Pool Heater Condensation

jonmar

LifeTime Supporter
Jan 29, 2009
263
Just opened today and the water temp after fill is 49. Lit the heater and it caught on the first try. I notice some water dripping from the base of the heater. Is this normal when the water is so cold?
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,879
Silver Spring, MD
Yes, that is normal when the water is very cold. You don't want that to happen too often. if you run the heater when there is a lot of condensation enough times it may eventually damage the heater.
 

jonmar

LifeTime Supporter
Jan 29, 2009
263
Yes, that is normal when the water is very cold. You don't want that to happen too often. if you run the heater when there is a lot of condensation enough times it may eventually damage the heater.

It only happens in the spring when I open. It will last for several hours though till the water is warm enough. Is that enough to screw up the heater?
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,879
Silver Spring, MD
The only way to avoid it is to never run the heater when the water is that cold. However, that isn't always practical.
 

danpik

TFP Guide
Jun 4, 2012
1,762
western NY
What you are experiencing is the fact that burned natural Gas has an enormous amount of water vapor as a byproduct of the combustion. When this water vapor comes into contact with the cold surface of the heat exchanger, it condenses out and forms water droplets. This is akin to the dew point you hear so much about on the weather channel. In a pool heater running natural gas, the condensation point is around 150 deg f. Once the exhaust gas lowers to that temp it will condensate. One of the problems that can occur is the water will collect the fine soot particles from the combustion process and start to clog up the heat exchanger. In the north we have this problem with home heating boilers if they are not set up properly.
 

ps0303

TFP Expert
In The Industry
Jul 6, 2011
4,095
FL
You can also bypass some of the water past the heater and thus the heater has a better chance of heating up what water does go thru the heater. When you start the heater up and you hear the sizzling of the water dripping, open the manual bypass, if you have one built into the pool plumbing of the heater, and the condensation stops. So if you have this issue and no manual bypass built intot he pool plumbing of the heater, add it and see how it then acts.

Your mileage may vary......LOL
 
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