Recently we had a customer whose pool boiler failed after just one year. The problem with this one was a failed heat exchanger. While pool boilers (heaters) are a wear item, we do typically expect them to last around ten years. Because this one failed so soon after installation, the manufacturer first looked to the customer care of the product as the cause.
What can you do to prevent an owner caused failure of your pool boiler?
First and foremost, ensure the chemical balance of your pool is kept at steady and correct levels. PH level and total alkalinity must be kept within certain levels. As well, calcium, salt, chorine and total dissolved solids have manufacturers’ specified limits. Excessive chemical imbalance in the water can cause pre-mature corrosion that shows up in the pitting and discoloration of the copper in the heat exchanger. Such imbalance can very quickly cause wears to form pinhole leaks. When the manufacturer accepts the heat exchanger back to test for warranty eligibility this is the first thing they look for – and yes, they can tell.
The second most common cause of failure is freezing. Just like any frozen pipe, as the water freezes, it expands and the copper will expand to the point of bursting causing the unit to fail. A freeze of the pipes in the winter will void your warranty. To avoid this, keep the pump running to circulate the water. Don’t worry about the gas bill; you don’t actually have to heat the pool. In fact the manufactures typically advise against heating to low temperatures as it puts excess demand on the units. As long as it is circulating the water, that is enough to prevent the core from freezing. In our part of the world where we seldom get to -10C, that is usually all you need. If the temperature were to fall below -17C then you will probably need to winterize your unit in accordance with the manufacturers instructions.
Keeping your chemicals constant and your pump running year-round should keep your pool boiler lasting as long as possible. And when it comes time to replace your pool boiler, look to R&B. We supply, install and service pool boilers – year round.