Leaking Heat Exchanger

krischela

Member
May 2, 2021
12
Normal, IL
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
I have a two year old Jandy pool heater. The heater stopped working several days ago. Pool service guy said it’s a leaking heat exchanger and will need to be replaced. He’s going to call with a price because that part is not covered by warranty. He mentioned it’s highly susceptible to damage by water chemistry. By my quick scan online scan, seems this is going to be an expensive fix. We will soon NEED a heater to use the pool, so will have to go through with the repair, but my question is why it is leaking and what I can do to prevent in the future. Is the leak a random thing or could it really be caused by water chemistry? I worked hard this season to keep water chemistry in check. Appreciate any/all input.
 

ajw22

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TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
29,653
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
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SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
What test kit do you use?

Low pH is the main way gas heat exchangers are damaged. The other way is if your water flow is too high through the heater and it erodes the copper heat exchanger.

Take your pool water to a pool store and have them test it for metals. If you have cooper in the pool water it is likely it came from your heater.
 

krischela

Member
May 2, 2021
12
Normal, IL
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
What test kit do you use?

Low pH is the main way gas heat exchangers are damaged. The other way is if your water flow is too high through the heater and it erodes the copper heat exchanger.

Take your pool water to a pool store and have them test it for metals. If you have cooper in the pool water it is likely it came from your heater.
I use a Taylor kit. I have hardly any instances of low ph, in fact it’s in balance or on the high side more often. I remedy with minimal amounts of muriatic acid. I have had widespread staining in my pool the past two years. It comes off with vitamin c, so must be metals, despite use of CULater in the filter basket. It’s pretty bad right now, but given the need to drop chlorine levels to use the stain remover, I figured I’d wait until pool closing or even opening next spring to address. That’s what I did this year.

Still waiting to hear back from pool serviceman on cost of fix. But, need to figure out how to prevent for sure.
 

cledee

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Bronze Supporter
Jun 23, 2020
166
Concord, NH
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Liquid Chlorine
With a heater you need to maintain your CH around 200PPM.
I use a Taylor kit. I have hardly any instances of low ph, in fact it’s in balance or on the high side more often. I remedy with minimal amounts of muriatic acid. I have had widespread staining in my pool the past two years. It comes off with vitamin c, so must be metals, despite use of CULater in the filter basket. It’s pretty bad right now, but given the need to drop chlorine levels to use the stain remover, I figured I’d wait until pool closing or even opening next spring to address. That’s what I did this year.

Still waiting to hear back from pool serviceman on cost of fix. But, need to figure out how to prevent for sure.
did you ever use Trichlor (chlorine pucks) in the last 2 years? What was your CH levels? With a heater you need to keep your CH level around 200PPM.
 

krischela

Member
May 2, 2021
12
Normal, IL
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
With a heater you need to maintain your CH around 200PPM.

did you ever use Trichlor (chlorine pucks) in the last 2 years? What was your CH levels? With a heater you need to keep your CH level around 200PPM.
CH is usually around 300. Could this be the issue? Never have used pucks. I have a SWG and used liquid chlorine at the beginning of season during SLAM, but nothing else since as far as sanitizer.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
18,782
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
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Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Highly unusual for a heat exchanger to spring a leak this early in it's life unless your chemistry was way off for a very long time or you have some insane flow rate of water through through your system.

Did the repair technician actually show you the leaking heat exchanger?

Typically one needs to do a fair amount of disassembly to determine if the heat exchanger is leaking. Normally on something like that I would want to see the proof. You might consider calling around to see if you can get a second opinion. Or, if you are handy, you could disassemble the heater panels a bit and take some pictures to post here. Perhaps some folks with Jandy heaters can have look ...

FYI - heat exchangers are EXPENSIVE and require LOTS OF LABOR to fix ... you're likely better off buying a new heater if it truly is a leaky heat exchanger and it's not covered under warranty.
 
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borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
3,507
Pacific NW
I was quoted $ 900 (part only) for an exchanger to an old laars lite on it's last days. Control panel started going out too. It was 15 so I just bought a new raypak heater. The old exchanger blew out from freeze damage. The new raypak was $ 1,600
 

cledee

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Bronze Supporter
Jun 23, 2020
166
Concord, NH
Pool Size
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Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I know some heaters mine included have tendency to get wet by the keypad and cause it to stop working due to a design flaw. I've actually put something over the keypad cover to prevent rain from getting the keypad wet.
 

krischela

Member
May 2, 2021
12
Normal, IL
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
I just heard from the service guy. Typically a $1500 job including part/labor. They are going to do it for $1400 and throw in igniter that is also damaged by the leak. I am definitely not handy, so don’t know how to corroborate? But did notice rusty fluid coming out from under the heater when I noticed it wasn’t working. He was here for 15 minutes before he told me what the problem was. The heater will start up, and I smell gas. It gets warm-ish and turns off after a couple minutes.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
18,782
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
And what's their workmanship warranty? Are you absolutely sure Jandy will not cover this? Did you call Jandy yourself and ask? A 2 year old heater should not have this kind of issue unless it's a lemon.

If all you get is a 90-day workmanship warranty out of the repairman, it may be better to just cut your losses and buy a new heater (and maybe go with a more reliable brand). Replacing a heat exchanger literally takes the entire unit apart. So what else will break after they're done touching it? If it's not related to the heat exchanger then it's another part and service call. Heaters tend be money pits when they break - you fix something marginally expensive and then it works for a while only to have the next "weak link" break and then that costs even more money. Eventually you wind up paying out for a pile of repairs that cost just as much as a brand new heater. I liken it to repairing a worn bearing and shaft on a washing machine ... simply not worth it. You'll be in for way more than half the cost of new machine when all is said and done.
 

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krischela

Member
May 2, 2021
12
Normal, IL
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
And what's their workmanship warranty? Are you absolutely sure Jandy will not cover this? Did you call Jandy yourself and ask? A 2 year old heater should not have this kind of issue unless it's a lemon.

If all you get is a 90-day workmanship warranty out of the repairman, it may be better to just cut your losses and buy a new heater (and maybe go with a more reliable brand). Replacing a heat exchanger literally takes the entire unit apart. So what else will break after they're done touching it? If it's not related to the heat exchanger then it's another part and service call. Heaters tend be money pits when they break - you fix something marginally expensive and then it works for a while only to have the next "weak link" break and then that costs even more money. Eventually you wind up paying out for a pile of repairs that cost just as much as a brand new heater. I liken it to repairing a worn bearing and shaft on a washing machine ... simply not worth it. You'll be in for way more than half the cost of new machine when all is said and done.
They have a one year warranty on workmanship. He also said he reached out to the Jandy sales rep to see if they’d cover. He said it’s worth a shot but don’t get hopes up. Good idea for me to call Jandy directly - thank you. He did agree that it seems far too early to replace any part on the heater. Also said if they don’t see anything in the bottom of the tube, they’ll cut it open to see. Obviously don’t want this to happen again, but I have not had water chemistry issues - at least severe enough to cause it break this soon.
 
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