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Hayward Pool Heater


srowe
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Need some help interpreting the photo. This is a thermal image I took of a Hayward Pool Heater (2001). I ran the heater in both pool heat and spa heat mode. It appears that only three of the burners were working. According to the seller, his pool contractor said that everything was working fine. Again, the seller called me to tell me this.

Is there something that I am missing with this picture?

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I guess I am looking for validation of my interpretation. Which is to be that "it ain't working right". I was a little dumbfounded when the owner said the pool contractor ok'd everything.

The IR camera showed me something I didn't expect to see.

Other comments please!

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Originally posted by srowe

Need some help interpreting the photo. This is a thermal image I took of a Hayward Pool Heater (2001). I ran the heater in both pool heat and spa heat mode. It appears that only three of the burners were working.

I don't understand. What do you mean by "appears"? Did you look at the burners with your eyes as well as the IR toy? If you saw only three of them burning, then for heaven's sake drop the "appears" crap. If you didn't look at them with your eyes, shame on you. As an inspector, your first duty is to look at stuff, not rely on overpriced toys.

According to the seller, his pool contractor said that everything was working fine. Again, the seller called me to tell me this.

Have you considered that the burners weren't working when you looked at it, but were working when he looked at it? Stranger things have happened. All it would take is some spider webs in the wrong place that later got brushed away.

Is there something that I am missing with this picture?

I'd say that you're missing the forest for the trees. I can think of some good uses for an IR camera in the context of a home inspection, but this isn't one of them. This situation is easily evaluated and documentable with your normal human senses and a plain jane digital camera. In this case, the IR is just clouding up the issue.

Don't let the fancy toys take the place of basic technique.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Don't hold back Jim , tell us how you really feel?[:-slaphap

Thanks Jim for your comments. I think you have made some assumptions about how the heater was inspected or what techniques were used. The burner photo could have been submitted in a digital photo but it would not have illustrated it as clearly as the IR. Nevertheless, I don't see how the IR "clouds" anything, in fact, I thinks it paints the picture quite clearly.

Ok, maybe it was a silly question to ask and I shouldn't have questioned my judgement. I had just gotten the call back from the angry seller that there is nothing wrong with the heater. I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't missing something.

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Hi,

Well, I don't think it was necessarily a silly question but your first post does sort of force us to assume that you didn't physically look at those burners because you said that "it appears that only three of the burners were working," even though your IR photo clearly shows that only three were at the time that the photo was taken.

Appears is a word that makes you look unsure of your findings. In this business there isn't a whole lot of room for unsure. You either know, or you don't know. If you are unsure then you don't know and need to say that. If it's referred because you know it's wrong, and someone calls you griping, it doesn't matter what some other trade says, you need to stand on your finding. If it's referred because you were unsure and someone calls you up griping because in that person's opinion you needlessly caused them a hassle - just tell them that it's the nature of the beast, go on with your life and don't sweat it.

I think Jim's comment was as much a question as it was a statement. Did you actually put eyes on those burners or did you rely on an IR image taken through the housing? You still haven't come right out and said that you did although you imply that you did. If you did and airflow to the burners was unimpeded and the burner orifices were clear of debris, then the tech has to be wrong, unless something was causing that heater not to fire correctly while you were there and that's all you have to say to the seller.

Did you wait for it to heat up to full operating temperature? I don't know a whole lot about pool heaters - I've seen a whole 6 pools in 10 years here - but I've seen some gas furnaces where not all burners kicked in until the stack heated up and began drawing well. It usually takes up to about 20 seconds.

Although I'd love to have one of those cameras - especially for E.I.F.S. and stucco inspections - if I had one, I'd only use it for examining those areas where I wish I had x-ray vision and wouldn't break it out of my bag for anything less. Even then, it would cost the client a whole lot extra to get me to do that.

Don't forget that there are certain basic skills and precedures one needs to know and use in this business without relying on gizmos. after all, doctors love MRI machines but they all still have to learn to diagonose illnesses without them.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by srowe

Don't hold back Jim , tell us how you really feel?[:-slaphap

Don't worry buddy, I'm here for ya!

Thanks Jim for your comments. I think you have made some assumptions about how the heater was inspected or what techniques were used.

Not really. I was just trying to understand what you saw; your description wasn't clear. My questions were - and are - genuine.

The burner photo could have been submitted in a digital photo but it would not have illustrated it as clearly as the IR. Nevertheless, I don't see how the IR "clouds" anything, in fact, I thinks it paints the picture quite clearly.

It's clear to you, because you're accustomed to looking at IR images. But look at it from the perspective of someone, such as your customer, who has no clue what the innards of a pool heater look like, let alone a thermal image of one. He sees blobs of color, something that says it's 170 degrees and the word "FLIR" emblazoned across it. (Man, that's annoying. Is there any way to get rid of that, or are you stuck with it on every picture?) It reminds me of ultrasound pictures of little babies in the womb. The ultrasound techs seem to be able to read all kinds of things in them just fine but I can't tell the kid's face from his butt.

Ok, maybe it was a silly question to ask and I shouldn't have questioned my judgement. I had just gotten the call back from the angry seller that there is nothing wrong with the heater. I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't missing something.

Nothing wrong with questioning your judgment or asking silly questions. Confidence comes with time.

I'll bet that there was some debris in there that was preventing the other burners from firing and when the tech got there it had cured itself.

Why not ask for the tech's e-mail address? Send him the Flirpic and ask him what he thinks might have caused the condition.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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...can just as easily be detected with one's normal senses and most of the gizmos end up back in the bag.

Most of my gizmos only come out of the toolbox when it is necessary to illustrate something to a bonehead seller or agent that can't comprehend experienced HIs can actually identify issues using normal senses. I think srowe's gadget came in handy for that purpose. "Look, three burners hot. The rest - not hot".

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