Sorry it has been a while since my last post but we've been busy with openings and getting people up and running for the summer season. I wanted to briefly address the importance of water chemistry and how it can affect your swimming pool heaters if not properly maintained.
Many pool heaters both above the ground and in the ground have a main component called a heat exchanger which is where the water goes through and is heated, newer technology has generated Cupro or Titanium exchangers which are less suceptable to problems but still not immune to total lack of water balance and the older heaters were generally made of copper which can be damaged should your pool become an acid bath, by acidic I mean low levels of PH and Alkaline in particular which can errode these exchangers and cause leaks in the pool heater itself or at very early stages emit minerals and metals back into your pool causing discoloration of your liner, face plates and corrosion of other pool equipement. Sometimes you may notice yellow/rusty colors or an actual petina/aquablue and in bad situations purple discoloration which is usually a sign of metals in your pool. There is a chemical that will sequistor the metals out of the pool and remove the stains but that will not solve your pool heater issue should the corroded parts spring a leak in which your choices are to by-pass the pool heater altogether or purchase a new heat exchanger which can be very costly ($500-1500) depending on heater make and size, so diligent care is necessary when testing your water and keeping it balanced.
Just a quick note as we are asked many times how your exchanger could be damaged if you only throw the pool heater on occassionally. Your heater is plumbed directly in with your filter system so if your filter is running, even though you are not using the heater the water is still flowing through the pool heaters parts thus errosion still occurs. Another quick tip with pool heaters is to place your system on a timer with a firemans' switch this will enable the heater to shut off apx 30 min before the filter system shuts down which enables the water in the system to cool down and you are not leaving hot water in the lines, just another safety and maintainence tip for a longer life to your pool equipment.