Heater Troubles? PLEASE start here...

Old 06-06-08, 01:35 PM
poolspapro's Avatar
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Now retired and in Wisconsin
Posts: 27
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Thumbs up Heater Troubles? PLEASE start here...

The problem you have is so very common amongst any ignition control module installed electronic ignition heater, HSI or pilot. .

If the module doesn’t “see” the required millivolt feeding back up the high tension lead (wire that runs to “HSI” hot surface igniter or separate sensing rod) Its simply won’t remain Lit. It tells the module that you have flame in the firebox and to keep the gas valve open. If it doesn’t sense this, it turns off the gas valve so you won’t have a Heater full of LP or Natural with nowhere to go but take your eyebrows and leg hair clean off if it gets fooled into thinking it has flame! Safety first People!!! Most Homeowners have a right to work on them if they wish, but if you are even slightly optimistic.. call your local service professional!!

There are many things that can cause what is described as “cycling” but when it appears to be caused by non rectification there are a few things to look into. Gas Pressure, Gas Volume, the first two need to be checked by your gas company to make sure you have rated IWC “inches of water column” appropriate for your heater and finally the most common problem with a heater over 2yrs old or more … TADA!!! Debris/ Corrosion.

If you won’t be having an issue with destroying your warranty by attempting your own servicing, read on..

Only If you are comfortable with Gas appliances and know how to remove power (breaker) from the heater should you continue… Please there is no reason you can’t save a buck on a “service” cleaning and still be Alive and well.

First turn off the Electrical to your heater and shut off the gas to the heater (If you have two shut-offs turn them both off.

Learn about your specific heater first. Go to the manufacturer’s website and check out any manuals they may aid you in your quest for cleaning.

Follow the information in removing the burn tray as a complete unit. Now it’s time to get dirty.. check the orifices and inside the burners for rust, cob webs and other debris. (this is not a white glove job) use things such as wire brushes, bread ties (for orifices) and a high power vacuum to pull the junk out that you will find everywhere when you have it open this far. If you have a good air compressor blow those burners out. If you remove all the burners (suggested) please take a picture or mark them before disassembling them. Shake the burners to make sure they are free of debris and set aside those for reassembly. If your unit has a ceramic hot surface igniter.. be very careful not to touch or disturb it.. You will be disappointed I assure you!

Check to be sure all the electrical connections to the burn tray assembly are corrosion free, and clean/ replace while you are at this point. Any blockage or corrosion will hinder your heater lighting and staying that way.

Got it broke down to this point .. Now what??
Well if you have ever had a problem with blowing the fusible links (which is normal when heater running in wind gusts) but also notice stickers, heater plastics, melted/ deformed and the definite sign of soot (black) anywhere on your heater its time to step it to the next maintenance level… CLEANING the heat exchanger. With the burn tray and heater open to this point it seems ridiculous to skip this step. You will discover after removing the top and any Flue assembly and heat diverters, that you will find a plethora of debris either on top or clinging to your pretty Copper Finned tube bundle. Do not be concerned with any formed “wires running across and holding down the baffles.. they are only there for shipping and can be discarded! The wires NOT the BAFFLES! There are a few products to help you clean up corrosion, but really aren’t necessary as most of the Green/Blue junk can be removed with just a good strong hose spray. For stubborn corrosion a simple spray with oven cleaner and a good hose off will remove most. This isn’t as critical as it needs to be. You just want as much of your valuable gas heat to penetrate the copper, Right??

When it’s all clean and dry you can put it all back together??? Well you can.. but if your as anal is this service guy I would replace/ clean up and wiring terminals that are in your eyesight. Never hurt’s to do some preventive maintenance does it? Inspect your safety switches for leaks and corrosion DO NOT BYPASS THESE SWITCHES!!! They are there to prevent Bodily and Property Damage!!
Well that’s about it.. you can take pride in the fact you cleaned it yourself, prolonged the reliably of your heater and saved some $$$ and did it yourself.

Few crib notes for any pool equipment owner… If you don’t have gutters and it pours off your roof into or onto any of your equipment.. FIX it, a simple diverter or gutter will prolong the life of any outdoor appliances! Sprinkler hitting it? Adjust them, Very bad when a slight blown mist destroys your expensive electronic controls. Keep shrubs and leaves away from your heater. And for the love of (insert your higher power here) Never attempt something without knowing more than “ I have A……” product. If In doubt.. DON'T TOUCH IT!

(If you preform all this and still doesn't preform.. call your local service man.. and please trim any shrubs so he has clear access!!

Last edited by todrut; 06-06-08 at 02:59 PM.
Old 06-06-08, 03:01 PM
todrut's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 1,068
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Thanks to poolspapro for writing it out, This is a great troubleshooting thread. If you have question please post under a new thread.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: