Hayward 400K Propane - First Use - LOTS of propane!

LegendsCreek

Member
Mar 20, 2017
12
Foster, RI
Hi everyone!

We are so beyond excited! Our pool is finally installed and the company who installed it is just wrapping things up. Today we got the propane heater installed and I spent all day programming things and finishing my wiring. I had some headaches with the LO error because I needed to make adjustments to the pump and pressure sensor, but got the pump running at about half speed and things are good.

I am a bit shocked that my propane tank was at about 80% when I fired up the heater today. Water temp was at 59 degrees, and just went out and checked and its finally up at 72, but its used 30% of the tank!! Now my tank is reading 50%, and I am sure when I wake up in the morning and the pool is at 85 where I set it, it will be a lot lower. (setting it to 85 right now because we want to use it at night and its not hot enough outside yet).

I don't know what we will do if it keeps using this much propane. Is this normal? Will it level off once it gets to where we want it, and only fires up to maintain temp? We have never experienced this before so wanted some advice. We will be tying in the wood boiler ASAP so we can use our 52 ares of firewood to offset propane usage, but that will be a few months.

Thanks a lot!
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
20,397
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
A gallon pg propane is 91600 BTU.
1000 gallons of water weighs about 8330 lbs.

In a perfect world, where the heater is 100% efficient (no heat lost through exhaust, etc) and no losses from the pool to the ground beneath it or to the air surrounding it, one gallon of propane could heat that water 11 degrees. In reality, I'd guess somewhere between 5 and 8. If you've got a 20,000 gallon pool, and you want to bring the water up 13 degrees, you're looking at 23 gallons of propane in a perfect world and probably closer to 40 in reality.
 

n240sxguy

Well-known member
May 17, 2014
1,802
Benton, KY
My mom has an old 20x40 indoor pool that is about 10ft deep. She only used the propane heater a few months before she got a heat pump because it was so expensive. At the time, a 500 gallon tank lasted 2 months.


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Mr. D

Silver Supporter
May 8, 2016
39
Huntsville AL
At the time, a 500 gallon tank lasted 2 months.
I would be crapping my pants if I was buying 500 Gal of Propane every 2 months here in AL to heat a pool. I have a 250 Gal tank that feeds a gas log fireplace I used as secondary heat to take the chill off in the winter and fill that tank once a year. Cost $450
 

ps0303

TFP Expert
In The Industry
Jul 6, 2011
3,965
FL
Put a solar cover on the pool when not in use, no matter how you heat it. You're making an investment in heating the water so keep it in the water.

Most folks with propane use it to heat the spa and occasionally the pool. But consider that with gas, you can heat the pool when a heat pump can't like when it's cooler out or a cloudy day(s).
 

LegendsCreek

Member
Mar 20, 2017
12
Foster, RI
We decided on propane because we use a lot of it on our farm and also for our bed and breakfast. We get a good deal on price because we own our own tanks. Cost for a heat pump would likely be more expensive than with propane at our rate.

I did order a solar cover on Amazon today, I got a 20x40, but then forgot about the 4' staircase going out of the pool. Should I send it back and get a larger one to cut out a section for the stairs or is that not a big deal?
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
20,397
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
We decided on propane because we use a lot of it on our farm and also for our bed and breakfast. We get a good deal on price because we own our own tanks. Cost for a heat pump would likely be more expensive than with propane at our rate.

I did order a solar cover on Amazon today, I got a 20x40, but then forgot about the 4' staircase going out of the pool. Should I send it back and get a larger one to cut out a section for the stairs or is that not a big deal?
You can probably buy a smaller piece of bubble wrap locally to cover the pushout.
 

CJadamec

TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
2,246
Quaker Hill, CT
I didn't get a propane heater because I figured out how much propane that thing would burn in a short amount of time. The price to heat a pool with propane gets scary real quick, and I only paid 1.40 a gallon for propane that last time I filled the tank.
 

needsajet

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 4, 2016
4,566
Sydney, NSW, Australia
I used to heat an above ground pool with gas and wood, and I think your consumption is normal. You're also heating the concrete and ground around the pool (assuming it's inground) which will take a while.

The best you can do is keep it covered except when you're getting good sun on the pool and it's not too windy (wind increases evaporation taking heat energy out of the pool water). A cover is all about reducing evaporation, so whatever % of the surface you cover is about the amount of reduced evaporation you'll achieve. Leaving a bit open will allow that part to have normal uncovered evaporation, so adding a small piece of cover over the open section will help, or it could be left off if the % of surface area is small or tolerable.

If you've got the space, I'd recommend adding solar heating to the pool. The economics are very favorable because the only cost is for your pump to overcome the head loss in the solar panels and piping. Typically it's very low compared to the amount of heat gained.

You might consider a heat pump later on if you continue to heat the pool. To consider it, convert your propane cost to $/000 Btu, then divide by 85% to raise the cost and allow for the efficiency of the heater, and get a reasonable estimate of cost per Btu delivered to the water. Then convert your marginal electrical cost (the usage rate plus taxes) to $/000 Btu. Divide the electrical cost by a factor of 3 (you might do better), because a heat pump extracts heat energy from the air. You should find that the heat pump is a substantially lower cost per Btu delivered to the pool water (assuming you're on-grid and not a diesel generator or something like that)

And congrats on the new pool! Good to have you here :)
 

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