Replacing Heater Ourselves?

BabsNMK

Well-known member
May 19, 2018
60
Cranbury, NJ
We have a 19yo heater. We knew before purchasing our home 4 years ago that it would likely need repair but didn’t feel motivated to have it looked at until today. The repair guy from our local company who we use for pool issues said while he could play around and get it to work, it makes more sense to replace due to age and condition.

He gave us a rough estimate to replace for about $3500 and said they even tend to have sales in early spring if we waited.
However, my question is if this is something we could replace on our own? My husband is an engineer in construction and has basic electrical and plumbing knowledge. But I’m not sure if him doing it even saves us that much money and/or if this is too complicated of an issue and should be left to the pros.
 

PoolBrews

Well-known member
Oct 16, 2019
259
The Villages, Florida
On my first pool I had to replace the heater after 15 years. It was a 400K gas heater. I could either get a new one and install it myself for $1,800, or pay the pool company $3,200 to install. I did it myself in a day. It was pretty easy. But then again, I like to think of myself as pretty handy. Gas and electric are pretty easy as long as you use common sense and look up local code rules.

The hardest part is getting the heater to the pad and placed properly. I had 4 strong buddies and a cart to help with that! Looking at my heat pump I have now, not sure if I would try that - it's BIG and HEAVY (320lbs for the Hayward vs 200lbs for a gas heater).
 

BabsNMK

Well-known member
May 19, 2018
60
Cranbury, NJ
On my first pool I had to replace the heater after 15 years. It was a 400K gas heater. I could either get a new one and install it myself for $1,800, or pay the pool company $3,200 to install. I did it myself in a day. It was pretty easy. But then again, I like to think of myself as pretty handy. Gas and electric are pretty easy as long as you use common sense and look up local code rules.

The hardest part is getting the heater to the pad and placed properly. I had 4 strong buddies and a cart to help with that! Looking at my heat pump I have now, not sure if I would try that - it's BIG and HEAVY (320lbs for the Hayward vs 200lbs for a gas heater).

I didn’t even consider the weight of it. But I’m glad to know that installing on your own worked. Did you still have an applicable warranty?
 

markayash

Gold Supporter
Mar 21, 2016
2,696
Atlanta Ga
I also installed mine, was a Hayward I bought off amazon. I did have a problem with the board and Hayward said probably covered but a service call was $100. I just paid $100 for the part and replaced it myself.
Yea they are heavy but you can pay extra ( or tip driver ) to put it near the pad
 
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sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,948
Chapel Hill, NC
Five considerations for self install:

1. Physically locating the new heater and removing the old one. A dolly makes this much easier.
2. Water plumbing - fairly easy. If you can't so this, don't attempt a self install.
3. Electrical hookup - I don't think there are any millivolt heaters still made so you'll need an electrical hookup if you don't already have one..
4. Gas hookup
5. Bonding

2-5 are made really easy if you can get the identical heater you are removing, although if it's that old, I don't think it will still be available. I replaced my own millivolt heater about 5 years ago (the old one was 20 years old) with the identical heater and it was a pretty trivial install - did it myself in a morning. The local pool companies wanted $3200 to replace it - I paid $1200 from one of the larger online pool stores.
 

BabsNMK

Well-known member
May 19, 2018
60
Cranbury, NJ
Five considerations for self install:

1. Physically locating the new heater and removing the old one. A dolly makes this much easier.
2. Water plumbing - fairly easy. If you can't so this, don't attempt a self install.
3. Electrical hookup - I don't think there are any millivolt heaters still made so you'll need an electrical hookup if you don't already have one..
4. Gas hookup
5. Bonding

2-5 are made really easy if you can get the identical heater you are removing, although if it's that old, I don't think it will still be available. I replaced my own millivolt heater about 5 years ago (the old one was 20 years old) with the identical heater and it was a pretty trivial install - did it myself in a morning. The local pool companies wanted $3200 to replace it - I paid $1200 from one of the larger online pool stores.
This is very good info thank you! If I can save $2k it’s worth it.
 
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BabsNMK

Well-known member
May 19, 2018
60
Cranbury, NJ
I just looked and we have the Hayward H which I guess would be a fairly simple swap with the newer model. I'll have to have my husband look at all the specs in terms of what he would need to do. There is something wonky with some of the plumbing so he may want to adjust that too thank you!
 
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Chasarms

Silver Supporter
May 8, 2020
347
Dardenne Prairie, MO
Oh wait one more question! Will the SWG impact the heater? Does it cause more corrosion or does having a SWG require a different heater?
Typical practice is to place the SWCG after the heater and last in the return so that you aren't pumping chlorine concentrated water through the heater core or allowing that water to stand in the heater core when the pump turns off.
 
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BabsNMK

Well-known member
May 19, 2018
60
Cranbury, NJ
Typical practice is to place the SWCG after the heater and last in the return so that you aren't pumping chlorine concentrated water through the heater core or allowing that water to stand in the heater core when the pump turns off.
That's where it is now so I that case I guess that's the most we can do to minimize impact. Thanks!
 

markayash

Gold Supporter
Mar 21, 2016
2,696
Atlanta Ga
I just looked and we have the Hayward H which I guess would be a fairly simple swap with the newer model. I'll have to have my husband look at all the specs in terms of what he would need to do. There is something wonky with some of the plumbing so he may want to adjust that too thank you!
If you have the H series I would "assume" a newer model would be a simple swap but don't know for sure..My hayward had the touch panel board fail in the first few months but been solid since.
Not sure I would buy another one, read some good thing about raypack heaters on this forum
 
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setsailsoon

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
3,651
Stuart/FL
Pool Size
12800
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-30 Plus
I did mine about 6 years ago. Piece of cake for somebody handy. Are you just controlling locally or do you have any kind of automation. So long as your husband is competent with 240vac power and hooking up a gas line (do bubble test with real bubble test fluid) this is a pretty reasonable job. A good dolly definitely helps as well. Let us know if you have any problems or questions.

Chris
 

BabsNMK

Well-known member
May 19, 2018
60
Cranbury, NJ
I did mine about 6 years ago. Piece of cake for somebody handy. Are you just controlling locally or do you have any kind of automation. So long as your husband is competent with 240vac power and hooking up a gas line (do bubble test with real bubble test fluid) this is a pretty reasonable job. A good dolly definitely helps as well. Let us know if you have any problems or questions.

Chris
Controlling locally. He’s totally confident in those areas. I think now it’s just a matter of us deciding which machine to purchase and to find the day to install. A lot of suppliers I’ve looked at seem to be low on stock.
 

PoolBrews

Well-known member
Oct 16, 2019
259
The Villages, Florida
I found mine online - it was the cheapest price, delivery was free, and the delivery guys placed is near the pad for me. I still need buddies to put it in place when I was ready. With regards to warranty, I received the full 3 year standard warranty. There are some companies that state they won't honor a warranty if self installed - when I see that, I find another company.
 
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setsailsoon

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
3,651
Stuart/FL
Pool Size
12800
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-30 Plus
Controlling locally. He’s totally confident in those areas. I think now it’s just a matter of us deciding which machine to purchase and to find the day to install. A lot of suppliers I’ve looked at seem to be low on stock.
I did the same thing as Poolbrews. Checked online for best price and warranty. Jandy eliminates all warranty for DIY or self install. There is very little difference between different brands of similar model quality. You have a couple of choices on materials of construction and efficiency so be sure you're comparing "apples to apples". Raypak has a good reputation here and I will say I prefer Pentair. If you maintain good water balance my personal opinion is that the higher alloy materials are not worth paying for. Likewise the super high-efficiency units don't pay off at my gas price and usage. All units have to meet the current energy standard which is minimum of 83% and that's actually pretty good. Lastly, even if you automate in the future you can run any brand heater using any brand automation.

I hope this helps.

Chris
 
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tstex

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2012
1,868
Houston, TX
If you have the same or near heater type, this should be an easy install.

Make sure there are Unions at the in and outbound plumbing lines of the heater. If not, then now is a good time to install them.

Next, do you have a check-valve btw the SWG and the heater? if not, then a Jandy ck-valve is something you should highly consider.

Finally, if your husband knows a reliable plumber, he could pay him to come inspect the job and certify if all specifications are met and all testing passes. This overcomes the DIY barrier of voiding warranty for a pure DIY install. If you can post a pic of your heater from the plumbing side, we can determine if you have unions and/or a ck-valve; just make sure the pic includes up to the SWG - good luck in the Garden State - tstex