Iowa Condensation Problem

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by NorrisDesign, Jul 17, 2016.

  1. NorrisDesign

    NorrisDesign New Member

    I recently purchased a home that has a GeoComfort geothermal system in it. I'm not very familiar with geothermal, but I seem to be having a condensation problem. I traced the problem back to a copper pipe that extends vertically into the upper cabinet where the blower is. This pipe is producing a lot of condensation that then drips down into the lower cabinet, and eventually runs out onto the floor.

    I tried wrapping the copper pipe with pipe insulation, but it doesn't seem to have helped. Any ideas on how I could get the condensation to stop?

    I have attached a picture of the copper pipe, prior to wrapping with insulation. It can be seen at the back of the unit in the middle, with a puddle of water around the base. IMG_0981.JPG
  2. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I hope the line that is smaller and un-insulated is not the one condensing. I also see water or oil driping off the distribution lines from the distributor to the coil. Are those smallest lines wet?
  3. NorrisDesign

    NorrisDesign New Member

    Yes, it is the smaller un-insulated line that is condensing. Yes, that is water dripping off the smaller black lines on the right. What does that mean?
  4. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    The un-insulated pipes should contain liquid refrigerant and not be condensing. My guess is low or restricted refrigerant.
  5. NorrisDesign

    NorrisDesign New Member

    Thanks for the insight Mark, I appreciate it. A local guy suggested taking the filter out and seeing if the coil was dirty on that side. From what I could see it wasn't, but decided to wash the coil out anyway. Gave it a good cleaning and got lots of gunk out. Since then, condensation has went away and everything seems to be running normal!
  6. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    The condensate should have been taken out of the air by the Heat Exchanger in front of the two lines. The condensate drips into the condensate collection pan then drains out the Unit drain line.

    The condensate drip problem from the two lines shouldn't have happened, but if you need to seal the hole in that tray those lines pass through, or seal any leaking pipes into a basement wall, I have a recommendation below.

    The problem my Son had was with a pipe used as a conduit to bring his well water electric line through the basement wall. The previous owner had used foam to try and seal the conduit/pipe which allowed water to leak into the basement during the wet seasons. I took the problem to Home Depot's plumbing department and they recommended a block of a clay looking material they called "Thumb Gum".

    I stuffed the entire block of Thumb Gum into the 1 inch diameter pipe, using no other than my Thumbs (and so the name). The pipe has not leaked since.
    So, if you ever have a leaking tray or pipe open into the basement, get yourself a block of Thumb Gum and your problem will be cured after some Thumb work.
  7. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Refrigeration systems like to be clean. The water went away because cleaning the coil allowed the refrigerant to go back to it's designed location.
  8. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    I noticed the pile of sealant on the tray where the pipe and wires went through. It must not be sealing water, and it may have been meant to only prevent air flow. The owner could prevent water flow out of the unit next time he has a similar problem by re-sealing with Thumb Gum.

    Some readers here may have water problems not directly related to geothermal, or could be due to loop pipes going through their basement walls below ground which could cause a pesky leak. Thumb Gum would work great to seal up the problem.
    Geothermal Spirits likes this.
  9. I am new to a water furnace geothrmal heat pump and I am getting condensation on the underside of the pan and ruined the insulation. Drain tip and hose have been checked and condensate is dripping thru hose into the drain. Does the condensate drip behind the fins as I don't see much if any on the fins and what is the procedure for cleaning the coil?
  10. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    HOWs ABOUT SOME HELP HEAUH! A New Member has a problem, and wants to know how to clean the Evaporator, which I've never done and hope not to if the filters cleans the Return air.

    The center of the Evaporator fins holds the copper pipe with the cold Freon gas, so the center should be the coldest. The condensate will make it's way to the pan, one way or the other, and drip into the pan by design.

    I figure all condensate pans are designed to catch the condensate from the Evaporator, so you have a problem. You probably have an overflow due to a clog so you need to check the entire flow path from the pan to the floor drain to make sure the water is flowing properly.

    We know that a New Geothermal drains it's condensate properly, but with use our "Things" undergo a transition from working well to working not so well.
    I find that sometimes you just have to take a look and the problem goes away with little to no effort.

    An example would be the time a Turbine failed to reset after a trip and was holding up a Multi-Million Nuclear Generation Station from doing what it does, make money. I went up to take a look at the Trip Block and saw nothing different. I laid my hand on top of the device and felt it thump as if something had happened. I called the Control Room and they asked me what I had done, the Turbine had reset. I told them I laid my healing hands on the Trip Block and it reset.
  11. geoxne

    geoxne Active Member Forum Leader

    The condensate pan should catch all moisture draining off the coil. Check to make sure the pan is not cracked.

    The picture above shows something else going on. Note rust on blower housing. Typically this is caused by moist air bypassing the AC coil, especially if the unit is in an unconditioned space. Check the following-

    -Make sure you have fan set to auto during AC season. If the fan is allowed to run while the compressor is not, you are drawing in unconditioned air that will condense on cold objects inside the cabinet. This will actually reevaporate eventually increasing RH% in the conditioned space only to be recondensed during the next AC cycle.

    -Loose or improperly installed cabinet panels may allow unconditioned air into the air box and can condense everywhere. Some have interlocking tabs and slots that must be aligned properly to seal.

    -Along the same line make sure gum sealant at wire and tubing entry are sealed.
  12. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    The filters are where you need to get to to really clean the coil. No one ever gives you enough room to get to the coil. Including me.

    I use Simple Green. If one uses harsh cleaners they can eat the metal between the copper and the aluminium and ruin the heat transfer.

    With filters removed lightly dry bush the surface towards the return duct work. Do not have the machine running as we do not want to drive the dry dirt into the coil fins. Vacuum up the mess.

    Cleaning is best done in cooling season if using Simple Green. In cooling the coil is wet so adding the green stuff, which is a wetting agent allows the dirt to go down the drain. I spray a diluted mix of water and green into the coil. It is not possible to add too much when in cooling mode. You want bubbles on the lea side of the coil.

    If the gunk come out of the coil on the backside black, rinse and repeat.
  13. ask
  14. Thanks for the replies. The service tech finally found the cause to be a cracked pan and we could see the leak increase when water was poured over a specific area of the coil and we saw the crack On the removed old pan. So the pan installation required the freon to be pulled which was weighed at 4 lbs. The model calls for a 5 lbs and since this repair the leak is gone and the pan is draining great but now we have two new problems: the unit stops working and high pressure light is blinking and the units works great when restarted but stops after a day and most recently an odor through the ducts and inside the unit has developed the smell is not Sewer type but more hot oily/electrical. So we turned off the unit and have no ac in this humid carolina weather. Any experience with hp light and odor? Thanks
  15. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    You had a moisture problem but now have something new going on.

    I have to assume the High Pressure light you describe has been decoded from from the Trouble LED blinking, since I've never seen a high pressure light on a Geothermal Unit.

    High pressure comes from low loop flow causing the unit to overheat in the cooling mode.

    The smell could be the overheating of your Loop Heat Exchanger insulation or compressor heating up before the trip occurs.

    Check the temperature increase across your loop water in vs loop water out, and use the owners manual to determine the loop flow. If the loop water flow is low, check valve alignments and anything that might have been changed by the technician.

    Anyone else ever seen this happen following a freon charge removal & re-charge?
  16. Update from the new bee on my 10 year old Water Furnace Envision geothermal heat pump. The solenoid that controls the well water going to the heat exchanger finally quit giving us the "odor" and the digital lights on the front of the unit were correct in identifying the the low (or no) water flow for the heat exchanger. It just several days for the solenoid to finally stop working and it coincided with replacing a cracked pan and freon charge. The technician is looking for a solenoid that also has a manual lever to bypass the solenoid as it will quit working again sometime in the future (hopefully years). Thanks to everyone for their support and I hope that my situation helps someone in the future.
  17. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    You will be back.

    Solenoid valves do not emit smells.

    Refrigerant leaks do not self heal.

    Masking a symptom does not cure the illness.

  18. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    Try one of the Taco Sentry Ball valves, they are amazing. They also have a manual open feature if the 24vac operator should fail to work. Like any valve, you have to select the correct size for you system. This is just and example:

    The non-ball valve type solenoid valves can have dirt issues in the seat and fail to open like a diaphragm type valve. The Sentry Ball valve give you as straight shot through the valve with little resistance and no valve seat to clog or gum up with dirt from the water source, restricting flow and requiring more force to open than the solenoid can produce.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016
  19. arkie6

    arkie6 Active Member Forum Leader

    They do if they have a ground fault or turn-to-turn short in the coil windings. We often refer to this at work as "it let the smoke out". A very acrid odor will often be present when this happens.
  20. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I do not think so. You are talking about electrical failure.

Share This Page