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Why Did My Pool Heater Stop Working?

Published by Brooke Sardella on 10/17/2022

Why Did My Pool Heater Stop Working?

You’ve made a great investment in your pool by purchasing a water heater. Your pool season is extended and is enjoying warm swims well into the off-season. With proper use and maintenance, your heater can last up to 20 years for many swims to come! Pool heaters are designed with the durability to withstand most outdoor elements, but what happens when your heater is not working like it used to? Follow along with us to help diagnose your heater issues - we won’t leave you out in the cold!

Some of the most common issues faced by pool owners are:

The pilot won’t light. The first thing to check is whether the gas is on and that your tank has enough fuel - it's so simple but easy to miss! Also, ensure the thermostat is set to a higher temperature than your water. Next, you can check for any water puddles around the heater that could be dampening the ignition. If both of these causes look fine, you can then check for any clogs or obstructions in the tubing and pilot itself such as debris.

If you hear clicking and sparking sounds, yet there is no ignition, this can point to a number of different complications. In this case, it is best to talk with your local pool technician to find the root cause and repair the issue properly.

The pilot doesn’t stay lit. This can occur if dust has collected in the thermocouple. In many cases, you can clear this away from the sensor and it should solve the issue. If not, you may need to replace the entire pilot assembly itself.

The water is not warm enough. Check your thermostat first to make sure it is set high enough! If it is, your pool may not be reaching the desired temperature because the air temperature is too low for your water to retain heat. You can try covering the pool with a solar heating cover to prevent heat loss. More complex causes could be that your heater is too small for your pool volume, you are running out of fuel, or the temperature sensor within the heater is malfunctioning.

Heater turning on and off. Check that the chemistry of your pool water is balanced, as this can cause the heater to malfunction. A dirty and clogged filter can also hinder the heater from the regular operation. You should also Inspect the heater for any signs of damage including corrosion, rust, etc. The heater turning on and off can also be a sign of bad electrical connections, which can be dangerous, especially around water.

If your heaters issues seem to go beyond simple fixes and require the replacement of major components like vales and exchangers, purchasing a new heating unit could be the best move in terms of time and money saved. You can always reach out to us to make sure you are purchasing the correct size heater for your pool, as well as any parts if you go the repair route.

To prevent damage in the future and maintain the longevity of your heater. Follow our Pro Tips for Heater Care:

  • Only cover your heater in the off-season when not in use, otherwise, moisture will be trapped.
  • Prune foliage around the unit to limit debris.
  • Use rodent deterrents during the off-season to keep away damage-causing pests.
  • Sweep under the burner tray and remove debris from the heat exchanger.