Help! My heat exchanger on my Haward heater has failed AGAIN!

swimcoachtdawg

Active member
Jun 8, 2015
35
Salem Indiana
I just keep repeating "I love my pool, I LOVE my pool!" but lately it has been a pain in the nether regions. Three months ago, my Mineral Springs system display stopped working. Hayward acquired this company shortly after my pool was built, and they have changed the system so I can no longer get the part to fix it. I ordered one, but it was different when I got it, and I've been round and round with a Hayward rep who INSISTS that the part has never changed, even though I send pics of my part and the one they sent that did not fit. So I've abandoned the Mineral Springs and have been doing chlorine.

Winter months after the first of March, when my swim team is no longer practicing and I'm forehead deep in tax returns, the pool doesn't really get used March 1- mid-April. The solar cover stays on, the heat in the building is turned down to 60ish, and the pool heater is turned off. I still run the pump about 8 hours a day, and check chemicals and adjust as needed once a week. This year the balance has stayed pretty good until this week. I went out to turn on the heater, uncover the pool and clean it and the pH is low (it's NEVER low, usually I have to lower it about once a month because it gets above 7.6. When I went to turn on the heater it gave me a code LO. I called the heating and air guys who have worked on my heater for the past five years and they came out. They've had to clean it periodically and change out some parts, but this time he checked everything and said the exchanger is clogged and can't be fixed. This will be the 3rd exchanger for this heater since it was new 8 years ago. I'm trying to figure out why that would be? The first time it failed, the whole pool and equipment were less than three years old. I've always tried to keep everything balanced perfectly and with everything inside a building, it seemed to me that the conditions for everything are ideal for long life. Instead I've had real problems, especially with this heater. I made such a fuss with Hayward that they actually sent me a new exchanger no charge, and my heating and air guys installed it maybe three years ago. And now this?

Please give me some insight -- why would it fail so often? And with the price at almost $900 for a new one, am I better off to just replace the whole heater? And what are your recommendations for brand? I'm currently pretty fed up with Hayward. I've read through some of the threads on here about heaters, and feel I need to share some info with you about how my pool is used so you can give me advice based on my situation. My pool is used at least 9-10 months of the year. I have a small USA team that practices here and I teach lessons, so the pool is used 4-8 hours a day 4-6 days a week during those months. I have a solar heating system that keeps the water pretty warm when it's over 80 outside, but even then I turn the heater on for lessons since I need the water about 86 degrees for the youngest swimmers. The pump and heater are on timers that turn them on and off again, and I run both about 8-10 hours a day, depending on how much use the pool is getting.

I appreciate any help that's given and want you to know that I adopted your system about 4 years ago, and it has saved me a TON of money, and I thank you for that. Too bad more pool owners don't know about your methods!
 

domct203

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 3, 2015
3,959
CT
Can you please post a complete set of recent test results? Do you keep a running log of your test results?

What was the heat exchanger clogged with?
 

ps0303

TFP Expert
In The Industry
Jul 6, 2011
3,965
FL
"clogged and can't be fixed" Clogged with what, calcium? Honestly, Hayward is NOT a good product. Are you using an ASME certified unit? Granted in my opnion it won't matter on the Hayward as I see them as a bad unit, period.

How does the water chemistry look?

Look into a Raypak unit.
 

swimcoachtdawg

Active member
Jun 8, 2015
35
Salem Indiana
The tech could not tell me what it is clogged with, he just said once it's clogged, it can't be fixed. I do keep a running log of my chemical tests. Everything has been right on since about February. I had tested it last week and the pH was fine, now the pH is low but not exceedingly low (it was 6.8). Chlorine was a little low (about 3.0). I added borax to bring pH up and bleach to bring chlorine up. Here are my results from tonight:
Chlorine 7.5
pH 7.8
CH 200
TA 10 (wow, not sure how it got that low when pH is fine now)
CYA 40
 

swimcoachtdawg

Active member
Jun 8, 2015
35
Salem Indiana
Yes I understand that low pH over time will corrode heat exchangers. I have never had a problem with low pH until last week. In fact, I'm usually fighting to keep it from going too high. This was the first time ever that the pH was low, and it had just been checked the week before. I check my chemicals weekly when the pool is covered and not being used. I check it 2-3X a week when we are using it daily. If I have to make an adjustment I check it again the next day to make sure the adjustment put everything back in synch. I'm just really puzzled about how this could keep happening.
 

Rollercoastr

Gold Supporter
May 18, 2016
809
West Bloomfield, MI
I'll be watching this closely. I have a different brand heater, but otherwise similar circumstances. When I moved in, pH was scary-low. I've kept everything balanced ever since, yet my heater performance has plummeted. I'm getting a 6° delta on the output. The mfr says I should see 10°-12°.
 

swimcoachtdawg

Active member
Jun 8, 2015
35
Salem Indiana
So after posting a negative comment on Hayward's Facebook page, a rep contacted me and is "working with me" on trying to figure out why it is failing (again). When I told him that the pH was low the day the heater stopped working (even though I pointed out that this is the first time EVER that the pH has been low) he immediately tried to say I haven't kept the chemicals balanced yadda yadda yadda. I explained again that I have been meticulous about keeping chemicals in balance, but he insisted that I have a pool store check my water. So I took a sample to the local store, and the girl who did the testing really acted like she didn't know what she was doing, and said their computer has been "acting up". The results she gave me baffled me --- FC 4.2, pH 6.2, TA 51, CH 193 and CYA 0. I took the report and thanked her for her time and left. But this does not match in any way the results I have been getting. That was yesterday. So today I checked everything again and here's what I got: FC 5.5, pH 8.4, TA 80, CH 190, CYA 40. How can there be such a difference? I replaced all of the testing titrants in my kit just this last fall because of my concern that they were getting too old. So I'm relatively certain that isn't the problem. I'm especially concerned that their pH and my pH are so far apart. Anyone have any ideas?? :(
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
25,148
FL panhandle
Pool store testing is notoriously bad. Poor training, poor lighting, poor attention to detail, poor rinsing of test equipment from the last test. I would give any meaning to their test result. If you have to have pool store test results then get a gallon of pool water and go to a few stores. The results will likely all be quite different.

I think you need to figure out what it is clogged with to diagnose the problem.
 

swimcoachtdawg

Active member
Jun 8, 2015
35
Salem Indiana
I agree pooldv, but not sure how to go about figuring out what it's clogged with, short of having someone cut it open for me with a blowtorch. I'm going to take another sample tomorrow and see if I get a different person that seems to know a little better how to work their test system, and watch closely to see if they rinse the test equipment before using it for my test. Going to several stores is not really an option for me, since I am in a very rural area, the closest store is 35 miles away, and to go to multiple stores would require an entire day of my time, just for the travel between various stores. I know the Hayward rep is just looking for an excuse to blame these failures on me, so that he can say "see, it's all your fault!". If they give me varying results from my own tests again, I'll tell him to take a flying leap and just go buy something different.
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
25,148
FL panhandle
Ha, yeah, I was just looking at your location and thinking there might not be a pool store on every corner. :) Maybe a metal cutting blade on a reciprocating saw or even just a hack saw. We need to see if it is white powdery stuff. Put some muriatic acid on it to see if it fizzles up and dissolves. If they don't give you a new heater then I'd look at a Raypak heater. All the folks around here who work on gas heaters say they are the best.
 

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