A beautiful shot of steam coming off of a heated pool.

Heating your pool is a luxury, but a very nice luxury to have. Whether you choose to use electricity or gas to heat your water, issues are bound to pop up. In this article, you’ll read about the different types of pool heaters, some common problems that arise, and straightforward steps to help you fire up your heater and warm up your pool.

 Gas Heaters

A diagram of the pentair mastertemp.
(2019). Pentair MasterTemp. Chainsaw Journal. https://www.chainsawjournal.com/pentair-mastertemp-400-460736-review/

Gas heaters are powered by natural gas or propane and are the most versatile type of heater on the market. Even if outdoor temperatures fall below 50 degrees, a gas heater can help your pool stay at a comfortable temperature for most of the year. Find out how to keep your gas heater running smoothly with these answers to common issues.

“It Won’t Turn On!”

Before you get too concerned about your heater malfunctioning, there are a few basics to check:

  1.  Check the thermostat. If the water temperature is already warmer than the temperature at which your thermostat is set it won’t turn on.
  2. Make sure the power switch is in the ON position. Maybe it was you, or the “pool guy”, or a mischievous neighbor kid, but if the switch is in the OFF position “it ain’t gonna run”.
  3. Check the gas line. Make sure that your heater’s gas connections are tight and that the valve is in the open position. You can also double-check the meter to be sure that gas is flowing properly through the system.
  4. Make sure your heater has enough water flowing to it. This is by far the most common reason for pool heaters underperforming. Clean the filter, empty the pump baskets, or add water to your pool to ensure your entire system has properly flowing water.
  5. When it’s getting cooler outside, some critters start looking for a warm place to bead down. Make sure that your heater hasn’t become a home for mice or rats. A rodent nest can quickly interfere with your heater’s normal operations and leave your pool just as cool as the chilly outdoors.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps function like a refrigerator – only in reverse. A refrigerant, (usually freon), inside the heat pump is compressed in order to heat it. Next, cool water from your pool is pumped into the unit where it absorbs heat from the compressed refrigerant. Once the water has been warmed, it is returned to your pool while the refrigerant is allowed to cool before being compressed again. Here are some common concerns with heat pumps and how to address them.

Leaks or Drips?

A diagram of a pool heater.
(2018). RECPOOLSANDMORE.https://www.recpoolsspasandmore.com/how-heat-pumps-work.html

When you notice water pooling under your heat pump, don’t panic. There is a very good chance that the dripping you noticed is merely condensation  – a natural byproduct of a heat pump doing its job.  Of course, it’s possible that your unit does have a leak. Here are two ways to check:

  1. Turn off your heater but continue to let water circulate through the heat pump. If the dripping persists after a few minutes, you may have a leak.
  2. Use a chlorine test strip to test the puddle. If the test returns a positive for chlorine, it’s time to find the leak.

Ice on the Exterior

No invention is perfect and heat pumps are limited in their effectiveness by outside temperatures. If the outside temperature falls below 50 degrees, your heat pump evaporator coils may start to ice over. Your heat pump requires an interior temperature of roughly 15 degrees cooler than the air temperature in order to run efficiently. That means if it’s cooler than 50 degrees outside, your heat pump’s interior temperature is close to freezing. An iced-over evaporator coil means less air-flow and more work for your heat pump. To avoid this issue, you’ll need a unit with a built-in hot gas defrost, or you’ll just have to wait for warmer weather.

Cold Weather Cleaning

A heated pool with steam coming off the water.
(2018). griffisgas.com. http://griffisgas.com/post/the-benefits-of-heating-your-pool-with-propane

To keep your heat pump running smoothly, periodically clean the evaporator coils. This will allow for proper air-flow through your unit. Simply turn the unit off and hose down the exterior to remove dust, leaves, or other debris.

When the weather is chilly, having an effective way to heat your pool water is a wonderful addition to your backyard experience. Now you can better understand, diagnose, and even fix your pool heater to ensure that your pool is comfortable for you and your family. Here’s to a warm pool and an enjoyable weekend, no matter the season!

Howdy Dallas! Don’t let a glitch in your pool heater shutdown your weekend fun. If you need help diagnosing your pool heater problems or if you prefer to have a licensed technician on the job, contact Liquidus Pool Services for help.