Upgrade in heater needed as going to larger pool


Active member
Apr 4, 2015
Western, WA

I'm moving up from a 6,000 gallon above ground pool to a ~15,000 gallon above ground pool this spring. My old Laars 250kbtu natural gas heater is still working but is old enough I'd just as soon start of with a new heater with this new pool.

I've been mainly looking at two brands of heaters: Hayward and Raypak. The Hayward has a forced draft fan and the cupro-nickel exchanger where as I believe the Raypak does not have either. They seem similarly priced. What brand would you recommend and why? I'm after reliability here. I've heard good and bad about both of these heaters.

Hayward: H250FDN https://www.poolsupplyunlimited.com/hayward-h250fdn-h-series-pool-andamp;-spa-heater/44594p1 $1,466.
RayPak: P-R266A-EN-C https://www.poolsupplyunlimited.com/raypak-009217-pool-heater/86507p1 $1,413

Also, I was thinking of sticking with the 250kbtu/hr size because I know my gas piping can handle that volume. I have roughly a 50' run of 1" pipe from the gas meter feeding the pool heater. However a larger heater being able to heat the pool quicker would be a nice option. Is a 250kbtu/hr heater on the small side for a 26' x 54" above ground pool?



Gold Supporter
Sep 8, 2016
I really like my Raypak. You can get Raypak with c-n, but I would not bother. Now that you are here on TFP, you can make sure you have slightly negative CSI, and so you won't corrode, and you won't deposit. It will last a very long time.

Get as large a heater as you can stand--BTUs are BTUs, but a larger heater gets you there more quickly. Make sure you have a large enough gas line to support it.

My pool is nearly 2x yours, but is in ground. I don't know if that makes it harder to heat [gotta heat up the ground], or easier [insulated from wind]. I have a 336, and I wish I had a 406, but the 336 works great. So it would seem a 250 would be similar to me having a 500 which would be nice, but overkill for me. If you can find out if an AG is harder/easier to heat than an IG, you will have your answer.


LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
Pacific NW
I too had a laars lite2 250k btu heater for my 13,000 gallon pool and it worked well last summer.
Heating about 1.25 degrees per hour. I ran the figures and it cost about $ 30 in natural gas each
month from june to august.

Now this laars was quite old and I knew when i bought the place I'd be replacing it.
The consensus of the forum is that Raypak is the way to go. There are less components
to it and thus easier and less costly when a repair call comes up.

I had not drained the heat exchanger in time over a super freezing 2 weeks last january
so it busted and would have cost more than a new Raypak (same one you listed) so the
new one was installed a month ago. I know they say here that bigger is always better
and thats probably correct, but the installer did say he thought a 400k btu for this size of pool was overkill.

The Raypak is much newer and is 16,000 btu more, so I'm sure it will do a good job
this season, better than the old one.

Pool Clown

In The Industry
Sep 5, 2008
Silicon Valley, CA
Go with Raypak... Period.

You are pretty much limited to a 266K with that size pipe and run length.

Note: If you were willing to go up to 1 1/4" pipe (@ 50'), you could have any size RESIDENTIAL (up to 407K) heater you liked.
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