Replacing an Existing Spa Heater – Horror Stories

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It must be time to start our own horror file just in time for Halloween.

We were replacing an existing spa heater. This particular job is not one of our usual service accounts and was quite a long distance form our regular area. Since we have a good working relationship with this management company, we arranged to come out for the job. We provide various repairs on their properties where the onsite staff maintains the pools and spas.

Some pool service companies shy away from this type of business relationship, but we have always decided to take on this work. First and most important, if we decide not to perform the work then they will find someone that can. Business relationships and new accounts can take time to develop and we would rather keep the work/money flowing. It can lead to many additional repairs and opportunities. Over 35+ years I have lost count of the number of times that I have been called to a property and the person has previously worked for a different Management company or different property. It’s a small world out there,

This particular install was performed by the onsite staff. We arrived to find a very small indoor equipment room with a spa heater in the back corner. We often decide to remove much of the heater in place to break it down for a couple of reasons:

  • This particular area was very tight and removing the top, fire walls and tube bundle makes it easier to lift the heater over the existing pool heater and other equipment.
  • The photos will show the onsite staff had installed the heater without an indoor draft hood. They had taped the 8″ vent to the stack adaptor. They must have purchased the indoor draft hood or part of it anyway but they didn’t use it. Not installing the draft hood created improper combustion, the corrosion created by the corroding vent tubing will fall directly onto the tube bundle. Over time the heater will start to soot and get hot spots on the tube bundle. This will lead to early failure of the heater.


You will also notice they had installed the vent on a reverse slope (Code is 1/4″ up slope per ft.) We purchased the new heater and a new indoor draft hood with 8″ vent tubing. We completed the install with earthquake hold down straps, mounted it to the floor and #8 bond wire.

Do the job to the best of your ability and meet the professional code for the install.  At the end of the day this is a much safer facility than it was when we arrived.

Larry Walters Pool Service