Water everywhere from the heater unions

moore887

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Aug 14, 2018
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A lady up the street from me bought a house in April but decided to open the valves to her Fibropool heat pump today for the first time. Both the in and the our unions to the heater sprayed water everywhere when she turned the pump on.

When I got there, unscrewed both unions and found what looks to be a very soft green gasket in each of the unions. She has an a/c repair company coming out next week to look at it.

Has anyone ever seen unions like this before?
 

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sktn77a

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May 16, 2010
1,421
Chapel Hill, NC
Looks like a compression ferrule you see on copper water pipe installations. I doubt a residential AC company will be able to fix it without access to the specific parts. I couldn't find anything on Google for this heat pump so I'm guessing you'll need an authorized dealer/installer.
 

moore887

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Thanks for the reply Keith. The company that are coming out do pool heater repair. I'm sure they would have more of an idea than I would. I'm thinking should I email them with the photos and information that I have so they don't get caught on the back foot and have to charge for a second visit. There's the photo of the water coming out of it. I did call the manufacturer and left a voicemail.Annotation 2019-10-25 145413.jpg
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,172
NY
Are you any good with plumbing ? It’s a super easy fix to swap the compression fitting for an actual union and then glue it to the original pipe. Just cut, add and glue.

**edit**. As long as you can verify a union will work. The existing threads on the heater may be some weirdo proprietary nonesense so you have to use their specific stuff. If so you can buy a new green piece and that will probably fix it.
 

jimmythegreek

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Those are ferrules as posted by sktn77a. They slide over the pvc and apply the seal. When u install them leave a hair of PVC exposed after sliding ferrule on. Basically bury PVC stub as deep as you can then but the compression nut over and on
 

moore887

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Would those ferrules have to be replaced at this stage? I don't think they are making a good enough seal but they don't look worn. I haven't seen any replacement ones online. I was hand tightening those unions too since I read hand tightening was recommended for salt cells.

I went through a lot of Amazon comments in an effort to learn more about the heater and one or two people had messed up the flow sensor by putting the pvc pipe in too far.

As far as the pipes being "wonky' I think there is some play there. There's no resistsnce when I have the green gasket on the end of of the pipe and go to insert it into the heater.

I suppose, my main concern is that the pool heater repair people could come out and say that it's all proprietary junk and try to sell a new heater. I don't think it's an option as a traditional heater on that pad will block the bedroom window.
 

JamesW

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Mar 2, 2011
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The green ring is a compression ring, which means that it needs to be compressed, which means that it needs to be hitting something front and back to squeeze it.

If the pipe is not deep enough, it's not going to work. The ring needs to hit the internal stop.

Do you see a pressure switch or flow switch that is in the inlet that will be hit by the pipe?
 

moore887

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That is interesting James. The impression I got was that the green ring was going to fall into the heater if I pushed it all the way in. I think on the Amazon reviews (which I only read yesterday after I left the pool) was that someone had pushed the 1.5 inch pipe so far in that it hit the flow switch. I am due to clean that pool on Monday (a day before the heater repair co calls out) so I will look at how far I can put the compression ring in.
 

proavia

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Feb 6, 2015
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Chandler AZ
Looking at your first picture, see the blue lines on the inlet and outlet pipes? Those are from the collars (nuts) when they are fully tightened.Those should be just under the union collar (nut) when the collars are hand tight. I would suggest you move the heater slightly so you can see into the inlet/outlet fittings. Look for a flow switch or other obstructions and see how far you can insert the pipes. If you happen to have a short piece of 1.5 inch pipe, bring it with you and use it as a test to fit the ferrule and collar (nut) onto the unit. This will give you a good idea of how far you can insert the pipes - and is easier to manipulate than 2 stationary pipes. There should be an internal stop to prevent inserting the pipes too far. I think you will find that the heater has somehow moved away from the piping causing the leaks.
 
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cfherrman

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May 10, 2017
2,384
Hays, Kansas
If the green rings slide easy on the PVC the rings or the pipe are the wrong size and why it won't seal. My guess it the heater is made for different pipe, see if you can find a manual.

Hand right is correct for compression type fittings, if it don't seal something is wrong and tighting farther just breaks things. Up to 1/8th of a turn past hand right should be ok, but no more.

Stick the ring on the pipe with 1/8-1/4" of pipe sticking out and put into socket, if the ring hits first then that part is fine, if the the pipe bottoms out first something is wrong.

You could go to home Depot or the like and go to the plumbing section and see how those rings slide on the plumbing pipe to see how tight it needs to be.
 

GregInClaremont

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Jun 25, 2017
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Claremont, CA
Zooming in on your photo, the top inlet appears to have a chamfered 45 deg. lip on the inside. It corresponds to what looks like the same edge on the green ring.

The green ring should compress against that edge on the inner pipe on the front end, and the nut likely has it's own identical edge on the back end.

When tightened with the nut, it will compress the green ring and cause it to grow in diameter to make a seal.

The pipe itself may or may not actually bottom out inside, you can verify by looking for a back stop inside the heater inlet/outlet stubs, but the PVC does need to enter the stubs at least past that inner angled edge.

That's my understanding of that design from the picture provided.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
16,589
I suspect that the heater was pushed back to allow it to drain. In my opinion, the pipes are just not in deep enough.

Also, the electric power supply looks sketchy. You should have it redone by an electrician.
 

jimmythegreek

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Aug 10, 2017
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Agree with all the above advice. I recall seeing something like this setup back on the day and there was a rubber seal inside the recess that a ferrule will bottom out against. Take a peek in there and snap a pic if u want and post it. I do think the heater is pushed back as well if the PVC isn't all the way thru the ring it wont seal
 

wogster

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Apr 30, 2018
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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The elephant in the room is why wasn’t this glued in the first place? Compression fittings have no place in pool equipment!
I wouldn't want a glued connection there, if you needed to remove the heater for some reason, you would need to cut the pipe. However a better idea would be a union fitting, this would be the best of both worlds, they allow easy removal, but still don't leak. Depending on the thread in the heater itself, that may be the best solution, swap that for a pair of union fittings, would only be about $20-$25 and solve all the headache.....
 

proavia

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Feb 6, 2015
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Chandler AZ
You’ve clearly never seen a by pass put in with valves. That heater came with unions, someone swapped them out.
The heater actually came with those compression fittings. No one swapped them out. The compression fittings show in the Fibropool pics seen online. Any install manuals available online make no mention of the fittings.

While I would think a heater bypass is beneficial for any heater install, changing out the compression fittings might open a whole new can of worms. This unit is from a chinese manufacturer and probably uses proprietary fittings.

After the OP gets everything lined up and leak free, he may want to consider screwing the heater down to the pad if vibration/movement is an issue.
 
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