Hard brown/rusty flakes?

Jon123

Active member
Jun 16, 2018
30
Massachusetts
Any ideas what these are/what’s causing them?

This is the first time I’ve really had the pool open since owning it. I’m not sure if these may be coming from the heater (haven’t experimented yet).
I can see the flakes inside the SWG, but that is plumbed directly after the heater, so it could be either the heater or swg.

Thanks!

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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
7,909
Northern NJ
SWG generates white calcium flakes. Those flakes are likely coming from heater parts. Most heaters die through rust. How old is your heater?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
7,909
Northern NJ
I can’t tell from the pics you posted if you have a heater bypass valve. It is times like this they are useful. Having a heater bypass lets you take the heater out of the water flow while you investigate its internals and decide if ir makes sense to repair or replace.
 

Jon123

Active member
Jun 16, 2018
30
Massachusetts
Unfortunately there is no bypass for the heater. Not sure how exactly the metal pipes from the heater are connected to the PVC, it looks threaded in the photos, but who knows if it's cemented/otherwise permanently attached. If it were easy enough to disconnect I could put a temporary connection there to bypass. Not sure that helps me specifically though as I wouldn't have any idea what is going on in the heater :)
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
7,909
Northern NJ
Typically heater bypass is done with a Jandy valve and a check valve like drawn in the pic below. Just takes some PVC work to plumb it in.

 

Jon123

Active member
Jun 16, 2018
30
Massachusetts
Contacted Raypak to see if they have any recommendations, hopefully short of replacing the whole unit. If it's the heat exchanger it almost seems like it'd be worth it to replace the whole unit, as that looks to cost about $1200 + install cost - and who knows about the rest of it. I haven't looked at any other brands yet, but the new Raypak heater that is rated for the same output I found for around $2300 installed. If it's just the cast iron headers, that's more reasonable at about $300, but not sure what the install process (or more likely the cost) looks like.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
15,618
The header is the metal block where the pipes go in. See if a magnet will stick to the block.
 

borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
2,920
Pacific NW
If it were me, I would retire that heater. Even if you replace the header for 300, you don't really know when another
component will have issues. If it was installed in 1998 then that's a service life of 21 years. About as good as it gets imo!

Good call on another Raypak. They seem to be the most reliable and least expensive for repair when needed.
 

Jon123

Active member
Jun 16, 2018
30
Massachusetts
Thanks all! Raypak has confirmed they think it's from the header as well, but also that it's not worth repairing (due to the age and what else could be going on in it) and we'd be better off replacing it. We'll add that to the list :)
 
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