If your heater is not connected to an automated system, turning it on and heating up your pool and spa can be confusing. Almost all heaters have a simple to use control panel that you can use to turn on the heater and set the desired temperature. In this video I am using the Jandy JXi Pool & Spa Heater but your heater is probably very similar to it.
On the heater itself is the control panel and from there you can turn the heater on and set it for pool or spa mode. Once the pool pump is on you can then set the heater to the desired temperature and turn it on. If you are going to heat an attached spa, you will have to turn the valves to spa mode. I go over that in detail in the video.
Let me go over some common mistakes and user errors when it comes to manually setting your heater.
I see these mistakes out on my pool route and once you know about them you will be much wiser when using your heater.
Heater has no power?
The buttons on the heater will not function unless the pool pump is turned on. If you are trying to turn on the heater outside of the pool's daily timed run cycle you will need to turn the pump on at the timer box. Once the pump is on and running you should see the control panel on the heater activate. Now you can set the heater to the desired temperature and mode – either pool or spa mode.
Can I heat the Pool with the Spa Settings?
You can heat the pool from either “Pool” or “Spa” mode but the heater has a dedicated mode for a reason. In each mode you can set a desired temperature and the heater will save that set temperature for you. So if you turn on your heater to heat your pool and you press the “Spa Heat” button the pool will then heat up to whatever temperature is set for the spa. Usually it is set at 98-100 degrees. So the pool will heat up to 98-100 as if it were the spa. So it is best to use the “Pool” button and set that temperature to your desired level, usually 80-85 degrees. So both buttons will turn on the heater but each button has a set temperature for either the pool or spa.
How do I put my Heater in Spa Mode?
This is a very common problem and I think the pool valves can be a little hard to figure out. The majority of pools use Jandy valves, notice that the small handle part is the “on” position and the large flared part marked “off” is the off position. The suction line valve is located right in front of the pool pump. Turn this valve handle completely to the opposite direction. Then find the return line valve handle and turn that one completely to the opposite position. The return valve is the one coming out of the heater. Once you have both of these valves turned you should be in “Spa Mode.” After doing this several times you will get the hang of it. When done make sure you turn the valves back again so that it will be in “Pool Mode” when the timer starts up later that day or the next day. Otherwise the pool will remain off all week and it will be circulating only the spa.
Why is my Heater running the next day still?
One thing that you must do when you finish using the heater, besides turning the valves back to pool mode from spa mode is to turn off the heater. Most heaters have a pretty obvious “off” button. The heater may turn off during use once it reaches the set temperature but to actually turn it off after use you will need to hit the “off” button on the heater itself when you are done using it. Note also that if you turn the pump off before turning off the heater and you push the “off” button on the heater, it will not turn off. Remember, for the buttons to be active the pump must be running. So before turning off the pool pump, hit the “off” button on the heater. If you fail to do this the heater will be running every time the pool turns on for it's timed programmed cycle. So the pool can potentially be heated all week and in most cases if you were using the spa and turned the valves back to pool mode the pool will heat up to the spa temperature (98-100 degrees) giving you quite hefty gas bill.
My Spa is draining down after I used it last night?
Unless it is a bad check valve chances are you didn't turn the valve completely back to pool suction and it is still partially open to the spa suction. Since most spas have a small bypass returning water to it, even a small amount of suction from the spa drain will cause it to drain down. Just make sure that you turn the valves completely back to pool mode when done.
So these are some common user errors and mistakes that are made when using the pool heater. One way to ensure that the heater will not turn on after using it is to shut off the gas line after each use. Many heaters are installed with a simple shut off handle and this is a great way to insure you won't get hit with a giant gas bill.
Jandy JXi Pool & Spa Heater Overview Video: https://youtu.be/kNroru8-zf0