Yesterday the heater seemed to be lacking in output… and who wants to swim in frigid 79 degree water?
I decided to look at the heat exchanger this morning to get a glimpse at how well the unit is weathering the outdoors.
While the design is “ok” it could use some improvements. It seems that rain routinely falls directly on the vent and a plate has been put in place to keep water and debris from falling directly into the heater. However some sort of runoff channel would be an improvement as the plate is already quickly corroding / rusting.
Pulling off the top cover to fully expose the heat exchanger we see some elements of copper aging / corroding.
I vacuumed with a soft brush tip on my shop vac getting rid of any loose particles. Will have to see if there are any non corrosive protective spray cleaners available.
To further note: this heater seems to have all sorts of ways for water to enter and destroy the internals. While Hayward says they have ruggedized the control/display box, there are all sorts of opportunities for water to flow in and wreck the main control board and power supply. I went ahead and sealed the surface between the display box and heater exterior with “LEXEL Clear.” This is a low price to pay for no problems with water inside the control / electronics side of the unit.
Another thought. Pool heaters clearly don’t last forever. Probably advisable to put a union on any hard gas pipes near the heater so you can replace the unit without a lot of difficulty.
Link to in depth discussion of pipe unions. http://www.pipingstudy.com/union.html