Maintenance tech screwed me - rusted connector on Heat Exchanger in Hayward Pool Heater

Jul 22, 2022
4
Costa Rica
The heat exchanger connection on my Hayward Heatpro 140,000 is really rusted.

1658531456806.png

I have a company that comes out and maintains the pool, but they don't seem to understand how to fix rust. They kept putting lithium grease on rusted parts instead of getting rid of the rust. Obviously, they are taking stupid pills.

I used a toothbrush to clean the rust (a lot came off) and applied a rust convertor.

1658531647614.pngFinally, I put on anti-corrosive paint to protect it.

1658531660330.png

I'm worried about how much this will impact the life of the heater. Does anyone have any experience with rust in this part of their heat exchanger?

Any advice would be appreciated.

I'm also having a conversation with the owner of the maintenance company. They come out and do maintenance every 6 months. The last time was 2 months ago.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
21,019
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Correct if I’m wrong but isn’t that the copper tubing from the evaporator side (cold) of the heat exchanger going in to the expansion valve and titanium tubing inside the compression side (hot) ? If so, rust converters won’t do anything. Rust converters only work on mild steel. They are not suitable for aluminum, copper, stainless steel, etc.
 

SoDel

Well-known member
May 27, 2022
365
Coastal Sussex Delaware
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
I also don’t understand “rust” on any fitting intended for outdoor use, or in contact with pool water. If you’re saying it’s a steel fitting on there somehow, I’d be more upset with the installer than the maintainer ;) . If that’s what it is, you may also notice rust stains near the returns. Different context, but years ago I saw a nice white porcelain sink completely rust stained where a plumber had used a steel fitting in each of the supply lines. You may want to find a plumber familiar with pools to have a look at it.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
21,019
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
That component is internal to the heat pump so it came from the factory that way. There’s no way you touch that part when installing it and, as @JamesW said, pool service companies generally don’t mess around with the internals of pool equipment unless they specifically indicate it. Pool heat pumps are, unfortunately, the “red-headed step child” of heating equipment - most HVAC companies won’t touch heat pumps and most pool service companies have no idea how to service them.

Whatever you did there certainly sealed it up but only time will tell if it holds.
 

SoDel

Well-known member
May 27, 2022
365
Coastal Sussex Delaware
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
Last edited:

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
21,019
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
The factory part in that location appears to be brass, as would be expected.

Good find.

Yeah, it looks like a brass bell reducer onto the CPVC heat exchanger. Cold pool water flows into that PVC pipe coil where there is smaller coiled up titanium tubing inside of it. The titanium tubing holds the hot refrigerant gas from the compressor and transfer the heat from the refrigerant to the pool water. Then the refrigerant exists the PVC and goes to the outer heat exchanger where it expands & cools, absorbing heat energy from the atmosphere before heading back to the compressor to be recompressed again.

My guess is that the copper to brass connections, being hot, has been exposed to air and possibly moisture from rain. That has led to the brass forming some mild oxidation. Brass doesn't really "rust" and once the surface darkens the oxidation stops. Chloride from salts will cause some crusty build up, but again, it doesn't compromise the brass metal. This is why brass is used heavily in marine applications for it's corrosion resistance.
 
Jul 22, 2022
4
Costa Rica
Good find.

Yeah, it looks like a brass bell reducer onto the CPVC heat exchanger. Cold pool water flows into that PVC pipe coil where there is smaller coiled up titanium tubing inside of it. The titanium tubing holds the hot refrigerant gas from the compressor and transfer the heat from the refrigerant to the pool water. Then the refrigerant exists the PVC and goes to the outer heat exchanger where it expands & cools, absorbing heat energy from the atmosphere before heading back to the compressor to be recompressed again.

My guess is that the copper to brass connections, being hot, has been exposed to air and possibly moisture from rain. That has led to the brass forming some mild oxidation. Brass doesn't really "rust" and once the surface darkens the oxidation stops. Chloride from salts will cause some crusty build up, but again, it doesn't compromise the brass metal. This is why brass is used heavily in marine applications for it's corrosion resistance.
These are amazing responses.

The company that installed it is also doing the maintenance. They bill themselves as doing full maintenance and repairs. They acknowledged that they missed this, but it is a common piece that fails.

It is leaking a little right at that joint when the pool pump is running (a few drops per second). We have a saltwater pool so this is additionally corrosive.

When we touched the metal piece, it did look like rust. We lightly brushed it with a toothbrush causing a dime-sized piece to fall out. Wouldn't that be rust?

Is this a small piece that can be replaced/fixed or does the whole things need to be replaced?
This looks to be the whole condenser for my heater. So expensive

 

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JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
21,019
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
If pool water is leaking there then the crust could simply be all the dissolved solids (salt/CYA/calcium/etc) from the water building up a scale and possible absorbing some metals from that reduced giving it a bit of color. Either way, it’s bad that it’s leaking.

Is this unit still under warranty? If so, Hayward should replace the defective condenser.
 

swamprat69

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2019
690
Las Vegas, NV
Sorry to chime in this late... but that looks like a refrigerant connection. The debris underneath the leaking connection appears to be oil ( can confirm by dipping finger in debris and rubbing fingers together ). Refrigerant and oil travel around the system (small amount) together somewhat. If it is oil, you have a refrigerant leak on the high pressure side of the system ( approx. 235-240 psi at 80 degrees ambient for R410A ). The compressor motor is cooled by the leftover cool refrigerant returning to the compressor from the evaporator. As you lose refrigerant there is less leftover cool gas returning to the compressor and the compressor motor will run hot shortening the compressor life. If you are leaking refrigerant, the self repair will not likely work at those pressures and may have voided the warranty. You can also have the possible refrigerant leak confirmed or denied by use of an electronic refrigerant leak detector at that connection. It is very important that service on the system should be done by a qualified/certified technician, especially if the system is still under warranty.
 
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Jul 22, 2022
4
Costa Rica
Sorry to chime in this late... but that looks like a refrigerant connection. The debris underneath the leaking connection appears to be oil ( can confirm by dipping finger in debris and rubbing fingers together ). Refrigerant and oil travel around the system (small amount) together somewhat. If it is oil, you have a refrigerant leak on the high pressure side of the system ( approx. 235-240 psi at 80 degrees ambient for R410A ). The compressor motor is cooled by the leftover cool refrigerant returning to the compressor from the evaporator. As you lose refrigerant there is less leftover cool gas returning to the compressor and the compressor motor will run hot shortening the compressor life. If you are leaking refrigerant, the self repair will not likely work at those pressures and may have voided the warranty. You can also have the possible refrigerant leak confirmed or denied by use of an electronic refrigerant leak detector at that connection. It is very important that service on the system should be done by a qualified/certified technician, especially if the system is still under warranty.
Unfortunately, it is out of warranty. :(

I live in Costa Rica and inherited this system from the previous owner.

It is leaking water from the connection. The leaking increases as the pool pump increases. Usually it is 1 drip per second but as the pump increases, it get's up to 3 drips per second.