Let me get straight to the point. I don’t have the answer to this question unless I am on site inspecting your pool or spa heater. For example… Here, we were asked to replace a gas fired spa heater for a hotel. Within a few minutes of arriving, I was able to determine the reason for the spa heater failing. This heater was filled with rust from the vent piping above thus blocking the flow of heat and exhaust. The purpose of the vent piping is to allow the exhaust from the heater to expel outside the pool equipment room thru the roof and into the atmosphere. In this case there was no exhaust due to the buildup of rust.
|A pool heater clogged with rust causes many problems including overheating and the possibility of emitting Carbon Monoxide.|
|With the exhaust and heat not allowed to vent the heater has begun to rust and burn up from the inside out.|
|Cracks found in the vent piping spell a much more dangerous situation. The possibility of Deadly Carbon Monoxide gases escaping from the vent pipe into the pump room and maybe further.|
|This would be a rusted out section of pipe riddled with holes. Not acceptable for any installation.|
I don’t have to state the obvious. It’s apparent this pool heater was not well maintained or inspected. Pool heaters have been linked to deaths in hotels. Just last month an executive who managed a Best Western in North Carolina was indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths last year of three hotel guests poisoned by carbon monoxide caused by the swimming pool heater being improperly installed and/or vented. Investigators determined that carbon monoxide from the swimming pool water heater seeped up from a corroded exhaust pipe into a hotel room. On this job, by not completing the installation of this new spa heater until the venting was replaced and inspected, we may have saved someone’s life.
I suggest the following:
- First, install Carbon Monoxide Detectors inside your pool equipment rooms. I would take that a step further and install CO Detectors in all hotel rooms.
- Have maintenance staff inspect the pool heater monthly. Look for any rust or calcium buildup and remove. This will require removing the top of the pool heater and clean the top of the heat exchanger. See the first picture
- Have your gas fired swimming pool and spa heaters inspected annually by a reputable swimming pool company &/or heating and air Professional.
- You can also have your swimming pool and spa gas fired heaters inspected by your local County Health Department &/or Homeland Security Boiler and Pressure Division. If you are located in Indiana you can contact the Boiler Division at 317-232-1921. I suggest you have all your ducks in a row prior to contacting Homeland Security. The boiler division inspectors will not hesitate to shut down your pool & spa if something isn’t right. Contacting us first to provide you with the initial inspection may help save you the frustration of being red tagged. Homeland Security inspectors prefer you have all the issues resolved and are ready for them to hand you your Certificate of Compliance.
A few Indiana boiler and pressure vessel rules you will want to know and follow before calling for an inspection:
- Commercial pool and spa gas fired heaters MUST be ASME Rated.
- If your pool or spa gas fired heater is not ASME Rated it cannot have any valves restricting flow on the inlet or outlet pipes.
- A Pressure Relief Valve must be installed on the outlet header with a drain pipe connected to the valve and run to a safe place to discharge.
These are only a few rules that the Homeland Security inspector will ask you prior to scheduling the inspection.
Please consider having your gas fired heaters inspected regularly. We ask again.. Is Your Commercial Pool Heater Safe?