Pool Heater Talk #LIVE

This live podcast episode is all about pool heater talk. We cover gas pool heaters and pool heat pumps, explaining how they work and common issues.

Pool heat pumps work a lot like air conditioners, but they have heat exchangers that help transfer their heat to the water. Instead of having a typical condenser, a pool heater has a unit that works like a heat pump's outdoor coil in heat mode. There is usually an option to cool the water, but there are almost no cases where someone would want to use that mode.

The heat exchanger is the core component of a pool heater, and this part has evolved a lot to improve efficiency and reduce the effects of water chemistry. The old designs were cupronickel tube-in-tube heat exchangers where the refrigerant and water flow in opposite directions. Unfortunately, these corroded and failed easily. Titanium coaxial heat exchangers replaced those, though they can still fail. If heat exchangers fail, water can get into the refrigerant circuit; when that happens, the whole heat pump will fail prematurely. Actuators are also components that commonly cause issues.

Gas pool heaters work similarly to gas furnaces, so they tend to work better than heat pumps in low-ambient conditions. However, they have their own set of challenges. They have very short lifespans in Florida and corrode easily because steel, heat, chlorine, and water all interact in the same area. Inducer fans especially tend to rust out easily.

We also discuss:

  • Manufacturer quality control
  • Hooking up gauges
  • Water level and flow
  • Low ambient conditions
  • BTUs
  • Float switches
  • Internal thermal overload
  • Heat and water pressure losses
  • Temperature sensor issues on pool heat pumps
  • Pool vs. spa mode
  • Special considerations for indoor pools
  • Flame rollout
  • Cleanliness issues
  • Double-lugging
  • Circuit breaker failure
  • Piping configuration and valves

Learn more about Refrigeration Technologies HERE.

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