put it IN the pool water. LOL

    If you are feeling air blowing out the side, it is done for as you have a compromised shell and are looking for more issues if you keep using it like that. Not to mention you are probably losing heat and thus you're wasting money.

    Cupronickel is overkill as it provides little in the way of preventing a heat exchanger being destroyed by not maintaining your chemicals as it will just take longer but will still destroy it. On a residential pool you can use a regular copper heat exchanger but just maintain your chemicals like you are supposed to anyway. I only use cupro-nickel on commercial pools which run 24x7. But I still see them fail because they don't mage their chemicals correctly.

    Is the person you spoke with licensed in your area to do heater work? Some places want you to have a license to be doing this work. Not sure if in TX you have to be a licensed contractor like here in FL. However, even in FL not having a license doesn't stop many people from doing the work.

    Sacrificial anode - Unless it is on a boat engine that sits in ocean salt water, useless on a pool in my opinion. The thousands of pools I see, I don't see any of them installed nor do people speak of them. If it makes you sleep easier at night then I guess do it but the amount of salt in the pool is nothing compared to the ocean so the anode is worthless. My opinion of course.
    Paul
    Gastek Pool & Gas Services If you would like to provide a review of the help I provided, please use the following link to leave a review. Gastek Google review,
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    Re: Is heater as bad as it looks?

    Paul,
    Thx for your help. When you see a Raypak fail, where does it fail?
    David - Dallas
    David - Dallas
    30x20 ft kidney saltwater
    Jandy LXI

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    Re: Is heater as bad as it looks?

    Thx Borjis,
    Raypak sounds good. The absence of a blower is just one more thing not to break.
    I will admit that I haven't previously followed my pool chemistries because I paid someone to do it, and I stand duly chastised. I will spot check chems from now on. I am just trying to figure out if a little more money up front ( at my age 67) will spare me hassle later when I'm retired and tired. I don't see why a heater appropriately cared for shouldn't last more than 7-10 yrs if most of the complicated parts are are replaceable?
    David - Dallas
    David
    David - Dallas
    30x20 ft kidney saltwater
    Jandy LXI

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    Re: Is heater as bad as it looks?

    Possible answers:
    Why Pool Heaters Fail

    <http://poolwardentraining.com/tips/why-pool-heaters-fail>
    David - Dallas
    30x20 ft kidney saltwater
    Jandy LXI

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    Re: Is heater as bad as it looks?

    Biggest reason to fail is low PH, or in my case last winter not draining the equipment and froze
    busted the heat exchanger.

    I could be wrong but I don't think Raypak heaters have any single usual point of failure.
    They're just lower cost to deal with when repairing vs other heater brands.

    They are owned by Rheem so a Raypak or Rheem I believe are the same units just
    badged differently. My furnace and AC home units are both Rheem and have
    performed flawlessly since they were installed 12 years ago.
    16x32 IG Vinyl, 13,000 Gals. Hayward S-244T sand filter, SP2810X15 pump
    (1.5 HP motor) Raypak PR266AEN (266k btu) gas heater. TF-100 Test Kit.
    Dolphin E10 Cleaning Robot.

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    Re: Is heater as bad as it looks?

    If you use a pool service then you are at the mercy of their pool care regimen which is generally not optimal for equipment or pools. Honestly, it's is far cheaper to simply care for a pool yourself but there are some circumstances where a person simply can't do what is required and then a pool service is necessary. One thing that pool service companies do very routinely is to spike chlorine levels way up during their visit so that they come down slowly until the service tech can get back in a week or so. Another (very bad) thing they like to do is to put chlorine pucks in the skimmer basket. Solid forms of chlorine (trichlor pucks and dichlor powder) can generate very acidic water (pH ~ 4.5 or so) when they are left in small stagnant volumes like a skimmer basket. Then, when the pump turns on, a big slug of acidic water hits the plumbing system (including your heater) all at once. This can be very bad for the life of heater components. Some service techs add chemicals exclusively to the skimmer basket. All of this "bad" behavior makes life easy for the service tech but a lot harder on your equipment.

    I liken it to my experience with hiring a weed spraying company. At first, they only used the high pressure truck sprayer on the open areas of my yard and the guy would put on the backpack and spot spray the backyard. After a while, they hired a new guy who would exclusively use the high pressure spray gun everywhere. I literally caught him shooting a stream of weed killer across my pool (while getting some of it in my pool ) to reach the back wall all because he did not want to open the gate and drag the hose over there. His short cuts certainly saved him a lot of time but at the cost of killing a lot of my landscaping because of overspray. I still have some sickly and dying bushes around the yard that are a result of his carelessness. So, I fired the company (after the owner refused to respond to my pictures of dead landscaping and video of his employees negligent behavior) and I now do my own weed spraying. Do I save money, yes I do. Do I have to put on the 4 gallon backpack sprayer a few times per year and hassle with it....yes, but my yard is a lot happier these days.

    You might carefully inspect the work of your pool service company as their shortcuts could be a factor in your equipment issues.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Is heater as bad as it looks?

    Thanks, JFN. I discussion with my spouse it appears that the pool guys are doing just that during the winter - that is, throwing a few pucks into the baskets in cold weather. I don't know if they are monitoring the SWCG plates, but it looks like I will be doing some pool maintenance in my retirement.
    David - Dallas
    David - Dallas
    30x20 ft kidney saltwater
    Jandy LXI

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    Re: Is heater as bad as it looks?

    Very confused. Latest repair guy I talked to warned against Raypak due to excess condensation and rust out. So now I am trying to inform myself about heater condensation issues. I like using the spa in the winter when water is initially cold and condensation risk is great. I wonder if that is what rusted out my burner sidewall?

    Quote Originally Posted by borjis View Post
    Biggest reason to fail is low PH, or in my case last winter not draining the equipment and froze
    busted the heat exchanger.

    I could be wrong but I don't think Raypak heaters have any single usual point of failure.
    They're just lower cost to deal with when repairing vs other heater brands.

    They are owned by Rheem so a Raypak or Rheem I believe are the same units just
    badged differently. My furnace and AC home units are both Rheem and have
    performed flawlessly since they were installed 12 years ago.
    David - Dallas
    30x20 ft kidney saltwater
    Jandy LXI

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Is heater as bad as it looks?

    The condensation issue would only be a problem if you were trying to heat the pool water from a starting temp below 68F. Then you would get large amounts of condensation. A spa is a much smaller water volume and heats up rather quickly.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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