Heater Troubleshooting Help

IL_WS

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2012
119
IL, NW of Chicago
Raypak 156a 150k BTU is 14% smaller than my current one.
Raypak 206a and RP2100 200k BTU are 14% larger than my current one.

Besides BTU differences, I don't see significant differences between all these. They all have extruded copper tubes, on-demand pilot, automatic bypass, self-adjusting burners. 206a looks like it has fancier diagnostics (flame strength, supply voltage, run time, cycles). Am I missing something, or can I largely base my purchase on price?

On the way to the heap, I'm going to try to tear into the heat exchange pipe. I want to see what my persistently low pH did to the pipes (if anything).

I REALLY want to get more than 7 years out of the next heater. Are there any upgrades at purchase time that are worthwhile? Commercial (ASME copper fin tube)? Obviously some form of annual maintenance (duh). Possibly (probably?) annual professional maintenance?
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,037
I would suggest a Digital Low Nox heater.

Have your gas person check the supply and advise you about the size of the heater the line will support.

I wouldn't go cupro-nickle or ASME. I don't think that it's worth it. Cupronickle is 2% less efficient than the standard copper model. That's a lot of heat lost.

 

Pool Clown

In The Industry
Sep 5, 2008
1,973
Silicon Valley, CA
I would suggest a Digital Low Nox heater.

Have your gas person check the supply and advise you about the size of the heater the line will support.
+1 on the gas pipe size. I would go as big as your gas line will allow. Bigger is better. Theory is, that while the bigger heater uses more gas (per min, hour, etc.), it wont have to run as long as the smaller size(s) to achieve set point.
(Theory care of Raypak, inc.)
 

IL_WS

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2012
119
IL, NW of Chicago
Thank you all SO MUCH for your help.

The gas line is a 80' run from the meter (+ however much it's buried; maybe 3' * 2). The pipe is flexible X-Riser Chichago Fittings with an outside circumference of 6", so outside diameter of 1.9". I haven't been able to find any tables or information that gives me the inside diameter of the gas line. I'll get in touch with the guy who put the gas line in for me to see if he knows or can find it out.

I didn't upgrade my meter when I got the pool heater. IIRC, that was an option, but the heater operated fine as it was and I had already spent more $ than I had expected at the time.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,037
Ok. Have your gas person check the line and everything to see if you can go to a bigger heater.

Besides the heater, you have to account for any other gas appliances that could be on at the same time.

I would suggest going to a 250,000 to 400,00 btu/hr heater if possible.

You would need to have the meter replaced. Some gas companies will replace the meter for free and some charge a few hundred dollars.

You might be able to go to a 2-Stage gas pressure line by increasing the pressure to the heater line (to about 2 psi) and putting a regulator at the heater to step down to heater inlet pressure.
 
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skimmerswimmer

Well-known member
Jul 30, 2013
323
Long Island, NY
The previous owner of my home added a pool heater and the gas company ran an un-metered line from the main gas line/meter at the house and installed a second gas meter out by the equipment pad. The heater installed was a 336k BTU Raypak. This allowed for separate billing and a good understanding of what it was costing to heat the pool each season. It also avoided needing to change out the meter that was for the house (which was already supplying the furnace, hot water heater, dryer, fireplace, grill and oven/stove). The second meter was free, but trenching and running the line was not.
 

IL_WS

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2012
119
IL, NW of Chicago
Nicor has replied that my meter is the, "basic residential gas meter for a home and measures 100 cubic feet of gas." The meter says 175 C.F.H. @ 1/2" diff. M.A.O.P. 5 PSI.

Does that answer your question?
So converting this to BTU, 100 Ccf of NG = 103.6k BTU (from What are Ccf, Mcf, Btu, and therms? How do I convert natural gas prices in dollars per Ccf or Mcf to dollars per Btu or therm? - FAQ - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)). So from the meter alone, I've been starving my 175k BTU heater of gas. Well I don't want to do that.

When the heater was new, I remember (a dangerous thing for me to do accurately) the pool warming a little less than 2 degrees / hour. This year it was more like 1 degree / hour. I convinced myself I was just remembering wrong. But if things were tuned up properly and I was getting all I could from the heater, I might be able to expect almost 70% better (assuming the entire meter load is going to the pool in both cases).
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,037
Your meter can do 175 cubic feet per hour. So, it should have been fine as long as nothing else big was running at the same time.

1 btu can heat 1 lb of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit.

Your water weighs 13,500 x 8.34 = 112,590 lbs.

Your heater delivers 175,000 x 0.84 = 147,000 btus every hour (assuming the efficiency of the heater is 84%).

So, that's 147,000 ÷ 112,590 = 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit per hour.
 
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IL_WS

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2012
119
IL, NW of Chicago
Your meter can do 175 cubic feet per hour. So, it should have been fine as long as nothing else big was running at the same time.
Gotcha. How does time factor into the conversion between Ccf and BTU? I'm sure I have a high school math teacher that would be rolling his eyes at my lack of keeping track of my units.

I'll check the other loads. Just gas stove and dryer (and unused furnace during this season).
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,037
Your meter says 175 C.F.H, which is 175 cubic feet per hour. So, that's about 175,000 btu per hour (using 1,000 btu per cubic foot of gas).
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,037
Note that "Ccf" means 100 cubic feet. The "C" is the Roman numeral for 100 from the latin word centum.

So, the gas company bills you in Ccf, which is units of 100 cubic feet. They weren't indicating that the meter could only do 100 cubic feet per hour.

Your heater uses 175 cubic feet per hour or 1.75 Ccf per hour.
 

IL_WS

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2012
119
IL, NW of Chicago
Wow, am I getting schooled. I don't even know what I don't know!

I just ran across a used Raypak P-R266A-MN-C (266k BTU, millivolt) heater for $550 (haven't tried negotiating price yet). It was in service 2-3 years and professionally maintained by father who was in pool business for career. I requested additional pictures before taking a drive to look at it.
 

IL_WS

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2012
119
IL, NW of Chicago
Ok. Have your gas person check the line and everything to see if you can go to a bigger heater.
Gas installer said I have 1" line and I'm at the line's maximum btu. A pipe sizing chart I found said 1" 90' run is 133k btu if I'm reading it correctly.

So what happens when a bigger heater (175k, 266k) cannot get the gas it's designed for?
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,037
You don't want to undersize the gas line. It will cause the heater to operate incorrectly.

1" at 90 feet is good to about 200,000 btu/hr. 90 feet means total "equivalent" length, which is the actual length plus an extra amount of "equivalent length" for each fitting.

If you want to keep the same size heater, the current meter and line should be sufficient. However, verify gas pressure under load to confirm on startup.

If anything else can run while the heater is on, you should upgrade the meter.

If you want to upsize the heater, you would need to upsize the meter and upsize the line or change to a two stage pressure.

See if the gas person can use 2 psi to the heater with a regulator at the heater to step down to the inlet pressure.

Verify plans with a qualified gas contractor before deciding what to do.
 
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IL_WS

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2012
119
IL, NW of Chicago
I'm still waiting to hear back from the gas guy (not derogatory) on running 2psi through the line to the heater. Also starting the process of changing the meter through Nicor (they don't allow 2nd meter at same address).

I received additional pictures of the used heater. Any thoughts for $550 for Raypak P-R266A-MN-C?
 

Attachments

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,037
Pass on the heater. The pictures are from at least two different heaters. They are probably junk that the service person pulled off of different jobs.
 

IL_WS

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2012
119
IL, NW of Chicago
Pass on the heater. The pictures are from at least two different heaters. They are probably junk that the service person pulled off of different jobs.
Thanks for saving me the trip. Can you tell based on your familiarity with the heaters, or did something in the pictures tip you off?