Pool heaters are an essential part of your swimming pool. They make the pool water reach comfortable temperatures that even kids and the elderly can enjoy taking a dip in your pool during the cold days. Having a pool heater also helps you extend pool season and potentially protect your swimming pool from winter damage. With all its perks and benefits, it’s surprising that pool heaters are often one of the most overlooked components of your swimming pool equipment system. So what happens when the heater breaks down or stops working?

Enter Pool Heater Repair

Pool heater repair is often carried out by trained professionals, like our technicians here at Central OC Pools. We’re backed by a team of expert individuals that have years of practical experience who can help you diagnose and can carry out repairs on various types of pool heaters. But before you pick up that phone, we’d want you to know that there are some things you can do to potentially point your finger at what could be causing the issue. Interested to know what they are?

Let’s start with the basics.

1. Check the Manual

Pool heaters often come with a user manual or an owner’s manual that can help you with diagnosing the problem. While not all manuals contain common issues and basic troubleshooting tips, all of them will show you the location of each part and how it functions. This will help you understand how the pool heater works and possibly get an idea of what’s wrong with it.

2. Google It

It’s no coincidence Google brought you to this page. This means you’re on the right path and you know that you’re not the only one having the same problem. Like this blog, there are a lot of online references, like YouTube videos and other how-to pages, to the possible issue you and your pool heater might be facing. Never underestimate the power of good research.

3. Look Up Error Codes

Some pool heaters are actually designed and engineered to tell its owners what the problem is. With the user manual and the power of the internet on your side, look up what these error codes mean and what possible step can be done to resolve the issue. Most pool heater problems are easy to solve while others would call for an appointment.

If you’re still scratching your head, here are a few specific pool heater problems (and some possible fixes) pool owners encounter.

1. Pool Heater Won’t Ignite

In some cases, your pool heater will fail to ignite, it won’t turn on or in some cases, it does but it won’t stay on. Here are a few reasons why it could happen.

  • Heater isn’t turned on and the temperature isn’t set properly.
  • Clogged or broken filter.
  • Pilot light isn’t lit.
  • Gas supply valve is off.
  • Filter valve isn’t open.

Here are a few tips on what to do when this happens.

First, if your heater is not turned on and the temperature is not set correctly, you need to set the heater’s thermostat high enough. This will help the heater kick in. This usually happens because the heater’s temperature is lower than the pool water’s temperature. Cranking the temperature level up will usually do the trick.

Next are clogged and broken filters. A dirty filter can result in low pressure and when the pressure leaving the pool heater is low, the pressure switch can turn the heater off. All you need to do is to check the pump and the filter, clean it, and then power the heater back on. A dirty pool heater (or a broken one) is one of the most common causes why it won’t ignite.

Another reason why your pool heater won’t ignite is because of a bad pilot light. Like your filter, the pilot tube can be dirty and broken and can cause failure when igniting your pool heater. Make sure to check the venting in your heater as well as the air supply and the gas pressure. Moreover, make sure that the pilot tube is intact and is not clogged.

Often overlooked, one reason why your pool heater won’t ignite is because the valve for the gas supply is off. For obvious reasons, the pool heater won’t work because there is no gas feeding the heater. Just flip the valve on and check if your pool heater will work.

Lastly, check the valves. A constant flow of water will help the pool heater work properly.

2. Inadequate or Low Flow

As we’ve briefly covered above, a constant flow of water is imperative to ensure proper pool heater operation. A consistent flow of water is necessary to keep your pool heater working at its peak. Pool heaters are outfitted with pressure sensors coupled with an internal bypass. In most cases, they won’t even turn on until they get the right amount of pressure. That said, apart from inadequate heating, poor water circulation can prevent the heater from powering on.

Here’s what to do.

Check your pool filter or your pump basket and make sure all valves are open to make sure your pool water circulates properly. Empty the baskets or clean the pump filter if necessary. You may also want to check if you’ve got a lot of water features running at the same time. Check for deck jets and similar features that can cause a drastic reduction to your water flow. Close the water features until the pool heaters reach your desired temperature level.

Not only is proper water circulation beneficial for your pool heater but it will also be good for water filtration and sanitation.

3. Pool Heater Turns On and Off

Usually referred to as cycling, your pool heater can turn on and off. It could be an indication of a more serious issue, usually electrical related. While it isn’t always the case, the power supply is usually the cause.

Poor water chemistry is also another reason why your pool heater experiences inconsistent cycles. Bad water chemistry can cause corrosion and may damage the internal components of your pool heater as well as your pool pump. That’s why most pool professionals like us, at Central OC Pools, pay attention to water chemistry. Apart from pool heater repair, our services include weekly cleaning solutions which comes with professional quality chemical balance testing and adjustment.

Since corrosion is one of the main reasons why your pool heater cycles, you can check for components that might have been damaged by rust, scaling, or oxidation. These components include pressure sensors, thermal regulators, and high limit switches. These parts can be cleaned or if needed, replaced.

4. Pool Heater is Not Heating or Offers Inadequate Heating

In some occasions, your pool heater ignites but will fail to heat. This is usually caused by a bad temperature sensor or maybe a bad thermostat setting. Here are a few things you might want to look at when this happens.

  • Proper water level.
  • Proper power delivery.
  • Proper temperature level.

If you’re seeing the pattern, improper water circulation can cause a variety of problems. Make sure to clean the skimmer baskets and check your pool pump. Also, make sure to check if your heater gets the right amount of power and that the temperature setting is higher than the temperature of the pool water. If you find that it meets all three requirements, chances are, the pool water is too cold for your heater to heat. Another factor is that the size of your pool might not be compatible with the capacity pool heater. Too large of a pool paired with a small heater will not only cause inadequate heating or no heat at all, but also cause the heater to work hard. In which case, it can cause the components of the pool heater and the pool pump to break down sooner than its expected lifespan. Make sure to use an appropriately sized pool heater on your pool.

5. Unusual Noise

Your pool heater can make unusual noises. This usually means that there’s a faulty pressure switch, loose parts, or blockages. In most cases, you should be able to find the source of the noise. Look at the manual to check for any pool heater parts that can get loose and check if it can be tightened.

If any of these tips aren’t helpful to you or if you’re simply unsure about what to do about your pool heater, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your local pool professional. Contact us at Central OC Pools to find out how our services can help you diagnose and repair your pool heater. We’ve been in the business for almost two decades and our technicians are licensed and learned in pool heaters of various makes and models. We’ve worked on different pool heaters including gas pool heaters, electric pool heaters, and solar-powered pool heaters. You name it, we can fix it. We are Central OC Pools.

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