Hayward heater IF error

Pperc15

Gold Supporter
May 17, 2019
344
Philadelphia
See picture and model in my signature. Heater was fine all of last season and most of this year. I think this IF error happened in the last few days. I restarted heater and listened. Could hear ignition try to click on but didn’t light. I could smell gas just fine (we are hard lined to the township gas lines so we don’t run out). Any way to troubleshoot this myself or should I call a pool company? I’m not particularly handy with plumbing or electric but willing to try if someone can walk me through it safely. Thank you!
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Pperc15

Gold Supporter
May 17, 2019
344
Philadelphia
Most of my techs still use these anytime we have a Hayward issue.........
Troubleshooting Guide
Thank you. I had found that and was using it as a guide but I don’t have a voltage meter to check some of it.

Attaching more pictures. Right now I’m having trouble taking off the gas orifice. It’s attached the incoming gas line and I don’t know how to remove. Any thoughts?
 

Attachments

CPS Reno

In The Industry
Feb 6, 2019
98
Reno, NV
I think you're talking about your gas valve, which are rarely an issue in my experience. IF basically means the heater tried to fire and didn't. I know, not a lot of help. At this point, I'd pull out your igniter and see what it looks like. Your heater looks new inside and the igniter will give you a good picture of what's going on.........on the inside. If it's clean, then you move on to the next. Beyond that, either get a multi meter and go through the guide or call a pro in.
 

Pperc15

Gold Supporter
May 17, 2019
344
Philadelphia
I think you're talking about your gas valve, which are rarely an issue in my experience. IF basically means the heater tried to fire and didn't. I know, not a lot of help. At this point, I'd pull out your igniter and see what it looks like. Your heater looks new inside and the igniter will give you a good picture of what's going on.........on the inside. If it's clean, then you move on to the next. Beyond that, either get a multi meter and go through the guide or call a pro in.
Is the igniter the part in the last 2 pictures?
I think I need a pro... a Hayward certified pro necessary? Found a few on their site that are within 15 miles.
 

CPS Reno

In The Industry
Feb 6, 2019
98
Reno, NV
The igniter is at the other end of these wires. It can be easy to get out and also easy to drop a screw. If you decide to pull it out to take a look, make sure all your equipment is off and the breaker to the heater is off as well.

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CPS Reno

In The Industry
Feb 6, 2019
98
Reno, NV
Make sure the ceramic isn't cracked. Make sure the steel isn't corroded and too thin, as well as clean. Shouldn't have any build up, if it does you can sand it a bit to clean things up and try again. These prevent Hayward heaters from working as much as anything else.
 

Pperc15

Gold Supporter
May 17, 2019
344
Philadelphia
Make sure the ceramic isn't cracked. Make sure the steel isn't corroded and too thin, as well as clean. Shouldn't have any build up, if it does you can sand it a bit to clean things up and try again. These prevent Hayward heaters from working as much as anything else.
Thank you. I’ll try to follow up with some pictures
 

Pperc15

Gold Supporter
May 17, 2019
344
Philadelphia
Make sure the ceramic isn't cracked. Make sure the steel isn't corroded and too thin, as well as clean. Shouldn't have any build up, if it does you can sand it a bit to clean things up and try again. These prevent Hayward heaters from working as much as anything else.
By the way, I’ve read a few things on here about spider webs blocking something - what’s that referring to? The tube with the burners? I can’t all figure out how to get in there / get it off.
 

Pperc15

Gold Supporter
May 17, 2019
344
Philadelphia
Update here. I had a professional come take a look. Situation may be far worse than I thought. He tried starting it up a few times, looked at it, and it still wouldn’t start. The gas is working (but he can’t test pressure) - and it was working a few weeks ago so unlikely anything changes there. He says the igniter felt hot on the outside so likely it’s lighting. The flame sensor wasn’t looking great. I’ve got pictures of the flame sensor below was he his first thought to try to replace it. He suggested I order the part and replace myself since it’s fairly easy. I can still do that pending advice here. Then we started seeing clear liquid (water?) coming out of the side front of the unit. Quite a bit actually. Guy then saw that and said that the heat exchanger is bad or cracked and it’s best to replace the whole unit at this point. He thinks the unit is about 7 years old and admits that it should last 20 years. I am the owner of the home for only 18 months so I can’t speak much to the care of the equipment or chem balancing approach of the prior owners / prior pool company. He recommended either replacing with the same model or he said go with a Pentair heater, especially since the rest of my equipment is Pentair.

So, could I get some advice on what people think? Or how I could further open up the heater and investigate if that’s warranted?
 

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CPS Reno

In The Industry
Feb 6, 2019
98
Reno, NV
Honestly, this is where my opinion could vary from most people on this board. For me, time is tight and I only like to fix things once. I would get an entire new heater. Sure, you could replace the heat exchanger for less money but it takes twice as long and you still have all your old parts inside. I would stick with Hayward as well, you can swap an entire heater in less than an hour because everything is in the right place.
 

Pperc15

Gold Supporter
May 17, 2019
344
Philadelphia
Honestly, this is where my opinion could vary from most people on this board. For me, time is tight and I only like to fix things once. I would get an entire new heater. Sure, you could replace the heat exchanger for less money but it takes twice as long and you still have all your old parts inside. I would stick with Hayward as well, you can swap an entire heater in less than an hour because everything is in the right place.
Thank you. Is the water you can see in the pictures coming from the heat exchanger? Can you confirm that? He didn't actually open anything up to look at the damage. He did mention that if we use the same Hayward heater/model then it would be even easier to swap it out as the gas lines and exhaust tube are exactly where they need to be. I just wasn't sure what the quality/reputation of that Hayward heater is and if I'd be dumb to put a new one back in there.

I'd be curious to get others opinions ....
 

Pperc15

Gold Supporter
May 17, 2019
344
Philadelphia
Just checked the water dripping from the front. Yup, full of chlorine so it's definitely a pool water leak from the heater. For a heater installed 3-4 years ago. I'm planning to open this whole thing up and get pictures of the heat exchanger and post them up here. Realllly hoping the leak is something simple and not the exchanger failing already.
If I have to buy a new one, from everything I'm reading here I should go with a Raypak instead. Also, found the below elsewhere.. thoughts?

"In the last 16 years I’ve been repairing and replacing pool heaters in the Houston area, we’ve encountered that issue thousands of times. Your salt is definitely the issue regardless if the heat exchanger is cupronickel or copper. In our environment we have to keep our salt generators at 60 percent chlorine out put regularly and 100 percent 1 day week. Two things salt destroys, Natural Stone and metal. We didn’t have this issue in our Industry until the late 90s when builders installed chemical feeders or salt chlorine generators on every equipment Pad. It’s the same issue with all major brands and not just Hayward. But copper and Cupronickel haven’t changed in the last 20 years, so why is this all of a sudden an issue? Why are heaters from the 80s and even 70s with the same metal alloys lasting this long? It all goes back to our ignorance as an industry? We finally realized the problem in the mid - late 2000s when the only thing that changed was chemical feeders. Even if installed on the discharge side of the heater, every time you empty the pump basket, your causing what’s known as “back pressure” Injecting air in the system causing water to backflow and sit directly inside the heat exchanger. If you have a d.e filter and have ever noticed a bunch of d.e appearing out of nowhere around your main drain, same issue. The solution is simple , an all plastic(impervious to hydrogen gas released from salt cell or extremely corrosive tablets that are 99 percent tricolor) prevents the water from backflowing and rotting out your heater. If a checkvalve is present but is the tradition clear glass jandy checkvalve with a metal spring is used...... no good. Remember salt is good for “us and the environment “ Not good for natural stone that is not polished and or sealed nor any types of Metal. You also need to make sure the heater is properly bonded with an 8-10 guage solid copper wire at the external binding lug. This has nothing to do and is seperate from grounding. This prevents galvanic corrosion in thinner metals by bonding iron rebar in pool structure and all metal in equipment area to a galvanized Steele grounding rod that draws electrons evenly through all metal ( known as the bonding grid) your pool company and Hayward should have informed you of these issues from the original Install which has been common knowledge in our industry since 2011."
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
20,676
In my opinion, the reason for the failures is that they went from a 4 tube, 2 pass heat exchanger to a 2 tube 4 pass heat exchanger design.

This at least doubled the water velocity, which increases the erosion of the copper by at least 4 times.

I suspect that they assumed that a 4 pass heat exchanger would be better, but it's flawed logic.

The best design would be an 8 tube 1 pass heat exchanger, in my opinion.
 

Pperc15

Gold Supporter
May 17, 2019
344
Philadelphia
In my opinion, the reason for the failures is that they went from a 4 tube, 2 pass heat exchanger to a 2 tube 4 pass heat exchanger design.

This at least doubled the water velocity, which increases the erosion of the copper by at least 4 times.

I suspect that they assumed that a 4 pass heat exchanger would be better, but it's flawed logic.

The best design would be an 8 tube 1 pass heat exchanger, in my opinion.
So these Hayward's are well known to fail in 3-4 years? And is your recommendation a Raypak? Any suggestions on model # for a natural gas 400k BTU for a SWG pool (~30k gallons)?
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
20,676
In my opinion, the design creates excessive water velocity in the heat exchanger, which causes erosion corrosion.

They have the water going through two tubes up, back, up, back. That’s 4 passes over the heat source.

Forcing the flow into 2 small copper tubes generates significantly higher water velocity. If the design was 8 tubes with a single pass, the velocity would be one fourth and the erosion corrosion would be one sixteenth (1/16th), in my opinion/estimation.

There’s no benefit to making 4 passes. The water remains over the heat source the same amount of time in either case.

In fact, the less time the water spends over the heat source, the more efficient the heat transfer is. The hotter the water gets, the less heat it absorbs.

You might have freeze damage that wasn’t enough to immediately cause a leak, but was bad enough to create a weak point that eventually failed.

You might have chemical damage from low pH or excessive chlorine or both or from a nearby tab feeder or from someone using tabs in the skimmer or putting chemicals through the skimmer.

Take the heater apart and post pictures of the heat exchanger so that we can see what it looks like.

Maybe cut it open to see the inside.

Unless you have operated the pool from the time that the heater was installed, you are not going to know if some of these things have occurred. Of course the previous owner will say that they did everything perfectly, which may or may not be accurate.

The Pentair Mastertemp is one of the most common heaters with a generally good reputation. Raypak would be a good choice.

 

CPS Reno

In The Industry
Feb 6, 2019
98
Reno, NV
So much debatable info in your post ("the quoted text") that I don't have time to get into, but I'll quickly say that IMHO salt, at a level of 350PPM, isn't as corrosive as a lot of people think. A check valve between the heater and salt cell is something I'd recommend also. Water chemistry, along the design flaws that JamesW pointed out, are responsible for more heat exchanger failures than anything else. JamesW makes a lot of good points about the "need" to design towards efficiency while sacrificing longevity that ALL manufacturers are constantly doing. Jandy, I mean Zodiac........I mean Fluidra has a new heater that has some interesting designs built in. I haven't really got time to look at them closely, just read about some different things on it.
 

Pperc15

Gold Supporter
May 17, 2019
344
Philadelphia
In my opinion, the design creates excessive water velocity in the heat exchanger, which causes erosion corrosion.

They have the water going through two tubes up, back, up, back. That’s 4 passes over the heat source.

Forcing the flow into 2 small copper tubes generates significantly higher water velocity. If the design was 8 tubes with a single pass, the velocity would be one fourth and the erosion corrosion would be one sixteenth (1/16th), in my opinion/estimation.

There’s no benefit to making 4 passes. The water remains over the heat source the same amount of time in either case.

In fact, the less time the water spends over the heat source, the more efficient the heat transfer is. The hotter the water gets, the less heat it absorbs.

You might have freeze damage that wasn’t enough to immediately cause a leak, but was bad enough to create a weak point that eventually failed.

You might have chemical damage from low pH or excessive chlorine or both or from a nearby tab feeder or from someone using tabs in the skimmer or putting chemicals through the skimmer.

Take the heater apart and post pictures of the heat exchanger so that we can see what it looks like.

Maybe cut it open to see the inside.

Unless you have operated the pool from the time that the heater was installed, you are not going to know if some of these things have occurred. Of course the previous owner will say that they did everything perfectly, which may or may not be accurate.

The Pentair Mastertemp is one of the most common heaters with a generally good reputation. Raypak would be a good choice.

Thank you for such a thoughtful reply. I will get pictures posted if possible. What does chemical damage look like?
What is "excessive chlorine" levels that could cause that kind of damage? Could it be from a check valve failing between the SWG and the heater?
As far as I know the only thing ever added to the skimmer was DE. But you're right. I don't know because I wasn't here.
Nice to hear the Pentair Mastertemp is a good option. That was the one recommended to switch to by the pool company.