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Bert teaches the Kalos techs about pool heaters, how they work, and common issues techs can expect to encounter when they service pool heaters.
When testing a pool heater after installation, you want to use it the same way a homeowner or guest would use it. If your controls haven't been set up, nothing will happen, so you need to make sure you turn on the heater the same way that the homeowners or guests do it to make sure it works. Configure the controls in a way that will fit the customer's usage. To do that, read the manual and look for the section about the external control. You'll get a description of the two types of controls: two-wire and three-wire.
We use the two-wire configuration on more advanced external control systems; it has its own thermostat, and the customer sets the temperatures from the external control. The manual should explain the process of setting up the controls in detail.
The three-wire configuration has the heater send a signal and allows that to determine if the heater is in pool mode or spa mode. If the heater receives the signal back, it's in spa mode; if the other terminal receives the signal, then the heater is in pool mode. Programming is required, and you must test these modes.
When servicing a pool heater, think about what a customer interacts with. Make those areas your priority so that the customer can notice your work. Since not all contractors service controllers and
The most common pool heater issue is related to water flow (though temperature sensors and capacitors present problems quite often). In many cases, installing a pool heater with a bypass valve. When the valve is not in use, the water can bypass the heater. However, issues with the bypass can lead to low water pressure. The water pressure switch can usually stop the pool heater whenever it detects a change in pressure due to a flow issue. When dealing with these problems, you need to know the flow direction, basic valve operation, and what to expect when looking at a pool and spa with water flow.
The pool will often have two drains, and the spa will have one. The drains go back to the pump. Water flows straight up the pump and to the filter. To access the pump, take the filter cap off and access the filter. Take the filter off and see how the water runs. If the pool heater works fine, then you likely had a filter problem.
So, the water goes from the bottom of the pool and into the sight glass of the pump. Beyond the pump, you have the heater. Out of the heater, the water will go to the bypass valve or another protective component before the chlorinator. Then, there is a three-way valve that goes into the ground and feeds the jets of the spa or pool through valves. There are both return and supply valves. Supply valves supply the pump (like the return in A/C), and return valves supply the pool jets with water (like the supply in the A/C).
Pools also have a skimmer, which draws debris from the very top of the water. If the water level goes down, the skimmer will only draw air, which also indicates an issue. Very rarely will you turn a dial to fix the issue, but this is one of those cases.
You can also see wire issues in the controls that have been poorly installed or misused. These issues include broken wire connections (overtightened) or torn-up wires between the heater and the control system. Don't stop yourself short of fixing a problem area for the customer just because your company may not specialize in controls; these types of controls issues are easy to fix.
Read all the tech tips, take the quizzes, and find our handy calculators at
Learn more about the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at

We're going to talk about pool heaters and common common things you're going to run into. Hopefully this will be helpful for servicing pool heaters so um first thing we got a lot of maintenances that are going to be coming up with pool heaters properly, mostly property managers. Few homeowners actually ask us to come out and do maintenance on their heaters, but property managers they need that maintenance done in their pool here, because people are paying money. Even extra they'll pay an extra fee to have a pool heater working when they come in here.

On vacation and so there's a lot of expectation about that, actually working and the guests being able to use it, so you guys are pretty good with knowing how to do a maintenance. But i just want to point out the most important thing is when you are testing your pool heater, that you need to test it the same way that a guest is actually going to use it so a guest or a homeowner. How? How do they turn it? On how do they expect to turn it on and expect to use it? So the same thing goes: when you're installing a pool heater, you install your pool heater, the job could be done perfectly. It could look great, but the controls aren't set up and if your controls aren't set up, then like the guest checking in later or the homeowner is going to go to try to test it and just feel like nothing's working like i try to turn it on Nothing's happening so you install a pool, heater or you're doing a maintenance once you've finished that install or you start your maintenance go to the controls.

Don't just go straight to the heater go to the controls. Turn it on find out. How do they turn on their heater turn it on? It could be a dial like sam said in the pool. It could be a wi-fi control that they have somewhere in the house and in that situation, you're going to have a bigger control panel outside you'll see a little wi-fi antenna sticking off the side of that panel.

So then, you need to find out who's home, hey where's, the control that you use to turn on the pool heater. If it's a homeowner, just ask him to do it. How do you turn it on? I want to make sure that i set this up right and it's actually working the other situation that you have to do that is is when you've been. You know you've a board's been quoted and you've been assigned to come back and install the board in this pool here well from the factory that board's not going to be set up for whatever controls were there right, so you put the new board in you turn Your heater on spa heat set the temperature everything's running great yay and leave meanwhile guests in the home, can't turn it on and off from the controls.

So that happened a lot. Last year there was a lot of people like doing pool heaters that had not done pool heaters before and doing boards and things like that and leaving equipment either installed or when we did a repair not actually set up. So, in order to do that, you're going to need to go into a manual actually look up controls external control in the manual for that heater it'll, give you a description of two types of control. Does anybody know the two different types of controls that a heater can have two wire three wire yep they're called two wire or three wire? So what would be the two wire nope? So the two wire is usually when they have an external control system.

That's more of an advanced system, it has its own thermostat, and so it and the customer can actually set from some device where they want the pool temperature, spa temperature and then that external controller turns the heater on and off. So the heater is not actually using its internal thermostat, that's built into it to decide when you're not actually doing anything on the screen with the heater to set the temperature, it's all being done externally. So that's the two-wire setup external controller and if you have equipment pool equipment, you come and you install heater and you're looking at pool equipment, it's got its own temperature sensors going into the water. You can open the pool equipment panel.

You usually have a digital display. That's going to be an external two-wire setup, you actually need to go through your manual and make sure you're setting it up for that and gas heat pump they're a little bit different. Just the manual is usually pretty instructive on that. Just take your time on that, because that needs to be done right or it makes us look like we don't.

We didn't actually do our job because we didn't actually do our job, but yeah. The same thing will have to be done with boards and we'll have plenty of them before the year is over. So i just make that mental note. If i'm doing a board, i'm also setting up controls.

The three wire is a setup that basically you have the heater sends a signal out and if it receives it back then it knows that it's in spawn mode or sends a signal out receives it back on the other terminal and knows it's in pool mode. So a lot of times the external, like zip, timers, it's a much more, simpler design. You just have relays in a box somewhere, your pool heater will send the call out and as long as it gets it back, then you can actually know which mode that it should be in, and so in that situation you same thing you just test at the Timer make sure your pool heater is actually switching modes, and in that situation you are using the display, so you got pool mode needs to be set up. Temperature small mode needs to be set up with.

Temperature board needs to be programmed for the three wire external controller, and then you need to actually test that to make sure when you turn the dial to spawn mode. The heater display says: pull from pool to spa set temperature changes from whatever your pool set. Temperature was to spa so very important on install and important that this is being checked on maintenance as well and honestly, like you, could fix just about anything in that pool heater and make it look shiny and nice. But if you didn't check the controllers, the customer is just never going to know that you were there or did anything right, because that's the only thing they use and that's just something to keep in mind when you're doing service anywhere.

What are they touching? What are they using they're doing, filter they're touching the thermostat they might know about the drain. You know always keep in mind. What does my customer actually interact with? They need to see that i worked in those areas. They need to hear me talking about those areas.

What their knowledge is, and you need to make sure that when they go to do what they do, it works for them. We're going to talk a little bit about cool piping and getting familiar with that, we don't advertise to do like pool work. We don't advertise servicing your pool or even the control systems for the heater a lot of times when you're doing heater diagnosis. It just goes straight into control, setups um, which can get annoying because there's so many different types and trying to learn them and how they work and then diagnose them and then finding out.

Where do i get parts for them? We just haven't got there yet we're not into that. So typically, if i'm servicing a pool, heater and there's an issue with the controls like the heater is fine, it's programmed find when i jump out the wires right at the heater board. It actually switches modes. I've settled that the issue is not what they called me for: it's actually pool controls, and if it's something that i look at and i'm thinking okay, i can actually fix this pretty basic setup i'll.

Do some wire tracing find out why this isn't actually working? Then you can quote for that, but if it's a situation where you're like, i don't know anything about these controls - and you know it's not something we advertise for, you need to have that conversation with the customer and be like this is just out of my arena. Of training, it's not what we do, but i've confirmed that the heater works like this jumpered out this and this the heater is doing its job. Your controls are not doing their job just get with your pool guy and that's fine, but as we slow down we'll be looking for more opportunities for learning things like controls and getting more work, and so don't just let that be your go-to like. I don't understand how this works, i'm out, because a lot of times for property managers, we might have installed the controls.

If it's a zip timer set up, you just got a bunch of relays and a zip timer or very basic control on there and a zip timer and we've. We might have installed that so for you to show up and be like. I don't know how this works and leave usually means you didn't look at it or you didn't talk to somebody so talk to somebody who knows how it works, evaluate whether it's something we actually want to work on. Just keep that in mind.

Does anybody know what the most common issue for a pool heater when we get a pool heater call? What the most common issue is both temp sensor and capacitor are pretty common yeah, but i would say the most common is related to water flow. So you will get a ton of calls in new developments for one very specific water flow problem. Do you guys know what it is? Yeah there is no flow. That is your.

That is the problem, but no the pull heater was installed and you're getting way closer. Bleeder was installed and there is a bypass valve. Anybody know what i'm talking about. Well.

Can you guys see that? Is it my angle that i can't see anything i can see it. I still don't know what it is. Oh yeah, all right, so this is a rainbow and this is really important. If you understand this, i was going to try to draw um.

These don't have any ink left, okay, um the bypass valve. You have a valve and heaters that when they're not in use, often in a setup there's a valve that you can turn one way and the water will just bypass the heater and instead of actually flowing through just goes straight around and it's usually a valve sitting. In front of the heater somewhere and like you turn it this way and water flows through the heater, and you turn it this way and it doesn't. When you look at it, it can often be a little tricky like what the turn it here.

How's the water gon na, if you don't know which way the water's flowing, but that's actually you're gon na get a lot of those. This year the there's gon na the heater is gon na pull a code which is either gon na, be high pressure because there wasn't enough water flow to get rid of the heat. So it went out on high pressure or it's going to lp, which is low water pressure if it's a gas heater or flow flow, low water pressure, heat pump, error code, and so you have your water pressure switch in there. That just basically is saying we don't have enough pressure inside this heater, it's just a spring and a wire shuts the heater off and that's how it knows to actually stop working every time at night that the pump shuts off to stop trying to cool the pool Or heat the pool you're going to have to learn water flow direction, basic valve operation and what to expect when you're, looking at a pool and a spa with water flow, so i'm going to just try.

I think this is the best one i'm going to try real quick, just give you a real basic. So this is your pool. Okay - and this is your spa and the pool will have out of the bottom. Often two and the spa will have l at the bottom a drain.

You got that and these drains come back to the pump. So i'm going to go ahead and draw a pump here service pump, and this is the the site valve where you see the water. Come in and then the water will flow straight out of the top of your pump into your filter, all right. So if i show up - and i have any kind of water flow issue - i'm going to pull this filter cap off after i've turned off the breaker and the pump's not running that's important.

So you unscrew about here or maybe on top you can unscrew pull the cap off. Take the filter out, look at it see if it's really bad set the filter on the ground. Put the cap back on turn it back on and just see how it runs without a filter. Everything runs great.

I've just eliminated i've just illuminated that we've eliminated it to the filter as our issue, our water flow issue, all right and yeah, you could call the property manager and be like hey. You got guests in right now. I can clean this filter for 70 dollars and then you take 25 minutes, maybe more like each little thing clean it out, but that's not our job. We don't advertise for that feel free if things are slow to to use something like that to make a little extra money on it, but let them know either way you need to have your pool guy out get this filter replaced oftentimes i'll just set it out.

Tell them i set your filter out, so you got you have an operation right now, but as soon as possible, get pull guy out put a filter in most managers are okay with that and homeowners, of course, just talk with them about that. So from your bottom of your spa and your pool you're going to come into the pump and outside the pump, we will go into our heater and then out of our heater and usually into some sort of either a bypass valve or the. What's that called the heart, the? No? What's that loop called the heartho hatho loop, where's britain, you know it's called some sort of protection before we hit our chlorinator, and this is our chemical maker coming back to the pool and then from out of there we come to another valve. That's going to have like a three-way, usually and they're going into the ground, and you have coming out to a spa and that's going to feed our jets into our spa or these two coming into the pool they're going to feed the different areas of the pool Jets, so it's a real basic outline and what you need to know about.

It is water direction, sucks in from the bottom of the pool into the bot and straight into the sight glass of the pump out from the top and then which jets and valves going into the ground are going to be going to your jets and which valves Which will be there'll, be multiple valves right here. It'll, look just like this right here too, which valves coming out of the ground are for your return, and so one other return right. A pool will have instead of having the second one, sometimes or all pools will have sort of a skimmer right here, and that is to draw from the very top of the water. So you have leaves and stuff like that, and it draws into a net.

Well, if your water level has gone down in your pool, it's going to start drawing air and so you're going to show up same thing. Flow water pressure issue, you're drawing in air you're, going to see bubbles you're going to hear the pump, struggling it'll run a little bit of water and then it'll and then it'll just be air and then it'll run a little water. So you have to find out which one of these valves here will turn off pulling from here, and you turn that off and it will stop sucking in air. The pump will prime again water flow will be restored and you can test your equipment call.

The manager be like you want me to turn on a hose and just drop it in the pool for you or have your pool guy come out your water levels low. So it's another common issue that we get called out for all related to water flow. I figured out a lot of this stuff by trial and error and at some point i started looking up pool heater diagrams and it was super helpful. So if you're, showing up don't just start turning valves trying to figure things out tribal air, look at a pool, heater diagram, get an idea of what's happening before you're, going to try to change a dial to fix a water water flow issue.

Another piece of advice: i always had this idea that water was getting clogged somewhere or a valve was turned and the water was just backing up against it, and if i could just open it up, this was all going to start working. You pretty much never ever run into that. The one situation is that bypass valve the water flow is bypassing that valve, so you just need to turn it simple direction. Change cuts off water flow from bypassing it and forces the water to go through the heater.

That's about the only situation you're ever going to show up turn a dial and fix the water flow issue. The only other one that i've ever seen is this. When it's drawing air and that's pretty obvious, you hear the pump struggling and you turn a dial to shut off from the skimmer and let it only just draw from one of the other supplies. Sometimes your pool stuff is labeled, it's opposite of our equipment.

If it says return, it means it's returning to the pool, it's actually your jets and if it says supply it means the pump is being supplied from the pool so opposite of your ac yeah it was it. Was these guys don't talk to each other? Also, you could point you to the other one calling it return too, so it was kind of confusing i did earlier. That is confusing yeah, so you should know that that that uh pool heater return is actually the water that returns to the to the jets. Not actually um, so that's a very basic outline of water flow.

A lot of problems can be solved there. That's why i wanted to start there with training. Don't have a lot of time here, but figure out how that works and you're going to save yourself a lot of trouble, any other water flow things. I try to remember if i hit all of that.

I did want to say about controls, one more time that you're going to have a lot of times, because this equipment has been misused or poorly installed. You're going to just have simple things like your wire connections broke off, they were over tightened and the wires broke. The wires that were run between your heater and your control system, they just all torn up somebody ran into them. Somebody messed them up and so don't stop yourself short of being able to fix a problem for a customer because you're, like i just don't work on controls, you know find out what the issue is.

If it's a wire problem, we can fix that and you need to be able to know to prove whether it's a control issue or actually a heater, slash, wire problem, which is not too hard to do. You know where your heater wires hook up. You can jumper that out and change that mode. If you've programmed the board correctly, you can jumper that out and change that mode, or you can test your wires between the controllers to make sure you have continuity, close them on one end test them on the other end open it out make sure you actually have Good wires running between your control and your heater there's a lot of things that you can do to take care of common problems.

Um with that, so that's some basics enjoy learning as much as you can about pool heaters this year. Thank you thanks for watching our video if you enjoyed it and got something out of it, if you wouldn't mind hitting the thumbs up button to like the video subscribe to the channel and click, the notifications bell to be notified when new videos come out, hvac school Is far more than a youtube channel, you can find out more by going to, which is our website and hub for all of our content, including tech tips, videos, podcasts and so much more. You can also subscribe to the podcast on any podcast app of your choosing. You can also join our facebook group if you want to weigh in on the conversation yourself thanks again for watching you.

13 thoughts on “Pool heater kalos meeting w/ bert”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Two Face says:

    Bert seems pretty chill

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jaime Cunha says:

    It's called a Hartford loop. Anyone in HVAC should know this. Not sure if you work on boilers in Florida. If you do, you should know this. Are you in Ottawa ?

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Anwar Rasooli says:

    Great job Bert!

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars RJParker says:

    A couple of inputs: Certainly want to get the Return/Supply terminology right. I like suction discharge relative to the pool pump. DE filters do not have a cap to remove although they are by far the best filters. They have 4 way valves to flush the DE filter media. They should have a pressure gauge which will tell you if they are clogged. Watching the pool flow is just as good and easy. Understanding motor operated valves is important as well and their "manual" control switches on the valve bottom. Incorrect placement of the on off on switch will cause incorrect water flow. Finally the common ECommand controls have a time keeping flaw which often causes repeated replacements. There is a small company in Florida that retrofits the realtime clock to make them reliable. They sell on ebay.

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Tomorrowsyoutube says:

    Bert is straight up impersonating Bryan Orr. Love it

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Luke D says:

    Great information 👍 Service area Nepean??

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars TechFive says:

    I'm in central Florida and I think it's a great idea to service these as an hvac company. Man it is so slow for us in the winter. This would help business during the cooler months

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jammin Wrenches says:

    Years ago DECADES actually I learned HVAC while watching The University channel. It was a camera in the back of the room same as this. Later it became The Learning Channel but slowly it aired less of this and more remodel shows then eventually Honey Boo Boo.
    Guys, promise me when you "make it" you will not stray from your roots. I dont want Dog The Bounty Hunter to lead a lecture.
    Looking back that was the start of the fall. When information became monetized and real education discouraged. College promoted over trade schools and the creation of the narrative that only losers go to trade school so if you really want to make it you must have a 4 year degree. Look how that worked out….

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Christopher Smith says:

    Emo Bert?

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Eric Jeson Severino says:

    Thank you,

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars MrBrioke says:

    Do more of these please

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Corey Lambrecht says:

    Hey Bluon. Hey Bluon.

    *Skips ad as fast as possible.

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Eassyheat/ Cooling says:

    Nice to see training!

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