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Edited to include the heater label, correct the power units (KW rather than W) and the breaker panel info.

I have an above ground pool with a solar heater -- and it's been a cold spring. Intex makes a heater for the European market, but it has a 220V plug. I can use a step-up transformer and plug it into a regular outlet, but I am wondering if I could just plug it in an unused dryer outlet (240V, 30A) using just a properly rated plug adapter?

There are bigger, more powerful solutions out there, but I like this solution because it is designed to not require water bonding -- impossible to do for a framed soft wall pool.

Picture of the label on the heater attached

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  • In general, at least in the US, devices that are suited to 220V AC will function about as well on 240V AC -- the devices are designed to have that much tolerance.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 27, 2023 at 0:18
  • It would also be good if you could provide a link or model number of the heater. Commented May 27, 2023 at 0:39
  • Can you post a photo of the dryer outlet please? Commented May 27, 2023 at 1:32
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    I really think you should first get the wattages correct. If a heater is replacing a solar heater it is more likely to be 3KW, not 3W. And a dryer is very unlikely to be 30W. The wattage is more important than the 220/240V issue Commented May 27, 2023 at 2:20
  • @Ioinva we need to know if you have a 3-prong or a 4-prong dryer outlet, first off Commented May 27, 2023 at 21:07

2 Answers 2

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eBay stuff is so cheap. Is it in any way safe?

Nope, nope, and heck nope. You got that pic off an eBay listing. It's sold by several sellers.

Everything installed in North America needs to be listed by an NRTL - that is an independent, recognized testing laboratory. Other Federal and state agencies watchdog retail stores to make sure unlisted junk isn't seen on store shelves. However they can't control mail order - that would be Customs' bailiwick and Customs doesn't have the resources to look for drugs, to say nothing of non-UL-listed products. Amazon Fulfillment (which ships many eBay items) is also a big backdoor - no responsible agency has the legal war chest to go after Amazon.

That particular item is being dumped by many sellers who sell them by the dozen, using identical photos. That looks shady to me. I suspect it's a counterfeit, but you could check with Intex to be sure. If you're chasing a name-brand for quality, I think you're barking up the wrong tree.

The fact is, resistance electric heaters are very inexpensive to make. There's no reason one should be costly. You are much better off finding a UL-Listed model. Since you already have a solar heater, you don't need a pump. Even an old water heater would suffice, really. They even sell small, 1-4 gallon water heaters that run on 120V and some are even made to plug in. Plumb that in to replace the solar mat, and Bob's your uncle.

Regardless, GFCI will be mandatory

Anything that powers something poolside will need GFCI protection. With 240V circuits that can only happen at the circuit breaker (EVs being an odd exception).

Fortunately, this beautifully moots ThreePhaseEel's question about 3-prong or 4-prong dryer outlets. 3-prong outlets aren't even safe to use for dryers - turns out deleting ground and tying the dryer chassis to neutral went about as well as you'd expect LOL. But with GFCI involved, even if it is a 3-wire circuit, you can install the 4-prong outlet and connect ground to nothing, marking the outlet "GFCI Protected / No Equipment Ground". That renders your dryer safe and gives you pool-safe 240V power.

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IEC 60038 standardizes voltage tolerance of +/-10%, which would be 242V on the high side, so if you have a 4 wire circuit you could swap out the breaker with a GFCI and change the receptacle and plug.

But Intex heaters are only CE (self) Certified and not (UL) tested and Listed. Modification would leave you legally vulnerable.

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