The Hayward H200FDN is part of the of H-series line of gas heaters. If you’re in the market for an efficient 200,000 BTU pool heater then you’ve come to the right place. Hayward is a brand synonymous with quality with a long history of satisfied customers. We like to provide our readers with options so we also take a close look at the Pentair 460730 MasterTemp and the Sta-Rite SR200NA Max-E-Therm.
Planning to extend the pool season or enhance your swimming experience? Nothing beats a good old fashioned gas powered pool heater if we are talking about raw heating performance. And even though we refer to gas powered pool heaters as “old fashioned”, the modern ones are several times better than the old models from the 90s and early 2000s in terms of energy efficiency and ease of operation.
With rising natural gas and propane prices, it is more important than ever before to research and purchase the correct heater for your swimming pool. Not only is it the most expensive piece of equipment on your pool pad, but it can cost you thousands of dollars in natural gas bills per year if you don’t get the right one.
In this article we are going to start with our review of the highly efficient & reliable Hayward H200FDN natural gas heater — discussing all of its unique features and strengths (and shortcomings) while also comparing it to 200,000 BTU pool heaters from rival companies. We also review two more highly competitive 200K BTU gas pool heaters :
- Pentair 460730 MasterTemp
- Sta-Rite SR200NA Max E-Therm
By looking at the pros and cons of all 3 models, you will get a nice idea of which heater is best for your swimming pool
Hayward Universal H-Series | Gas Pool Heaters
The first thing you need to make sure of that you are purchasing the correct size for your swimming pool. If you’re reading this article, it means that you’ve decided on a 200,000 btu pool heater, which means that it’s engineered to heat a pool up to 600 sq.ft.. Have you calculated your pool size? If not, read this article first : What size pool heater do I need?
All of the Universal H-Series heaters are practically identical to each other in terms of design and features, with the only major distinction between each model being its size. We are not talking about physical size here, rather the BTU capacity or heating performance. The easiest way to know the BTU rating of a H- series heater is to check its model number. For example, let us examine the H200FDN-
The “H” means that this is a Universal H-Series product (a series of gas pool heaters characterized by highly adaptable installation and cupronickel heat exchangers)
Hayward H-Series Built to Last
The number 200 stands for 200,000 BTUs — Well, actually it’s 199,000 BTUs but Hayward has decided to round up.
FDN means fueled by Natural Gas. If it said FDP, it would mean fueled by propane (Hayward also makes the H200FDP, which is the propane powered version of the H200FDN).
Currently, Hayward has 7 different models in their Universal H-Series family with each model further split into propane and natural gas versions :
- H150FDN / H150FDP – Suitable for pools up to 450 sq. ft in area
- H200FDN / H200FDP – Suitable for pools up to 600 sq. ft in area
- H250FDN / H250FDP – Suitable for pools up to 750 sq. ft in area
- H300FDN / H300FDP – Suitable for pools up to 950 sq. ft in area
- H350FDN / H350FDP – Suitable for pools up to 1050 sq. ft in area
- H400FDN / H400FDP – Suitable for pools up to 1200 sq. ft in area
- H500FDN / H500FDP – Suitable for pools up to 1400 sq. ft in area
As you go higher up in the BTU range for the H- series of heaters, you will require less time to heat up your pool or spa. For instance, the H200FDN requires 94 minutes to raise the temperature by 30°F in a 1000 gallon spa. The H400FDN (see below) can do the same job in just 47 minutes. Yeah, the H400FDN does guzzle up a lot more fuel, but you are also running it for much less time, so the overall cost of operation isn’t all that different.
A Larger Size Heats your Pool Quicker | Hayward H400FDN (full review)
Investing in a larger pool heater means you can heat your pool much faster and you’ll be putting less strain on your heater. It’s definitely worth considering since it will also most likely last longer.
Hayward H200FDN Review
One of the most (in not ‘the most’) and best 200,000 BTU gas pool heater.
- Standard cupronickel heat exchanger
- Excellent salt water and chemical corrosion resistance
- Exclusive “Totally Managed” cupronickel heat exchanger water flow
- Same water velocity through all tubes for faster heating
- Patented header by-pass design
- Up to 18 percent savings by reducing pump run-time
- 2″ x 2 1/2″ CPVC union plumbing connections
- Common union for installation or service, adapts to larger plumbing recommended for greater efficiencies
- Low NOx emissions – meets clean air quality standards
Documents for the Hayward H-Series Pool Heaters :
- View or download the MANUAL
- View or download the BROCHURE
- View or download the REPLACEMENT PARTS Guide
- View or download the INSTALLATION GUIDE
Hayward has always been an extremely innovative and trustworthy manufacturer of pool and spa equipment. They make some of the best pool heaters, pumps, and cleaners you can purchase. And the H200FDN carries the same Hayward reliability and ease of operation that we have all come to love over the past several decades. Unlike any other gas- fired pool heater, the H200FDN combines ease of use and installation with amazing performance and delivers all of that in a package that is super compact, so it fits on almost any pool pad without drawing unnecessary attention and allows you to maintain a clean look around the pool.
Most modern natural gas powered pool heaters still use standard copper heat exchangers and only offer cupronickel or titanium heat exchangers as an option for which you must pay extra cash. But that’s not the case with Hayward, they give you a pool heater which already has a commercial grade cupronickel heat exchanger installed so you don’t have to worry about the internals getting corroded within a few months if you use this heater in a salt water pool system. Even with advanced heat exchanger materials, the unit can still lose performance over time and get damaged by bad pool chemistry or unbalanced pH levels. Thankfully, Hayward has installed some really smart electronic systems within the H200FDN which monitor various parameters such as temperature and pressure to make sure that your heater doesn’t overwork or damage itself.
VIDEO | How to Install the Hayward H-Series Pool Heater
The digital LED display in the control panel of this pool heater will automatically flash warning codes whenever it detects something wrong within the system. Hayward has equipped all of their Universal H- Series pool heaters with a special Temperature Control Module (TCM), which consists of two components- an electronic logic system that automatically monitors and controls pool temperatures, as well as a numeric display which shows you valuable data like current pool temperature and various error codes (example- HS means excess water temperature, SF means thermistor error, etc.). The TCM display is located on the left side of the main control panel, right next to the keypad. On the keypad, you have 3 buttons- Temperature Up, Temperature Down, and Mode Select. That’s all, you just need 3 buttons to operate this amazing pool heater.
The controls on the H200FDN are a huge advantage if you have people in the house who aren’t too tech savvy and struggle to find their way even around simple things like the TV menu. So, it doesn’t matter if your dad doesn’t understand how to use Twitter on his phone. At least when he wants to go for a nice swim in the evening during October, all he has to do is press the Mode button to switch the pool heater from Standby to Spa/ Pool mode. The H200FDN will remember the temperature you set last time, if it was 78°F then you can rest assured the heater will bring your pool up to the specified temperature within a few hours.
Your Pool Heater Will Arrive on A Crate
Apart from its cupronickel heat exchanger and intuitive controls, what else does the H200FDN have going for it? Well, it is much easier to install compared to the other 200k BTU heaters on the market from rival companies. You can rotate the gas and water fitting to either side, so it doesn’t matter if you set down this 123 pound heater in the wrong direction during delivery. The top panel also rotates around, so no matter which side you have your gas and water piping on, the LED display and keypad will always be facing forward. Accessing spare parts for the H200FDN is also very easy in case something breaks down, because a lot of the parts are interchangeable between various Universal H- Series models and prices are lower because all Hayward has to do is make the same type of part for different models instead of spending money on designing custom parts for each one.
A lot of pool heaters in this price range don’t have “forced draft”, which is basically a blower fan mounted on top of the combustion chamber and heat exchanger. This blower fan artificially induces a stream of air up through the combustion chamber and into the heat absorbing fins of the exchanger pipes, allowing for faster heating of the pool water. It also eliminates environmental variables such as wind speed from the equation, so even if it is quite windy outside the heating performance of your H200FDN will not be affected.
Another unique feature of the H200FDN is its header bypass system. The header is located on the water- side of your pool heater and is typically a polymer tube with fittings that takes cold water into the heat exchangers and hot water back out for circulation in the pool. There is an input side and an output side for water on the header. Hayward has installed a little spring loaded bypass cartridge in the header which will prevent excessive amounts of water from flowing into the tubes and damaging the heater.
Too much water flow can break the heat exchanger pipes or crack the header tubes, and besides- a heater is only meant to transfer a fixed amount of heat energy (200k BTU in the case of the H200FDN) into a specific amount of water. Introduce too much water into the system, and your heater is no longer performing at its intended efficiency levels. A lot of more expensive pool heaters have this feature, but they use digital sensors instead of spring loaded ones. While more sensitive to changes in water flow rate, digital sensors are also much more expensive and can cost a lot of money to replace when they break down. Not only is the spring loaded bypass cartridge cheaper, but you can also replace it yourself by purchasing the part.
We all know that no product is perfect, and the H200FDN does have its weakness. For instance, the blower motor can get damaged over time and replacing it will cost a lot of money. Many competing brands don’t use a blower motor for forced draft, instead they use a wind-resistance design that seals the body from external climate influences. Although the blower fan does improve efficiency and heating performance in windy conditions, it is a pain to replace. Another problem with running a forced draft system is noise — a fan spinning at high RPMs will generate noise no matter how hard you try to hide it inside a box. Make sure you hire a certified professional to do the installation, that way you can preserve the warranties. Especially because the electrical wiring for a Hayward pool heater is more complicated compared to a Raypak or Pentair model.
Pentair 460730 MasterTemp
200,000 BTU natural gas pool heater.
- Heats up fast, so no long waits before enjoying your pool or spa
- Best-in-class energy efficiency*
- *Standard copper heat exchanger 84% efficient. Heavy-duty (HD) cupro-nickel heat exchanger 82% efficient.
- Manual gas shutoff when service is required
- Eco-friendly MasterTemp is certified for low NOx emission and outperforms industry standards
- Rotating digital display allows for easy viewing
- Tough, rustproof exterior handles the heat and weathers the elements
Documents for the Pentair MasterTemp Pool Heaters :
- View or download the MANUAL
- View or download the INSTALLATION GUIDE
- View or download the installation CHECKLIST
- View or download the BROCHURE
It is more expensive than the Hayward H200FDN, and Pentair claims that this unit is the most energy efficient in its class (200,000 BTU natural gas pool heaters). It is also a Low NOx heater just like the Hayward H200FDN, so you can operate it in pretty much any part of the country that has strict rules regarding emissions, even California. The MasterTemp lineup of gas fired pool heaters ranges from 175k BTU all the way up to 400k BTU. And the 200,000 BTU model is available in four different versions differentiated by fuel source and type of heat exchanger-
- 460730 MasterTemp : 200,000 BTU — Natural Gas (copper heat exchanger)
- 460731 MasterTemp : 200,000 BTU — Propane (copper heat exchanger)
- 461000 MasterTemp : 200,000 BTU — Natural Gas (ASME)
- 461001 MasterTemp : 200,000 BTU — Propane (ASME)
- See all the ASME features below :
ASME Model Features:
- Bronze header design allows for easy access to the thermal regulator and bypass valve service without use of special tools.
- All internal components of the bronze header are now made of high-resistance, glass-reinforced polymer for long life, lightweight, chemical resistance and wear protection.
- Thick ASME rated fin tube resists erosion in high flow applications
- Cupronickel fin tubes provide protection for salt treated pools and tough commercial applications.
- Totally enclosed blower motor for harsh environment and salt-air coastal applications.
- High durability military-grade coating control board weathers all coastal elements.
- Upgrades to thermal regulator include a governing stainless steel sleeve for better wear protection and chemical resistance.
- Ignition Control Module includes a 3-trial for ignition before a hard lockout is initiated.
- Improved gas valve design includes more diaphragm spring force for better gas control and robust operation.
Note: Certain Pentair MasterTemp pool heaters are also available with cupronickel heat exchangers options for extra cost. The ones with cupronickel heat exchangers are “HD” or Heavy- Duty models. The HD version will cost more, but it will also last longer in a saltwater pool system. HD versions are available for the 250k BTU and 400k BTU MasterTemp heaters, alongside ASME heat exchanger versions.
The standard versions are the cheapest, HD versions are costlier and more resilient to saltwater corrosion, and ASME version are at the top with maximum corrosion resistance and also cost the most. Interestingly, the efficiency drops off slightly if you go with a HD model that has a cupronickel heat exchanger. While the regular models are rated for 84 percent thermal efficiency, the HD versions are 82 percent efficient.
The Pentair MasterTemp 460730 is a natural gas powered 200k BTU pool heater with a lot of similarities to the Hayward H200FDN in terms of performance and features. For instance, it too has polymer headers with a rust proof composite body and a digital control panel which lets you monitor and set temperatures for your pool/ spa. Both the Hayward H200FDN and MasterTemp 460730 are extremely reliable, with the ability to work on either 110 or 220V electrical wiring. But unlike the H200FDN, the MasterTemp 460730 doesn’t facilitate the repositioning of the water headers or gas lines. You can still position the heater in the correct orientation for your water lines, but you will have to physically turn it around so that the headers are facing the right direction. Removing and reattaching the headers is possible, but not as convenient when compared to the Haywards Universal H- Series of pool heaters.
The top panel can be detached and rotated easily so the control pad is facing in the correct direction no matter whether you choose to put the headers on the left or right side. And you don’t need any tools to remove the top panel, it is super easy to access all the internals and adjust stuff like the gas valve when necessary. One thing we must warn you about is the fact that this pool heater won’t last as long as the Hayward H200FDN in a saltwater pool system. Yes, it uses commercial grade copper heat exchangers and stainless steel burners but there is no denying the fact that cupronickel alloy will always be more corrosion resistant than regular copper. No matter how well you maintain the pH levels in your pool, eventually the copper tubing in the heat exchangers of this pool heater will start to wear away. It may happen in 5 years, or 7 but it is going to happen sooner than it will in the Hayward H200FDN.
But it also has its advantages compared to the H200FDN. For instance, it runs quieter than the Hayward because there is no forced air draft system and body has certain design elements which reduce the impact of external air speeds on the heater’s performance. The Pentair 460730 also performs slightly better than the H200FDN when it comes to heating hot water spas. While the H200FDN needs 56 minutes to raise the temperature of 600 gallons of water by 30°F, the 460730 can do it in 53 minutes.
If you own a larger spa with water volume of 1000 gallons, the H200FDN needs 94 minutes for a 30°F temperature increase whereas the 460730 does it in 89 minutes. Is it that important to shave off 3 or 6 minutes from 1 to 1.5 hours? Not really from a practical standpoint, but it demonstrates the one advantage of having a copper heat exchanger as opposed to cupronickel ones. As we mentioned earlier, the cupronickel heat exchanger is 82 percent efficient while the regular copper one is 84 percent efficient, so slightly more usable heat energy is generated with the cheaper copper heat exchange.
Sta-Rite SR200NA Max-E-Therm
200,000 BTU natural gas pool heater.
- Lightweight—lightest heater in its class
- Easy to switch—change gas sources with installation of separate orifice
- Environmentally friendly—all units are low NOx
- Rustproof housing—sleek, matte-black enclosure is made of Dura-Glas, an exclusive Sta-Rite® material that handles the heat and weathers the elements
- Lower operating costs—84% efficiency rating, rated first in its class for highest energy efficiency
- Custom or retrofit—directly connects to Sta-Rite System:3® Mod Media Filter or easily fits other systems
- Certified for outdoor and indoor installations
Three Sta-Rite Models to choose from (learn more) :
- Sta-Rite Pool Heater : SR200LP | 200,000 BTU | Heats up to 400 sq.ft.
- Sta-Rite Pool Heater : SR333LP | 333,000 BTU | Heats up to 700 sq.ft.
- Sta-Rite Pool Heater : SR400LP | 400,000 BTU | Heats up to 1200 sq.ft.
DOCUMENTS for the Pentair Sta-Rite SR200NA Max-E-Therm :
- View or download the MANUAL
- View or download the BROCHURE
- View or download the INSTALLATION CHECKLIST
This little pool heater was designed specifically for the purpose of retrofitting or upgrading existing pool pads. If you own an old propane or natural gas pool heater, it probably uses metal panels for the body. Those metal panels are prone to rusting and failing over time when exposed to rain and snow, so the body of older pool heater models won’t last more than 7 or 10 years even if the internals somehow survive corrosion from the pool water. You don’t have to worry about any of that with the Sta-Rite SR200NA, since it uses a compact enclosure made of Dura-Glas — an exclusive composite material which is 100 percent rust proof and capable of lasting through rough weather conditions for several decades. The only thing that can harm this enclosure is physical shock, like a hard or heavy object bumping into it which may crack the body. Other than that, you really don’t have to worry about anything.
And if you thought the dual- position rotating control panel of the 460370 MasterTemp was cool, wait till you see the control panel on this Sta-Rite. It can rotate and lock into 6 different positions, which means you can pretty much position it in any way you want. It doesn’t matter where the gas and water lines are on the pool pad, your Sta-Rite SR200NA will fit in perfectly and you will have no trouble adjusting the pool temperatures thanks to the LED display and super intuitive controls. There are warning lights which remind you to service the heater, and reaching the internals is very easy since all you have to do is lift off the top dome, which reveals the combustion chamber, gas valve, heat exchanger, etc. for convenient maintenance.
Water Heating Speed | Sta-Rite Max-E-Therm Chart
The biggest advantage of the Sta- Rite SR200NA is its small size. It can be fitted both indoors as well as outdoors, and you can easily change gas sources by installing a separate orifice. Just like the MasterTemp 250k and 400k BTU heaters, the Sta-Rite is available in both standard and Heavy- Duty versions with cupronickel heat exchangers.