Heater Troubleshooting Help

IL_WS

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2012
122
IL, NW of Chicago
I've had a Jandy Legacy LRZ175EN gas heater since ~ 2013. [If this is the expected life of this heater, stop reading and let me know.] Last night, it started throwing up "FAULT - CHECK IGN CONTROL" It usually does this at the start of the season when there may be air in the line (?), and I can usually just cycle through to get rid of the error and move on. Not so this time. The heater cycles through 3 times then throws the error up.

I'm having trouble searching TFP for some reason, so all I can do is a Google search. I'm sure there's lots of good information, but there's also lots of unrelated information that I cannot filter out effectively.

Looking at the flame picture, you can see significant rust (flaking and holes) at the bottom right). While taking panels off to see what was under them, I discovered that the back-side plug (maybe for measuring internal temperature) was dripping and had caused significant rust as well. I don't know what defines the firebox, and what is outside it. If you could guide me to that end, I could disassemble to there to inspect it for integrity / condition.

I've probed around for voltages. Supply is 28.8 VAC. The blue connector top left has BK = 0, ) = 4.7 VAC, BL = 4.7 VAC, and R = 21.3 VAC. The 2-pin connectors to the left (blue, red, and yellow) are labeled HIPres HiLimit, LowPres FuseLink, and Water Pres respectively. I don't measure anything on them at any time. From Google search, I was looking for a thermocouple, but I couldn't find it.
 

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IL_WS

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2012
122
IL, NW of Chicago
Yea, That box is a mess. You may want to begin to budget for a new heater.
Going forward, any suggestions what I can do differently on my next heater? This is (was) my 1st heater. I pretty much just fired it up at the start of season, and drained it at the end of season.

Anything I can try with this heater to complete this swim season (Midwest, so ~1 month) with it? It still seems like less than 7 years is too short, but the rust speaks for itself. It appears as though the rust is largely on the air intake. Maybe condensation from cooler weather operation?

Finally, any suggestions on brands and models that may give me a longer run next go around? I have no automation.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
8,991
Northern NJ
7 years is not a bad life for an outdoor heater. It all depend on the environment it lives in.

If you run the heater with water temperature below 70 degrees it can create corrosive condensation that damages the heater.

Lots of folks like the Raypak heaters.
 

Pool Clown

In The Industry
Sep 5, 2008
1,974
Silicon Valley, CA
"Going forward, any suggestions what I can do differently on my next heater?"

Inspect the heater more often. Take the front door off and have a look around. Especially for water leaks. They are the number one killer. along with rats/rodents nesting. If you are at snow level, i would take steps to make sure the heater does not sit in the snow for extended periods. I realize that the heater is powder coated, but i would still do anything to keep the heater out of a wet environment if i could help it.
 
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IL_WS

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2012
122
IL, NW of Chicago
I found this troubleshooting guide from jandy. The layout of the LRZE board looks a lot like my LRZ. I think the flow chart will help me, and I'm probably at step 13 based on results.

I'm planning on trying to get it back into working order for the remainder of this season, unless someone here with experience advises that I shouldn't based on the condition.

Thoughts?
 

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Pool Clown

In The Industry
Sep 5, 2008
1,974
Silicon Valley, CA
My only concern is that the heater may collapse. I cant see all the damage there, but what i can see, looks pretty bad. Also, if you plan to try to get this heater going again, keep in mind that you will be buying parts for a heater that you are going to get rid of. Be mindful of how much you are going to spend. AND once you spend that much, there is no guaranty that will fix the problem. Diagnostic Flow charts from the manufacturer IMO, are a "best guess" of whats wrong. (They are) Not always correct.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,117
The flame looks way too yellow, which indicates improper combustion.

If you want to use the heater, I would recommend that you have it professionally serviced and evaluated.

The corrosion seems excessive for the age of the heater. So, something might be causing problems.
 

swamprat69

Active member
Mar 30, 2019
43
Las Vegas, NV
The flame does look yellow, indicative of poor combustion. It should be blue. I noticed in your photo that there are spider webs on the gas manifold and there could also be some spider webs blocking the orifices in the gas manifold. Could also have dirty burners if it hasn't been cleaned regularly. With flames like that you could also have a restricted heat exchanger that is plugged up with carbon/soot.
 

IL_WS

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2012
122
IL, NW of Chicago
MANY thanks @ajw22, @Pool Clown, @JamesW, and @swamprat69. Not necessarily what I wanted to hear, but I am listening. Had the $ conversation with wife earlier this morning. I'll be shopping for a new heater in the coming week so we can extend this season.

To comments above about servicing, I have done NOTHING for 7 years. Drained it and turned it off at the end of season, and filled it and fired it up at the start of season. Is there an adequate DIY tutorial that one of you could point me towards for improving this? Or is an annual professional (I can trust) really the best bet to not be penny wise and pound foolish (like I fear I have been)?

So I understand running with pool water < 70C can cause water to condense in all the wrong places. In the rare circumstances when I do this, is there anything I can do to reverse or minimize some of the effects?

We also are in a climate where we typically get a fair bit of snow. I am usually of the mind that covering items can tend to trap humidity in place and potentially cause more damage (for instance, a grill that gets year round use). It sounds like my thinking is wrong for the pool heater. In this instance, maybe plastic wrap the top and at least partially the sides to protect from the elements when not in use?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
8,991
Northern NJ
Moisture is the kiiller for outdoor heaters. Annual cleaning of leaves and debris and soot in and around the heater keeps moisture away from the components. Being knowledgeable about where the heater gets sooted up helps in the cleaning.

Trying to protect the heater from the elements can hurt more than help. Plastic wrap can help retain moisture which is not what you want. Good airflow and ventilation around the heater so it drys out is best. Also closing the heater in provides an attractive nest for critter to make home for the winter. They can do lots more damage then the elements can.
 
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swamprat69

Active member
Mar 30, 2019
43
Las Vegas, NV
I only see a bottom view of your burner box, so I don't know what your ignition setup is. Most burners lift up from the end that is away from the gas manifold ( usually fitted into a slot at the far end) and push away from the gas manifold to remove off of the orifice on the manifold. They can then be cleaned with a wire brush and either blown out from the top slots or tipped towards the end that sits on the orifice to remove internal dirt. Also check for spider webs at the end that sits on the orifice. Depending on the ignition source( spark/hot surface ignitor), you must be careful removing the burners. If you have a silicon carbide hot surface ignitor, they are very fragile and susceptible to failure from bumps against a hard surface and even oil from your hands causing it to fail. Only handle from the white ceramic insulator at the end that the wires are attached to. Orifices can be cleaned out with a pipe cleaner to remove spider webs or other blockages. A photo of your burner box from slightly above the gas manifold would be very helpful. After the ignition source and burners are removed you will need to look up through the heat exchanger with a mirror and flashlight to see if there is any black carbon/soot restricting the flow through the heat exchanger. If there is, the heater would need to be disassembled and cleaned to remove the blockage. This should probably only be attempted by a professional if needed. Most HVAC companies will work on a pool heater, but not all HVAC technicians are created equal. If needed, look for a company that has NATE certified technicians ( this applies to HVAC service also)! Will give you more info if you can supply requested photo of burner box.
 

IL_WS

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2012
122
IL, NW of Chicago
I'll start trying to take the burner apart in the next few days to see what I can see. At this point, I don't have anything to lose since I am almost ready to throw in the towel on this heater.

As another side note, operating the heater with water temperature < 70F is corrosive. This doesn't pertain to circulating cooler water, right? I don't close my pool TFP method until water temp falls below ~60F, but I continue circulating during that time.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,117
Some heaters use a unitherm governor. A unitherm governor blocks water from exiting the heat exchanger until the water warms up in the exchanger.

It's similar to the thermostat in a car that regulates the coolant circulating through the engine.

This prevents cold water from circulating through the heat exchanger.

Cold water circulating through the heat exchanger creates condensation that can drip off of the exchanger and onto the burner tray.

I don't think that the LRZ uses a unitherm governor.

So, you can get condensation any time that the conditions are conducive to condensation.

If you have ever seen condensation on your plumbing and system equipment, then you probably have had condensation in the heater.
 

swamprat69

Active member
Mar 30, 2019
43
Las Vegas, NV
Condensation only happens if you are running the heater when the water temperature is cold or if you are running the pump and the temperature of the water/heat exchanger is below the dewpoint. I don't think most pool owners are trying to heat their water up 25 degrees or more to use the pool. Like I stated before, I will be able to give you some better info if you could get me a photo of the burners and burner box from an angle slightly above the gas manifold looking into the burner box.
 

IL_WS

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2012
122
IL, NW of Chicago
I doubt it's looking better, but I am learning something new.

I have several pictures. I haven't cleaned anything up except to dump loose rust off from top of burner.
One shows to the top of the firebox. Is that soot on 1/3 of the pipes of the heat exchanger?
One shows thermistor and something else just above burner
One shows side view of burner
One shows where burner slid out of. Was this supposed to be solid or vents? Hard to tell without cleaning it up and picking at it first.
 

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JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,117
Yikes! That looks bad. Time for the scrapheap. Don't even try to get this working.

The refractory is all cracked.

The things over the burner tray are the igniter and the flame sensor.

The flame sensor doesn't actually sense the flame. It is charged with AC voltage.

DC current flows to the burner tray when there is a flame. The flame has ions that conduct current. Since the burner tray is larger than the flame sensor, the current mostly goes one way. So, the voltage is "rectified" from AC to DC. This is "Flame Rectification".

The ignition control module senses the microamp dc current and confirms actual flame.

Maybe consider getting a raypak heater.

Make sure that the gas supply is correct.
 
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Pool Clown

In The Industry
Sep 5, 2008
1,974
Silicon Valley, CA
Holy Cow Your refractory is broken. I wouldn't run that heater anymore. The refractory keeps the burner tray form becoming a camp fire (keeps it in one confined narrow area). those cracks can allow the fire and/or heat to escape to areas not equipped to handle that.
 
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swamprat69

Active member
Mar 30, 2019
43
Las Vegas, NV
You have a partial blockage of the heat exchanger (the white stuff) that looks like it came from the deteriorating insulation in the fire box. The hot surface ignitor is silicon carbide. The burners are dirty. The flame sensor is also dirty (can normally be cleaned with a small file or steel wool), but shouldn't be cleaned with sandpaper as silicon is an insulator. Overall the heater looks to be in pretty bad shape and it might be time to bite the bullet and replace it.