Raypak 407A: Home warranty? Move AC? DIY? Drop-in?

awtoner

New member
Jan 6, 2020
4
Orange County, CA
We purchased a house last summer, and the vintage 2005 Raypak 407A heater worked for about 4 months before failing. Two sensor connectors are rusted off. There's water seepage, and the burner is broken.

We have a 1-year home warranty from the purchase which includes pool coverage, but the warranty company first said it was a preexisting condition (which I refuted with the home inspection showing the heater was functional) and now says it is "not due to normal wear and tear." I have options to get a 2nd opinion on my own, contact the state insurance board, go to arbitration or small claims court, , etc. I'm wondering if anyone has advice/success in a home warranty claim like this.

I had a local pool equipment installer take a look, and his quote was $1,000 more than a new 407A from INYOpools or Pool Supply Unlimited. It looks like the benefit, in addition to me not having to do the installation, is a 2-year warranty instead of 90 days. Raypak's web site and a few threads here mention the warranty. Regardless if I get home warranty coverage or not for the replacement heater, a professional installation likely means moving a nearby AC condenser farther away from the pool heater and possibly moving the heater farther from the wall. Moving the AC could cost $500 and risks a leak or other problem that could cost me thousands for a new AC. That doesn't seem like a good tradeoff for a 2-year warranty on the pool heater.

A new 407A looks to be a drop-in replacement for my old one. Dimensions for the water and gas pipes match as best I can tell. I'm a DIY'er and am not intimidated about doing this myself. I'm getting tired of being without the pool heater and am looking for force a decision this week. Any pointers?

Thanks.
 

awtoner

New member
Jan 6, 2020
4
Orange County, CA
I am curious, why can you DIY install without moving the AC, etc?
There's already a Raypak 407A installed, so assuming Raypak hasn't changed the design I'm reasonably confident I can drop in a new one with the existing hookups. The problem is that it seems Raypak has changed their installer requirements over the past 15 years or else the heater wasn't installed according to Raypak's instructions 15 years ago. My local Raypak dealer is saying that for him to install it according to Raypak guidelines to get the extended warranty, I now need to move the AC. Of course that leads to a cascade of expense and risk, so I'm wondering if my tradeoff really is all of that vs. a 2-year warranty on a new pool heater.

I also haven't been able to get a straight answer from anyone if I should keep pursuing the home warranty claim and, if so, how to press the case.

Regarding the suggestion to read the ABC's of pool chemistry, I've studied up on pool chemistry over the past 6 months and am planning to swap water after the heater fix to correct high stabilizer from the previous owner. If your intention was to call out that high chlorine, high salt, and low pH are bad for heaters, I keep the chlorine and salt levels reasonable. My pH tends to creep up on its own, so I haven't experienced a low-pH "pitting/etching" situation.

Thanks for the help.
 

setsailsoon

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
1,868
Stuart/FL
AW,

I've seen a few posts on this site about difficulty in warranty claims. Seems like it's a difficult process and your chance of prevailing probably depend a LOT on the detailed wording. Small claims court? Maybe, if you have the time.

As to your question about DIY first I'd check the local codes and see if you're grandfathered. If you're not I would think an owner/builder would have the same requirements as a licensed contractor. They are here in Stuart FL but could be different in your jurisdiction. I'm not sure why the spacing requirements would have changed over the past 15 years other than energy efficiency but you should check into this if you decide to DIY without resolving the spacing issue. If there's only an efficiency benefit that's one thing, if it's a safety issue that's different. Also, in my jurisdiction DIY installation without an owner/builder building permit can be costly. They double the building permit fee and can levy additional fees.

I hope this is helpful.

Chris
 

swamprat69

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2019
96
Las Vegas, NV
I have worked with numerous home warranty companies over the years as an HVAC service tech. Some are better than others with American Home Shield being near the top. I would ask the home warranty company what specifically is not due to normal wear and tear on your 15 year old unit (which is near the normal life expectancy anyway). With that information you might get a second opinion from a Raypak qualified service company as to whether it is or isn't due to normal wear and tear. If it is due to normal wear and tear, you can take that to the home warranty company or small claims court since you are talking about a claim for around $3,000 give or take with installation. The installation problem with the nearby AC unit is probably due Raypak stated minimum distance from the sides of the heater, which may mean that it wasn't installed correctly initially (don't tell that to the home warranty company). A lot of your home warranty question depends on whether or not they are reputable. You should look them up on BBB and check on Google for reviews. Would be glad to answer any other questions that you might have.