Newbie Heater questions

wgipe

Gold Supporter
Jul 4, 2020
84
Fletcher, OH
Hello! We are building a new 18x36 sport pool (liner pool), and I have a couple of questions about heaters. Hoping I can get some wisdom before making a final decision. I'm going with Pentair IntelliCenter automation, and from what I've read, it's best to stick with the same brand of equipment so that the automation works optimally. Feel free to correct me if I'm starting off with a bad assumption. My big questions are:

- I'm nearly certain that with Ohio weather, we need to go with a propane heater (no NG here) if we want to have a decent season and get max value out of the pool Is that accurate? Seems heat pumps would not be nearly as effective in early/late season.

- I'm looking at the MasterTemp 400 LP Heater. I've seen a lot of really good stuff about Raypak, but I'm concerned about integration with Intellicenter. Is that concern valid?

- The MasterTemp 400 shows lp consumption of 1.34lb/hr. Does anyone live in a similar climate to southern OH? If so, about what do you pay annually for gas to heat? I know this varies with temps and weather - just trying to get an idea. We will have an auto cover which will stay closed when not in use.

- We are hoping to have the pool open from late April to October sometime - but don't even have any idea if that's reasonable. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance for bearing with a newbie.

Wes
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,356
Tucson, AZ
With any heater you are going to need to use a bubble cover on the pool during the overnight hours. The vast majority of heat lost is through evaporative cooling overnight. So, whatever your heater choice is, be sure that your pool design makes it easy for you to pull a cover on and off the pool.

As for source - LP is 3X more expensive than NG and often more costly than electric utility rates. If you have a propane tank already then you’ve got a chance of making it work. If not, then you’d better price out the cost of LP tanks to see what that is going to entail. You can’t run these heaters off of portable LP tanks unless you plan to make trips to the propane dealer every other day.

A heat pump coupled with judicious use of a pool cover will likely work better than propane. Yes, the heatpump has to run, but they are fairly efficient at maintaining the heat once you get the pool water close to your heater setpoint. There are websites (Dept of Energy) where you can compare costs.

Raypak gas heaters can easily be integrated with Pentair automation. Just know that Pentair gas heaters are forced air systems while Raypaks use a more traditional burner-tray style of convective heating. Pentair gas heater parts can be expensive to replace while Raypaks are a bit easier on the maintenance budget to fix and maintain.
 

wgipe

Gold Supporter
Jul 4, 2020
84
Fletcher, OH
Thank you, Matt! Great info. I do have a buried 500 gallon LP tank, and could easily trench a line in, so that's not an issue in my case. LP is around $2/gallon these days, but it does spike from time to time, and could get pricey for sure. Trying to weight that all out...

Would you suggest that the forced air system is more efficient or better, or does it just add maintenance without any benefit. Which direction would you go if it were you?

This is probably a dumb question - we are installing an automatic cover that claims to control evap and heat loss. Is that enough, or are you suggesting we should manually put a buble cover on top of that overnight each night?

Thanks in advance,

Wes
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,356
Tucson, AZ
With an auto-cover you’re in a good place to help keep heat in the pool. Just understand that you want to open the pool cover for a few hours each day to allow the pool water to contact atmospheric air and exchange gases. Pools that stay covered all the time tend to develop issues with chloramines and act chemically like hot tubs. Pools need to “breath” and get some sunshine (UV).

There’s not really any difference in the efficiency of the heaters, both will use LOTS of propane gas. Pentair heaters will be more expensive to fix due to more expensive parts is all. One issue we see with Raypak heaters is, if they are installed in windy locations, you can get flame rollout problems that cause the rollout fuse to blow. It’s related to air getting blown back down the flue stack causing the gas flame to get pushed back into the cabinet. Raypak sells flue stack kits to help mitigate wind issues and even a “powered” flue (a fan basically) in extreme circumstances. So placement of the Raypak heaters is important to avoid wind issues.
 
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wgipe

Gold Supporter
Jul 4, 2020
84
Fletcher, OH
Matt,

Thanks so much - this is very helpful on all fronts. I did not appreciate the need for the pool to breathe each day.

I am admittedly concerned about propane cost. Everyone I've spoken to in the area says that heat pumps are not as efficient as required to work well in our climate if you wish to extend your season. I would really love to get some opinions from the forum members that are in similar climates before making that final decision. I do plan to oversize the sub-panel to the pool house so that it could support a heat pump in the future if I don't end up with one to start. I may start another thread with that more focused topic to see if I attract any opinions from those in the midwest. Would love to hear your thoughts also.

Wes
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
20,288
Northern NJ
I see you are getting replies about your heater on this thread...