What is Pool Heater Ignition Lockout?

Learn what causes pool heater ignition lockout and how to correct it.

What is Pool Heater Ignition Lockout?Digital technology is great—until it starts acting up on you. Then, you might start to feel like you’re in the middle of a movie like “2001: A Space Odyssey” where a computer has more control over your life than you do.

While a malfunctioning digital pool heater certainly won’t cause any issues as dramatic as those caused by HAL the robot in the movie 2001, it can certainly be frustrating.

One common problem that digital pool heater owners may have is ignition lockout. Pool heater ignition lockout is designed to protect against overheating. Of course this is a good thing, but if owners are not able to clear the lockout and reset their digital equipment, the situation can go bad fast. Without a functioning pool heater, your pool water will start to get chilly and eventually it will be too cold for you to enjoy.

Why Does Pool Heater Ignition Lockout Happen?

Digital pool heaters have automatic ignition systems that allow them to turn on and off and/or adjust their heat output in order to maintain the desired pool water temperature at all times. In order to prevent overheating, pool heaters also have temperature limit switches that will cause the unit to shut down if the temperature is exceeded during ignition. This prevents your water from getting too hot right then, but it will allow the water to get too cold if you do not reset the limit switch.

How Do I Reset My Unit?

The exact steps for clearing a pool heater ignition lockout will vary depending on the brand and the model. However, the general steps are:

  • Reset the circuit breaker for the pool heater
  • Put the system in standby using the control panel (typically accomplished by pressing and holding the Up & Down buttons)
  • Check for an error code (if you see a code like bD or HF this could indicate a gas problem and your system will not reset until the problem is resolved)
  • Reset your desired maximum pool temperature using the Up & Down buttons
  • Turn the filter system back on

If, after completing these steps, your pool heater indicator light flashes slowly, the problem is solved. If not, you need to get professional pool heater repair.

Can I Prevent Future Ignition Lockouts?

You can reduce your risk of another pool heater ignition lockout by addressing these common problems:

  • Clogged filters and strainers—unobstructed flow is required for proper temperature monitoring
  • High temperature setting—setting the pool heater to more than 105°F is an easy way to cause temperature excesses and lockouts

Solar heat gain—put your pool cover on when the pool is not in use to prevent the heat of the sun from affecting water temperatures

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