Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by colder, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. colder

    colder New Member

    Hello everyone, I live in Northern Kentucky where last November I accepted installation of a Climate Master, 4-ton, closed - loop, GEO unit, which is also helping to heat one of our hot water heaters. Our home is about 1900 sf, drafty and 30 years old. Sparking the decision to install a new heating/cooling system, was notification by our furnace tech that our former heat pump's compressor was operating at about 1/3 of it's capacity, and would need to be replaced at some point in the future. So, the search began, and we decided to go with the GEO as we plan to remain in the house. The sales pitch by Climatemaster (save up to 80% on your energy bill) which was echoed by the salesman, along with the other positive attributes such as; no equipment outside, heat/cool from a constant ground temperature, extremely quiet operation, blah, blah, blah, lead us to where we are today. Operationally, it works fine - keeps the house at the temperature set point, seems to kick into stage 2 appropriately, doesn't have any equipment outside. However, it is very noisy. The salesman took me to a location where they had one operating on display which was sitting on a concrete floor. This was my error, I guess, in not realizing that on my wood floor, the unit would be noisier than my former heat pump. The installer ordered and installed a blanket to cover the compressor, which did reduce the noise about 50%, but one can still hear the unit kick on and off wherever you are on the first floor of the house. Finally, and most importantly to me, is the inefficiency of this high tech unit. I have saved a whopping $20.82 per month over the previous year. At this rate, I will be able to pay off the furnace loan with these savings in about 60 years - not six or seven as the salesman chirped. I've complained to the installation company (whom I trust) , and they have been very good about reevaluating the installation and they have painstakingly checked the operation of the unit - bottom line, it's barely more efficient than my old heat pump which was operating at 1/3 of it's capacity. Oh I know, folks will say, well this isn't right, or that isn't right, but the fact of the matter is, the potential savings are hugely overstated. It is a descent system, and many of it's characteristics are sound, but Climatemaster and any other company boasting huge energy bill savings are just misleading consumers. The 30% rebate seemed reasonable too, until the installers raise their prices, knowing that they can add this 30% to their bill. I'm disappointed primarily with the claims made my the manufacturers of the drastic savings in one's energy bills to be made. I think they should be reeled in and made to guarantee their claims or make honest ones. Knowing what I know now, I probably would not have gone with the GEO. What a disappointment this has been. Shame on me for getting sucked in. Thanks for your ears. Colder
  2. geome

    geome Member Forum Leader

    Are you keeping the indoor temperature the same with geo as with the old heat pump? Are your cooling and heating degree days comparable last year to this year? Are your electric rates the same this year as last year?

    The 1st year of operation, we saved $100 month on average when our prior heating and cooling bills were $160.month on average. That is a 62.5% savings. Others here have reported figures that make these savings look like a pittance. My point is that it is not the technology that is flawed, but other things can be effecting your results.

    Maybe the kind folks volunteering their time here can help you if you would start with the troubleshooting checklist.
  3. Forum Admin

    Forum Admin Administrator Staff Member Forum Leader

  4. colder

    colder New Member

    reply to Geome

    Yes, same room temp set at 72. No significant differenct in temperatures over the year. Yes, the kw cost increased by $.009 since last year.

    Wow, you've done well with your system. I'd hope for similar results. Here's a little more to my scenario:

    I have a wood burning stove that I run during the winter. I keep it full and running 24/7 except to clean. This I did not mention as I did the same before the GEO was installed.

    During the installation, I had them run a duct to a small room I added to the home (immediately adjacent to the furnace room). Previously and presently, that room is primarily heated with a wall electric heater. The new run produces a poor supply of air - it barely moves tissue paper when I tape it to the register - so this should have very little impact on overall cost.

    The heating and air conditioning company that installed the GEO and checked, and rechecked report that the other house vents are producing effeciently. During intallation, they checked all accessable heat runs and corrected any problamatic runs. They also cleaned all runs.

    They bore four 150' holes, spaced a little over 10' apart, and trenched these together in a four foot trench to make the loop - entering the house's crawl space approximately 3' below ground - through the footer.

    Aside from having to "bump" the loop a couple times after installation, the only problem with the unit after installation was finally discovered by one of the tech's reviewing the system: when the temperature in the loop reached 32 degrees f., the compressor would be locked out, and the emergency heat would be initiated. Once they realized that a jumper had not been properly configured on the computer board - for cold weather climates - the system has been operating correctly.

    The unit comes on and turns off as I would expect, based on the air temperature - remember our home needs new windows, and doors, but this being said, I would think that the GEO would significantly out perform a heat pump running 1/3 of it's capacity under the same conditions.

    As suggested, I run the unit fan 24/7. I was told letting the system turn activate the fan on/off isn't as economical in the long run, and is harder on the fan - one tech's opinion.

    I dunno.

    Thanks for your input.
  5. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Can you share the geodesigner printout and man J loads?
    If you heat with wood all the time how do you predict the geo system would save you money?
  6. colder

    colder New Member

    reply to: AMI contracting

    If you tell me where I can get the information you've requested, perhaps.

    As far as the suplemental wood burning stove - The stove is in the living room, and heats the living room and adjacent dining room where the thermostat for the GEO is located. Of course, when these rooms are warm (above the thermostat set point) the GEO doesn't turn on.

    I was running the wood burning stove last year too, before the installation of the GEO, so my scenario now with the GEO is the same as before, with the old, dilapidated heat pump, and I'm only saving $21 a month. I predicted that given the same circumstances, I would save a lot more money through the use of GEO technology.
  7. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    There is more to this story than meets first glance. I would take a look at the info Joe requested, due too the fact the loop temp dipped into the 30's while running suplemental wood heat 24/7. I would have anticipated a higer loop temp given that fact???
  8. colder

    colder New Member

    reply to Eric

    Thanks Eric. I will follow up with AMI if possible. I may have mislead you - the discovery of the compressor lockout situation occurred during the first couple weeks of operation, and has never reoccurred. Subsequent checks by the techies suggest that all is well with the machine. In May, (looking at the invoice) during the spring service/cleaning, the loop temps are as follows: stage 1 ENT TEMP 72f, Leave Temp 56f. Stage 2 ENT 72f, leave Temp 50f. Seems OK.
  9. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I'm not trying to bust your chops here but you are not offering any info that we can help with. Geodesigner form is from Climatemaster software and predicts operating costs. Climatemaster installers do it to predict op costs. Man J. load would be the work sheet or software your installer used to size system.
    Essentially, what you are doing is criticizing the equipment (instead of your installer) but not offering anything to suggest the installer is not the culprit here. While you might be right, the only way to know is with design data. If your installer didn't use any, it reinforces my suspicions.
    We have both a shoppers and a troubleshooters resource here. If you were to fill in as many of the blanks as you can we might have some thoughts.
    Good Luck,
  10. colder

    colder New Member

    reply to AMI - suggestion

    Thanks AMI, no chops busted here. I'm telling you/everyone the facts as I know them. perhaps the installer is something to look at. To my knowledge, no worksheet or software was used to determine operating cost. A salesman looked it over, made his spill, then a rep (owner/partner) did a review of the project; crawled around the crawl space, walked through the house, the furnace room, counted vents, cold air returns, measured rooms, and told me what I needed. Now he may have done some type of worksheet without my knowledge, but I never saw it. Once they started the project, they got it done promptly, and have responded to all of my inquiries, including several return trips to evaluate my complaints. So, they actions aren't suspect and have been in business for many years with a good BBB rating.

    It's frustraing as a homeowner as I have to believe or filter through unitl I find information that seems practical. Kinda like taking one's computer to the shop - unless you really know computers, you're at the mercy of the repairman. I'm simply searching for reasonable guesses as to what might explain the lack of savings with this high-tech system that I've invested in. I guess the next step is to get with Climatemaster and see if they have any ideas. I've come to know one other GEO user through a muctual aquintance, and he has experinced the very same thing. Different installer, same product (three ton I believe), and is saving very little on monthly energy bills over the old heat pump he replaced. In fact, I've heard/read a lot of similar complaints on t.v. and in various articles, yet I hear stories like my friend Geome, who saves like the advertisements and sales pitches. There's something not right. Thanks for your input AMI, I appreciate it.
  11. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    A twenty degree delta T accrossed the coax is really high, and in the spring the loop temp should be on the low side not high side. A lot of info here but not enough to get to the heart of the matter. Electric consumption being the complaint we need the info Joe spoke of to due mental surgery.
  12. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Design data is the only predictor of outcomes. With one exception, the outcome for someone who does not design.....it ain't gonna be a good one.
    If your guys did not measure your home or do a load calc then all else was a guess (though perhaps an educated one). Thing is that in mild weather area geo may not be 3 times more efficient than an air source heat pump. Throw in wood stove contribution and it might not be 2 times more efficient. If you are running constant fan now and you didn't before, that'll cost as well. Not knowing your baseline electric use, a $20 savings may be right for a previous electric bill as high as $200.
    Up to 80% savings predicted by Climatemaster needs to be explained to you by your installing company. You might save that over propane or fuel oil, but not against an air source heat pump. In fact you aren't going to save that much over electric space heaters.
    That's where I'm struggling here. I think you recieved very bad advice- from the installer. I don't want you to feel like I'm picking on you, but I'd like you to put the installer's feet to the fire and ask for the manufacturer required design info. Also if installer made energy savings promises that aren't met ask him to make it right.
    If he is in the customer satisfaction business he will work through this with you.

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