Pool heater nightmare 400K BTU Pentair/ Sta rite heater

Manny123

Member
Jul 3, 2022
5
Los Angeles, CA
I'm caught up in a nightmare of a situation with pool heater technician pointing at gas line issue and gas company pointing finger at pool heater. I had a StaRite Max E therm 400K btu heater which stopped working around the time my gas meter got upgraded to 2.5 psi 800 cfh. My pool technician said it was my gas line so I had gas company come by and measure pressures before and after the regulator and near inlet to my heater which was 8.3 to 8.6 iwc. No significant pressure drop across my 2" line heading from regulator to pool heater (approx 100 ft run). Gas company technician said my pressure was sufficient. I decided to get second opinion on the pool heater and had another technician look at it who said it was probably the heater. I replaced the heater with a 400k BTU master temp Pentair which is pretty much the same model. Now the heater is still not working and technician is now blaming the gas line. I have a gas company appointment in about a week and trying to figure out what I need him to check. I'm at wits end and feel like I just spend $4K on a new heater that I didn't need. At this point I just want it to work. What exactly do I need for the gas company to check and what pressures do I need to ensure at the inlet. Manual says 4 to 14 iwc. My pool technician says at least 10 iwc. Appreciate all the help trouble shooting this.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
37,917
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Has any of the techs put a manometer on the heater gas valve and measured the pressures before and while trying to light?

Below shows the manifold pressure test, which requires a dual port differential manometer.

gas-pressure-jpg.411180


pressure-jpg.411181
 
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ps0303

TFP Expert
In The Industry
Jul 6, 2011
4,185
FL
Just because they measure it at the heater and it shows withing specs, doesn't mean that when the heater fires, that it's getting a constant flow at the correct pressure. Is there a regulator just before the heater?
 

ps0303

TFP Expert
In The Industry
Jul 6, 2011
4,185
FL
I understand. My hookup is meter, then gas regulator, and then it splits to the house and second run to the pool heater (2", about 100 feet).
You'll need to check to see that when the heater fires, that the gas pressure remains at the correct level to keep the unit going. If it drops after the heater fires up, it will not be able to keep the unit going.

I have seen where the gas supply appears to be good but when the unit fires up, the volume drops and the heater stops running.
 

Manny123

Member
Jul 3, 2022
5
Los Angeles, CA
Thanks everyone for the help. Problem fixed. Paul (ps0303) was correct. It ended up being a flow issue which can be tricky to diagnose unless you know a little bit about what you're doing. Gas company technician came, replaced new gas meter, and announced it had to be my gas line running from regulator to the heater, which I thought was unlikely as it was a fairly new line. We started suspecting a flow issue and I suggested we test it by having the stove cooktop on while we fire the pool heater and see if the flame diminishes or goes out. When I suggested that, he realized that can measure the pressure at the house water heater inlet while the pool heater fired up. Of course, the pressure at water heater dropped when pool heater tried to fire, confirming that it was flow restricted before the fork to the pool heater and the water heater. This highly suggested the regulator as the gas meter was new. He took it apart and it had dirt in it. He replaced it and everything worked fine. Happy it's fixed but frustrated I spent 4K on a new pool heater that I did not need. Lesson here is that adequate pressure does not equal adequate flow. In other words, you can have adequate pressure across a restriction but restriction will restrict flow when heater starts sucking gas. I am also a bit frustrated that the gas company technician did not test flow the first time he came out, which would have saved me a good chunk of money.
 
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