Pool Heater Recommendations

ScubaDoo

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2019
101
Great Lakes
We're looking at replacing our old Jandy Lars Lite 250k BTU Pool Heater... Our pool is 79800 L salt. All equipment is protected in the pool shed.

Never purchased a pool heater so I'm not sure what I want to be looking for and if I should be replacing with the same size/BTU unit? The old Lars Lite works still but seems is old and the sometimes won't fire up. Also, I think it's adding a lot of iron to my pool with the old heat exchanger.

Are any of the new heaters programable to run at certain time, or are they all run based off the thermostat (temp drops, switches on)? Just curious as the new Hayward pump I installed last summer has been so awesome with it's ability to adjust GPH/RPM to times when power is less expensive.

My installer said the Raypak 266K or Hayward H250 are available. Read that the Hayward has the better Cupro nickel heat exchanger, but I see its an upgraded option on the Raypak as well. Are those good heaters or should I look at another brand/model as well?

Look forward to any input - thanks!
 

borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
3,390
Pacific NW
A lot of us like the Raypak. Less parts, less costly to service. I too had a lars lite old unit. Replaced it w the raypak. The cupronickel exchanger, generally considered a waste of money. It won't
make any difference vs the regular exchanger.
Take care of them properly and they last.
 
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ScubaDoo

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2019
101
Great Lakes
Thanks for the reply. Would the regular heat exchanger be more prone to corrosion? I really don't want to be back where I am now a 5 years down the line...
 

borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
3,390
Pacific NW
No and the key there is making sure the ph never goes into corrosive territory. Keep it there in the safe zone and exchanger should last a very long time.
I also drain mine every winter even if ice isn't forecasted.

I could have sprung for that upgrade but the consensus is it doesn't make a difference.
 

Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
289
Knoxville, TN
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
I happen to also have a 20 year old Larrs Lite that’s rusting away and just got a Hayward H250. It was delivered damaged so waiting on a replacement so I can’t give real feedback yet, but I’ve read the cupronickel exchangers are also thicker than the standard copper exchangers so not just a material difference. The Hayward happens to be much shorter than the Laars as well which is kinda nice.
 

blazer58

Silver Supporter
May 29, 2018
243
Chicago, IL
I have a Raypak 406 Heater, that I installed myself in 2019, and no problems with the heater.
It runs like a champ and was easy to install.
I did not upgrade to the cupronickel heat exchanger
The only draw back was the venting...
 

borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
3,390
Pacific NW
My pr266aen raypak was a direct swap for the lars lite. Its in a shed attached to the house, so the only change for current code was to extend the rooftop exhaust pipe with a 1 foot extension.
 

Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
289
Knoxville, TN
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
So with the thicker cupronickel heat exchanger... does it take longer to heat the water? (Less efficient?)

supposedly more durable. If the heat exchanger is the thing that fails by leaking, then thicker material should last a bit longer. But if the exchanger is corroding, not sure how much of a difference it actually makes. It came standard with the Hayward so I just kinda went with it.
 

ScubaDoo

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2019
101
Great Lakes
So my pal who can install got back to me with a list of what's available, and he can get these:

-Raypak 266k BTU w/ cupnic & electric
-Raypak 336k BTU w/ cupnic & electric (+$300)
-Hayward H250
-Hayward H300 (+$200)
-Hayward H350 ((+$350)
-Laars Versailles 260K BTU w/ poly headers (+$100)

The Raypak 266 & Hayward H250 are the same price.

Curious, by going up in BTU is the only benefit the ability to heat the pool faster? Or is there any efficiency benefits? Is there a calculation to see how much faster the extra BTU can heat the pool?

Does Raypak or Hayward have better service parts support?

Thanks in advance for the feedback.
 

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Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
289
Knoxville, TN
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
Supposedly larger BTU makes no difference except it heats faster so it just becomes a purchase price decision. Don’t know for sure, but my installer told me Hayward had easier parts availability but that could just be his preference. I do know the raypack is taller than the Hayward so if visibility is an issue that might be a choice to make. If you’re replacing a big jandy than the raypack isn’t any taller anyway.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,257
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Raypak heaters are natural draft. So less moving parts, fewer things to fail.
 

joboo7777

Bronze Supporter
Aug 8, 2020
109
McKinney, TX
Pool Size
15568
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
A lot of us like the Raypak. Less parts, less costly to service. I too had a lars lite old unit. Replaced it w the raypak. The cupronickel exchanger, generally considered a waste of money. It won't
make any difference vs the regular exchanger.
Take care of them properly and they last.

I have a Hayward pool heater not by choice but because it was what the pool builder offered. You mentioned there are more parts with the Hayward heaters. Can you provide more detail on this? I’m trying to prepare for when I may have to service and it would help to better understand this
 

borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
3,390
Pacific NW
Just what ive read from techs who service them.
I don't know specifics. Search for hayward heater issues on the forum to learn more.

But i do know for example, the one i have doesn't have an inducer fan, so that's one item not needing replacement for starters.
 

ScubaDoo

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2019
101
Great Lakes
My heater will be in the pool shed so I guess an inducer fan on a Hayward wouldn't be a big advantage as it wouldn't be subject to any winds/weather...?

Is that the goal of the induction system?
 

Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
289
Knoxville, TN
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
My heater will be in the pool shed so I guess an inducer fan on a Hayward wouldn't be a big advantage as it wouldn't be subject to any winds/weather...?

Is that the goal of the induction system?

yea, that’s the goal. Don’t know how real it is but it supposedly regulates the air so the gas burn is more efficient or cleaner. Don’t know how much of a difference it makes though.
 

ScubaDoo

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2019
101
Great Lakes
I am thinking of going larger for the benefit of faster heating...then thought -- Could the hotter water damage my plumbing? Am I being paranoid, or should the plumbing used for my 250BTU be fine if I step up to a 300 or 350 BTU?
 

swamprat69

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2019
417
Las Vegas, NV
There are a couple of reasons that most furnaces/heaters now have either induced draft or combustion air blowers rather than using natural draft. Safety and efficiency. In a natural draft system the flow of gasses through the heater basically happens only when there is a flame present causing heat in order for the gasses to rise through the system/vent (this is discounting the Very small draft created by the pressure difference between the flue stack height at the heater/draft hood and the taller/higher flue stack termination). In other words there is verly little movement of gasses through the system until a flame is established and the heat created causes the gasses to rise through the venting. This can create a situation called "delayed ignition" where there there is a buildup of gas and air in the combustion chamber that is not lit off immediately by a weak ignition source (dirty burners/pilot, spider webs, weak ignition source etc.) The very slight natural draft created by the vent stack heigth is not enough to clear this gas/air mixture from the combustion chamber. Eventually this gas/air mixture can backup in the combustion chamber to the point that it impinges on the weak ignition source causing it to ignite (read explosion). I have personally seen a furnace door that was blown 20 feet across a basement from delayed igntion. The other reason is efficiency. The government has mandated a minimum effiency for furnaces and it is very hard to achieve this with a natural draft heater. Forced draft heaters are more efficient than natural draft heaters, although in some lower efficiency heaters that difference can be somewhat minimal.
 

borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
3,390
Pacific NW
I doubt the lack of inducer motor will cause any safety issue like that though. No way they would be made for sale if that was a real risk. If that much gas gets out without lighting the safety kicks in and shuts it down. It is recommended to inspect the internals each spring.
 

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