HOW DO I HEAT MY STOCK TANK POOL?
We get asked this question a lot with the chilly winter weather and traditional Jacuzzi prices skyrocketing...
So we wanted to offer a few tips and share our experience (what went right and what went wrong) with installing a Camplux tankless propane heater on a Stock Tank Pool after consulting with the technical team at Camplux.
It is absolutely possible to heat your water to 100 degrees + with a Camplux tankless water heater and it is awesome! There are several options of brands and types of heaters on the market, but we will be discussing Camplux tankless water heaters. They are very convenient since they do not require any additional electricity to operate. Make sure to purchase the Outdoor model and proper size for your Stock Tank Pool.
Our recommendation for 6' round tanks and above, is a minimum 16L or bigger. The bigger the heater, the faster and more efficient it will heat the water. Keep in mind you will need to pump and circulate water through the heater. This can be done several ways.
Depending on your pool filter/pump equipment, it may be possible to hook this inline to the existing pool pump (not an easy task with the Intex above ground pool equipment). Another option is to feed the heater with a fresh supply of water from your homes outdoor water spigot. This would require you to start with an empty pool or almost empty and you would be filling it with newly heated water (like filling up a bathtub). Probably the most common way is to use a small water pressure pump. There are many brands and styles that may work, but we will discuss the SEAFLO brand since that is what we used.
Successful set up and equipment:
Make sure you have a safe place to mount your heater with the correct clearances! We mounted the 16L heater on a 4" x 6" PT post buried 2 feet in the ground and secured it with one 50# bag of fast set concrete. We added a lower wooden horizontal support bracket to secure the heater with mounting screws and sprayed the post with Rustoleum White High Heat BBQ Spray Paint for protection. It looks pretty clean in our opinion. Be careful to read the mounting instruction do's and don'ts since you do not want to cause any fire hazards.
Stock Tank Size: 6 ft Round
Camplux Heater Size: 16L
Water Pump: SEAFLO 3.3 GPM (requires (2) adapters to convert 1/2" threads to 3/4" GHT)
Hose Type & Fittings: 25 ft 5/8" Black Rubber Garden Hose (cut into 3 sections - one for inlet water to pump, one short piece for pump to inlet on heater, and one for heater outlet to pool outlet) and (5) 5/8" Female Hose Menders, and (2) Male Female Pipe & Hose Fittings for connecting hoses into Camplux Heater
Inlet/Outlet Fittings: (2) 3/4-in FPT Bulkhead fittings, (2) Hose Bibb Shut Off Valves, this requires drilling two additional inlet and outlet holes in the tank. It is possible to just drape the hoses over the tank which would eliminate the need to drill additional holes and this is a personal preference choice and might be a good option depending on your usage.
Outdoor Electrical Timer w/Remote: This is a very convenient way to turn on the water pump to activate the heating system. Plug the water pump into the timer outlet and use the remote to start the pump/heater. (about $20 at Home Depot)
Results: We heated the water from 64 degrees to 100 degrees in just under an hour...That is an increase of 36 degrees in an hour!
(pool had a solar cover and was running the Intex filter pump simultaneously to help circulate the water faster)
Important tips we learned along the way-
1) Balancing of all the equipment is key - get the correct size heater for the job, a 10L is not an efficient choice for an 8 ft stock tank or especially anything larger, make sure you have the right GPM water pump for the size Camplux heater, & make sure your hose ID (Inside Diameter) is big enough.
2) A Camplux 10L heater's recommended water pump is max 1.6 GPM and not recommended to be used with the 3.3 GPM size. The 3.3 GPM is recommended for the 16L size. We also purchased a bigger water filter to install on the intake side to help prevent any dirt or sediment from getting into the pump. We would not do this again and the SEAFLO comes with a smaller filter that works just fine. (Save the $17)
3) Once the tank water reaches 100 degrees, the heater will become inefficient and will be wasting fuel, if kept running... It has built in sensors that kick in around those temperatures for safety, according to the Camplux team. They also stated that the heater should never run consecutively for more than 1.5 hours without turning off and allowing to cool for at least 30 minutes before operating again.
The water stayed warm much longer than we expected. We are in south Florida, but it was pretty cool for us during our testing (in the 50's/60s) and the water stayed in the mid 90's for 4 plus hours with no cover after we turned off the heater. We covered the pool over night and even the next day it was still in the mid 80's and comfortable. There are a lot of different factors, but we are averaging 2-3 uses per 20 lb propane tank. That's a cost of $6-$9 per soak per $18 propane tank. Well worth it in our opinion! Compare this to the other methods of heating - by Fire or by 220V electric heater and it seems extremely reasonable.
The process was a little challenging and can take some patience, but once you succeed the benefits are well worth it! 🥂🥂
Now, what we did wrong: Countless trips to Home Depot, Lowes and ordering parts on Amazon and lots of wasted money to name a few!
We started with 10L Camplux heater, a SEAFLO 3.3 GPM water pump, and 1/2" ID washer machine hoses and countless plumbing adapters and connectors... That set up did not work and could not keep the heater running for more than a few seconds. We later found out from Camplux Technical support that the 3.3 GPM water pump was not compatible with the 10L heater (so we upgraded to the 16L size heater, which was more efficient anyway. We could have gotten a smaller water pump). Also, the 1/2" ID hoses may have contributed to the failure by not allowing the correct water flow and pressure. Make sure to use a minimum 5/8" or 3/4" ID hoses or tubing and make sure it is rated for up to 45 psi (depending on your water pump size) and hot water temperatures up to 140 degrees.
We highly recommend to contact Camplux's technical support if you are having any challenges with your Camplux heating system. It took a few calls and attempts before I reached the right support person that was able to really diagnose and troubleshoot the problem with our set up.
We will be working on a complete parts list to share and we are also still looking for better parts and ways to eliminate some fittings and adapters. Please call or email us if you have any questions or would like to share your Tankuzzi success or even failure.
*This information is provided as informational only and "STOCK TANK HOUSE" and its employees are not responsible or may not be held liable for any injury that may result from any of our recommendations. You should always do your own research and follow any local safety restrictions or codes and all standard swimming safety guidelines.