My Star rite heater is showing a code of R13. It was working until the other night. I checked and cleaned my filters.

82 thoughts on “My Star rite heater is showing a code of R13. It was working until the other night. I checked and cleaned my filters.”

  1. David the R13 code is part of the boot up sequence with respect to the PWA. After this boot up sequence the heater is waiting for a command to turn on. If the LED goes blank or stays lit but is unresponsive there could be an issue with the PWA, membrane pad or one of the other components in the safety circuit. If the LED stays lit after the boot up and the combustion blower turns on and times out you would want to look to see if you have a service system or a service heater light on. A service heater light on usually means it is to do with the circuit loop. A service system light usually means it is to do with the circulation/filteration system or psi switch. If all else fails contact our Service Support Desk to book a diagnostic and repair of your Sta-rite Maxetherm pool heater.

  2. I get the r13 then it automatically goes to spa on pad. System starts up and temp goes to 290 on pad. I only have a pool so I have no idea what’s going on

    1. Shawn the R13 signifies the revision of the PWA on startup or reboot. If the membrane pad switches to spa when the heater ignition sequence is complete and the main burner is running and you can’t switch it back to pool then there could be an issue with the membrane pad and or PWA. If the heater works ok on spa, rather then replace any parts it could be ok to leave it as that as the heaters are designed to heat two different bodies of water. Just set the temperature for your desired temperature and the heater will stop heating at that temperature in spa mode. If the temperature reading is 290 on startup and doesn’t go down to the actual temperature of the water flowing through the heater after the main burner is running you could have a bad connection between the thermistor and the PWA and or a bad Thermistor. If you would like pricing and availability on Maxetherm heater parts please follow this link for prices and availability

    1. Jamie the R13 signifies the revision of the PWA on startup or reboot. Does the heater blower eventually time out and you get left with a solid Service Heater or Service System light or does the heater blower just continually cycle on and off?

        1. Jamie you could have a bad membrane pad. If you would like a purchase link to a membrane pad send us the serial number of your heater.

  3. Service heater light is on and stays on. Heater is not on and won’t come on. Has gas to the regulator and I it’s reading the water temp and I can adjust the heat setting up and Dow but no heat

  4. 128 r13 come on and then goes off, heater kicks on till reaches wanted temp.then kicks off and service heater light comes on then whole system turns off , repeats over cycle

    1. Hi Ernie. Have a look at the thermistor. Check it for corrosion or breakdown. If it checks out ok and the heater stays off and in service heater mode have a look at the back of the control board. Down the side of the board are error message lights that sometimes can point in the right direction for diagnosis.

  5. I have a sta rite max e therm 400 displaying an error code 128 r14. Pool pump kicks on, the heater fires up, runs for a very short period of time, shuts down for a short time, then fires back up, and shortly turns off again. This cycle repeats. I have been looking for what the code means, but I can’t find it.
    Any advise?

    1. Hi Corry. The 128 r14 is not an error code. It is the revision number of your control board. Each time the control board reboots or restarts the control board displays the revision of the board. Does the heater eventually stop and settle with the service heater light on or does it just keep cycling until you shut it down manually?

  6. My 400 runs and makes temperature fine. The timer (connected to pump) shuts system for the night; when the timer turns pump back on heater does NOT reignite. I have to manually shut power switch for heater, then turn it back to on position. Heater recalibrates and then ignites and works fine until the next morning where I must repeat process to ignite heater.
    Any suggestions what the problem is?

    1. Hi Joe. Is this on a pool equipment manufacturers automation system timer or do you just have it hooked up to a run of the mill generic wall timer ie like an Intermatic?

  7. Nigel,
    It’s a generic outdoor timer that has been working fine since installation of the heater, a few years ago. All of a sudden the heater needs to power off and then on to operate.l correctly.

    1. Hi Joe. What i was thinking is that if the timer kills the power to the heater while the main burner is operating it could be leaving it in svc heater mode. It all depends on how it is wired ie in sequence with the pump or seperate. Did you notice if there are any svc heater lights on when the timer shuts things down or does the power get cut completely to the heater when the timer shuts down?
      With the Maxetherm heater if the power is cut to the pump while the heater is firing but there is still power going to the heater the heater will go off on a psi switch error. Then it would need to be power cycled to go back on again as the psi switch error is a low level error code.

  8. Nigel,
    The timer cuts all the power to the burner and main filter pump. The service light is not on when power is cut. When the timer goes to “on” position, the main pump starts and the heater does NOT ignite. When I physically turn the power switch to ‘off”, then turn the switch back to “on” position the heater calibrates and then works perfectly…until the timer cuts the power again at the time of day set on the timer. I find it very odd that the heater just now started to behave this way as nothing has changed from the original set up (years ago).

    1. Hi Joe. I concur. If the timer cuts power to both there should be no reason they don’t come back on together when the timer kicks in again especially if that’s how it performed previously. Definitely classification Odd. I would check all the electrical connections and switches outside of the heater. If nothing looks wonky and everything looks clean you perhaps could have a board issue. Let me know if you need help sourcing a board and or membrane pad. I likely could help with that.

  9. Nigel,
    I stand corrected. I double checked heater prior to manually resetting power switch and the red “service” light is lit. Once I manually reset power switch it operates normall and makes temperature.

    1. Hi Joe. It’s important to know whether the service heater light or the service system light is on. Usually when the service system light is on it means a low level error code ie dirt filters, dirty trap baskets, pump cutting out etc. The next time it shuts down don’t reset it and if you remove the two piece cabinet enclosure and remove the two pins under the membrane pad you can turn the membrane pad upside down and check the PWA for error code lights. The lights run down one side of the PWA. If the PS error code light is lit that means the heater shut off on a flow related issue and you’ll have to figure out how to keep the heater in standby mode before your timer kills the power to the pump. Alot of people hook their pumps and heaters up to automation systems these days. It eliminates this issue of the heater going into service if the pump shuts off as you can set your heater and pump to go on and off at different times individually. Pentair EasyTouch is a good one. Pentair IntelliConnect is also a good one. Pentair is supposed to be making a revision to the IntelliConnect with respect to heater operation and hookup soon. Watch for it. The IntelliConnect is not too expensive really compared to a run of the mill timer. Plus you can operate your pool equipment from your computer or Smart phone with IntelliConnect. Here’s a link: file:///C:/Users/On%20Line%20Set%20Up/Downloads/IntelliConnect_Bro_lores%20(1).pdf

  10. Nigel,
    Heater shut off before making temperature this morning. Removed cover as you suggested and noticed that the “SFS” was lit red on board. As a side note the “LED 8” was yellow as well (HEATING light on exposed cover control panel does not light even when heater is working.
    Please advise.


    1. Hi Joe. The SFS code is for the Stack Flue Sensor. Beyond the obvious things ie filter pump not on, filter system or trap baskets dirty, water level low in pool, low water flow, water psi switch not functioning it usually leads to faulty wires at or leading to the Stack Flue switch and or a bad Stack Flue switch. In rare cases I’ve seen a PWA ie board cause this code. On older heaters ie 5+ years old it is worth checking your Flue temperature. You can do this while the heater is firing. Simply start the heater and let it run for 20-30min. Once it has run that long depress and hold the pool on button til your stack flue temp shows on the LED screen. If your flue temp is below 110 degrees check for low gas pressure with a manometer. If your flue temp is up over 400 or in the hi 400’s your heat exchanger is sooted and or calcified and not transferring enough heat to the pool water and needs to be replaced. The Stack Flue sensor will trip at 500 degrees Fahrenheit. I’ve attached a purchase link for a Stack Flue switch and a heat exchanger for a 200k model. I know you said you have a 400k model but we don’t have it listed on our store and I wanted to show you a picture of it. It is in stock though and I could give you a decent price on the 400 if you need one.

  11. We are also having R13 issue. Heater fires on then shuts off shortly after. Continues to do so…. only going on 4th summer of use.

    1. Hi Theresa. The R13 is the revision of your PWA. Can you tell me what else the heater shows on the control panel before it shuts down. Also does it show a service heater light or service system light?

  12. The temperature goes up and then in shuts off. After doing this several times the service heater like comes on.

    1. Hi Theresa. If you remove the cabinet enclosure and turn the membrane pad upside down sometimes there will be an error code light lit up on the back of the board. Let me know if any lights are lit up and I can tell you what that is an indication of. The lights that can light up are PS, HLS, AGS, AFS, SFS. If there are no lights lit up on the back of the board and the heater just fluctuates widely in temperature several times and just shuts off it could be a bad thermistor and or a bad thermoregulator or a plugged bypass.

  13. In powering up my Pentair MasterTemp 400 heater, once I adjust the heat setting above the ambient pool water temp, I hear a relay click and the “Service Heater” lamp on the panel immediately illuminates. Nothing else occurs, no fan, ignition, noise, etc. The underneath circuit card “HLS” red LED is illuminated as well. I find that the “High Limit Switch” is badly rusted and one of the tabs is broken off. This may have occurred when I was checking for loose connections. At some point in cycling power at the breaker panel, I see “r13” displayed on the heater control panel. I’ll replace the sensor with the broken tab, but if I caused that after the fact and it is not the problem, can you provide any further advice, thanks.

    1. Hi Ron. The R13 is the revision of your PWA. This is normal to see on re-boot of the heater. It would be normal to see the service heater light come on if the hi limit is bad or has a bad connection. Replace the HLS and make corrections to the connectors first. Let us know if the heater doesn’t perform after that and any other symptoms you may see, error lights etc.

  14. Hi,
    Our MaxE 400HD natural gas heater is brand new this season. Control pad shows red light Service Heater, green light Pool On and back of board shows red light next to SFS. Prior to this, heater would work correctly but had to wiggle the top where control board is. Displays temp, but unable to change adjust with buttons. Heater does not blow at all. Please help. Thanks!

    1. Hi Ashley. You may want to check your connections from the SFS to the board. If this checks out ok you could try replacing the Stack Flue Sensor. There are some other trouble shooting tips but you would want to try these two things first since the heater is not too old. I’ve attached a purchase link for the stack flue sensor for your convenience:

  15. Hi Nigel.. heater spits a code of r13 upon fireup..heater then ignites..stays on for a couple minutes..then shuts itself down…any thoughts?

  16. Hi Chris
    My heater turns on heats up one degree then shuts off on panel displays 228 r13
    We had service wire replaced at least this is what the service man called it
    It did not fix problem now out of warranty any suggestions? Thank you

    1. Hi Carolyn. Do you have a Sta-Rite Maxetherm heater? If so does the heater eventually shut down and show a service heater or service system light? R13 is the revision of the control board and is normal to see when the heater re-boots.

  17. I have a StaRite max e therm 400 pool heater. It works fine to heat up the pool for hours. But the problem is with the spa. It starts OK just like for the pool, and stops when the water temperature reaches what has been programmed. Then as the spa water cools down, the heater tries to start, but stops after a couple of seconds. About 1 minute later, it tries again, and stops again. And on. Eventually, the board locks up. So far, I have replaced: sfs, thermo regulator and thermistor. Last error code was e06 and behind board, red light on sfs sensor which I replaced. Now no error code, but on the module the light flashes 3 times and that’s an ignition lock out; I checked for voltage on module all good (igniter, gas valve ohms). I don’t get it.

    1. Hi Patrick. A couple questions before we get started. Is the pool equipment hooked up to an automation system ie IntelliTouch, EasyTouch etc?
      Does the burner briefly turn on in spa mode and you feel hot combustion air come out of the vent or does the blower only turn on and off and than the heater locks out eventually?

  18. Nigel: to answer your questions. No, there is no “automation system”. However, all the pool equipment (pump, heater) is hooked to a very simple timer; if I want to heat the spa at a time that the timer is off, I have to override the timer, which kicks the pump on, and then I can operate the heater. Re. the heater turning on? It turns on initially to bring the spa water from ambient to desired temperature – no problem here. But then, when it tried to kick in again, I hear a noise which I think is the blower but the heat does not turn on (no hot combustion air); it tries this a few times, then the heater locks out. Also, I forgot to mention that I also replaced ignition module and board.

    1. Hi Patrick. If you are running the heater in spa mode with the timer bypassed it sounds like you could have a bad hot surface igniter. If you haven’t tried to run the heater continuous with the timer bypassed I would try that first to rule out the timer but it doesn’t sound like a timer issue. It sounds more like an ignition/igniter issue. I’ve attached a purchased link for the igniter for your convenience. They are in stock and would ship today:

  19. Nigel. Thank you for this. I agree that the timer is most likely NOT the issue – it’s such a simple timer. But here is what I am not understanding. Why would the Igniter work each time to turn on the heater to bring the water from ambient to desired temperature, but then not work to maintain the desired water temperature? And then cause the heater to lock up? Patrick.

    1. Hi Patrick. If there is an issue with ignition or the igniter the heater will try to run it’s ignition sequence several times. If there is a fault the heater control board will eventually lock out and produce the service heater and or service system light. I have seen faulty igniters where they work at times and then fault out. You could also check your stack flue temp while the main burner is running/firing. Simply hold down the pool on or spa on button until the stack flue temp appears on the keypad. The stack flue sensor will shut off the heater when the sensor senses 500 degrees fahrenheit. Typically if the heater is shutting off/locking out on a hi flue temp you would see the SFS error light on the back of the board. That’s why I’m leaning towards the igniter. If you have a hi flue temp lock out you would want to open the combustion chamber and inspect the tube sheet/heat exchanger. We deal alot with 200,000 Btu heaters. The stack flue typically runs anywhere from 290 to 350 degrees. A 400 will run a bit hotter then that. Once you get to 450-480 or so you know that there could be an issue with the tube sheet ie sooting or internal scaling.

  20. Just recently my Pentair Master Temp 400 stopped functioning and is displaying ‘128’. If I turn power off, it alternately displays ‘r13’ and ‘128’ a few times then goes back to ‘128’. System is about 5 years old and the PWA had to be replaced 3 years ago. Any suggestions ?

    1. Hi Darrel. Have a look at the connections from the thermistor to the board. If that checks out ok you could have a bad thermistor.

  21. HELP ! House full of guest at xmas and a cold pool…

    Ok here’s the story. Sta-Rite 400 manifold cracked in 1/2. Replaced manifold. Wires were marked perfectly BUT what i forgot to do when changing out sensors was to MARK them on the old manifold body (dumb a__). So i may have one (or more) screw in sensors out 180 degrees thus when i reconnect wires as were removed they in fact could be reversed. Heater worked great the 2 times i used it prior to.

    I went to start it. It fired up great, showed current cold pool tempreture, set the temp to 85, BUT then guage would show a r13 error code, temp on the LED readout would go to 129 then settle down to 111. The smber heater on display light does not go on.

    I tried reversing the wire leads on each sensor one at a time but each time was the same – si now i am out of ideas

    Your thoughts would be like a XMas miracle !!

    1. Hi Bob. On one side of the manifold you will only have one hole. This hole houses the hi limit switch. The hi limit has a small yellow dot painted on it.
      On the other side of the manifold the top hole houses the thermistor. The thermistor has a long probe on it that extends into the manifold. The hole underneath the thermistor houses the AGS switch.

  22. I have a Mastertemp 400 that is ten years old and it did not turn on. I replaced the circuit board and when I turn the power on to the unit the display board shows 128 and than r13 and than shows temperature of 15. When I press the buttons on the LED board nothing happens. I can’t turn the heater board off.

    1. Hi Felipe. Sounds like you may have a bad connection to the board at the ribbon cable from the membrane pad and or a bad connection from the board wires to one of the sensors. Check all your connections and check all your wires for breaks and or cuts. If this all checks out you could have a bad membrane pad.

    1. Hi Ronald. The revision indicates the the model of the board. Most cases it is of no relevance to the home owner. Sometimes it can help a Technician working on the heater to determine if a board in his service vehicle is compatible with yours if yours requires replacement.

  23. Hi Nigel, I read all the answers here and I could not find a problem like mine. My heater Sta Rite 400 is more than 10 years old he is not turning on and turns on the service light. Also only the button to raise the temperature is responding, and the membrane has less than one year old. What I can to fix it? Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi James. Sometimes the back of the control board will have a red light lit up indicating one of the safety switches has been tripped. you could check the back of the board for this first. If only the up temp button works that would indicate either a bad membrane and or a bad board.

  24. Hi Nigel.
    I check the back of the control board in the heater and just the LED7 and LED11 light is on. And now is showing E01.
    Thank you again.

    1. Hi James. If no error codes are lit and you have the E01 display you could have a bad connection to the thermistor and or a bad thermistor, bad PC board and or bad connection from J5 to the board.

  25. I have a Pentair Mastertemp 300. Pool pump kicks on, the heater fires up, runs for a very short period of time, shuts down for a short time, then fires back up, and shortly turns off again. This cycle repeats. What is the cause of this? I just had the main core replaced.

  26. Nigel, I have the Max E therm, SR 400 NA. The unit will not fire up the heater. Service heater light is on. Checked the lights on the back of PWA and AFS light is on….what does this indicate?

  27. I have been having an issue similar to the ones here and have yet to find a solution. I have a Sta Rite MAXX therm 333. IT is only 1 year old. The heater was working fine all summer until now. When the power is turned on I get the 128 then the R14 and then all the lights and screen shut off. The blower never turn on. I first checked to make sure I had enough water pressure,gas, etc. I then checked to see if any of the troubleshooting lights on the circuit board were on. No help there either. I then thought perhaps it could be the thermistor so I replaced that as well. Still no luck. Got any ideas for what to check next?

  28. My max e-therm 400 is booting up and shows r13 as my pws. Then lights go out, flow is good. Checked baskets, filter and skimmers. The unit may have gotten wet under the hood bc the water from filter was open spitting water against the wall and may have gotten wet. Not sure. I powered it off and on but same boots up with 128 r13 and then lights out.

    1. Hi Tim. After you power the heater off and restore power to it and the lights go off try to push the pool on or spa on button. Chat me back to let me know what happens after that.

  29. Yes it is all automated at the switch or panel using pentair screen logic. It is the SPA Valve that rotates to activate the flow to heater. That is operational. I can see valve turning.

    1. You’ll want to bypass the heater from the Pentair Load box at the equipment pad. You could simply put the load box into service mode and then turn on the filter pump with the F button in the load box but the best way to truly bypass the automation is to remove the automation communication wires from the fireman’s switch inside the heater and put a jumper across the fireman’s switch. This would have been how the heater was originally shipped ie with a fireman’s switch jumper. Once the heater is bypassed try turning it on by pressing the spa on and or pool on button. If it still doesn’t turn on go ahead and remove the cotter pins that hold the top control membrane pad to the heater cabinet. Turn over the membrane pad and remove the blue ribbon going to the touchpad control board. Jump pins 5 & 6 briefly with a flat head screw driver. 5 & 6 are the pins closest to the yellow Max temp set button. If the heater turns on and the keypad lites up you could have a bad membrane pad. If it does not lite up you could have a bad board.

  30. It is 4 years old however it says to clean it every 3 months. That didnt happen so I am going to get it acid washed at local store. I believe the low flow is my heater issue. I was getting high pressure reading on my filter too maybe from backed up pressure.

    1. Hi pressure reading on filter could produce a low flow lite on salt cell. Dirt filter, poor connection at flow switch, scaled cell, scaled flow switch or debris around flow switch and or bad flow switch could also cause low flow.

  31. Sta-rite Heater showing the R13 code when turned on. “Service Heater” light stays on. Temperature buttons as well as spa, pool, and heater off buttons not working. LED 11 and LED 3/SFS lights are lit red on the membrane

  32. I have a sta-rite max-e-therm 400. When I put the system in spa mode the heater turns on (blower only) I hear a click which I assume is the igniter trying to fire. I never hear the heater actually fire on, just the blower. There is no heat coming from the exhaust. There are no error lights under the PFX that are read except the LED1 (I think that’s the name). After about three tries to fire heater the heater goes into service heater mode and turns off. Thoughts oh guru of heaters!!!!! Thanks in advance for your help and guidance.

  33. Nigel,

    Thanks for the response. Before the clock I smell gas briefly. Also I tried the power cycle thing as well.

    Thanks again,


  34. We have a sta rite SR 400na that won’t turn on. Powering the unit on display “128” then “r5” and blanks out after — blower never kicks on and the led membrane panel turns off and pushing buttons is unresponsive.

    We have tried replacing the thermister and the control board. Replacing the control board cycles with the same error except with the newer rev code “r14” instead. No leds are lit on the back panel after doing the diagnostic.

    We were thinking the last thing we could try is replacing the membrane top unit itself but was hoping there was another solution we can find here.

  35. I have a Pentair125. I year old. The heater will come on for a short time and then it shuts off and will not respond unless I unplug it. The service heater light will come on.

    1. Hey Marty, check the back of the board. There is usually a fault code lit up ie PS, HLS, AFS, AGS, SFS etc. If the heater is really only 1 year old and you have the grey LCD screen you should be able to press the pool on and temp up buttons simultaneously to get diagnostic clues as well ie PS, HLS, AFS, AGS, SFS etc.

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