Ontario Electrical Usage for Waterfurnace Premier Seems Way Too High

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Andrew Kulin, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I am sure your eyes are brown and not the pure Blue.

    Your ability to converse in a civil manner is lacking. You sound like the orange guy sounds.

    I have been doing very successful geothermal projects since Jimmy Carter won Iran. Your math is wrong on the water. The warmer stuff is more dense. That is why it stays at the bottom.

    Please keep my cardio-vascular system out of this forum.
  2. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    My eyes are actually quite blue. No idea who the orange guy is.

    Here is what I said on the water
    So yes, warmer water is indeed more dense, but only down to 39F, above that water becomes lighter again. That is why the warmer water is always on the bottom of the pond and is always 39F max (as long as the whole pond does not heat up at warmer weather) but also does not drop much below it. This is what pond stratification is based upon. But we had that discussion before.

    Certainly, but if you wish to keep your health issues out of the forum, you should also not continue to bring them up all the time.
  3. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Open your blue eyes, 39* F is as cold as it gets, at the bottom.

    Please go re-read what you typed.

    You sound like Mr Drump
  4. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    I am not a pro, I do know what is comfortable.

    I lived in the South for 15 years and always used a heat pump to heat the my homes. We were far enough South that we didn't need an Aux Heat backup. We never had a heating or cooling problem with those units.

    Moving North I purchased a trailer with propane whole house heat and added a Split Unit Heat Pump to live in while building our house. The Heat Pump has an outdoor sensor that is adjustable and a chart that shows the cost of the back up source, Propane, Natural Gas, Oil or Electricity, to determine Outdoor Temperature Set Point to select for starting the Aux Heat and shut down the Heat Pump running in defrost for long periods.
    I also have an Emergency Heat selector on the T-stat in case the Heat Pump has a problem like burnt up compressor contactor (twice) and won't start up.

    Building my home using a Geothermal Heat Pump was my first Geothermal project as part of doing as much of the construction of my home as possible.

    On the topic of not having something to offer people on this website (per Doc), We all have something to offer, since we all have different experiences that if shared, picking the BS from Good Advice of course, the People on this site would benefit from our collective experiences.

    Getting ripped off in any endeavor where someone has what We as consumers want (Auto, Home, Land, Major Appliances,... etc) and The Pros want what We have (money), is a part of life. At least until you learn how to write a good contract, and scope out the price of what you are looking for. Then the Pro's see you as a difficult customer who only pays what is agreed upon, making a profit more difficult than having a customer who knows nothing and hopes he will be treated fairly.
    Been there, done that, and it didn't go well for me, but I'm a very fast learner.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  5. Stevethomas

    Stevethomas New Member

    Doc and Mark,

    Let's all share a Coke and sing...in perfect harmony. We can build the world a home with Geo and furnish it with love. Doc can grow apple trees and honey bees and Mark: snow-white turtle doves.
    ChrisJ likes this.
  6. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I do grow apple tress and have honey bees!

    But I agree, we are getting off topic here.
    I had a discussion with Mark about pond loop performance and how they work before, no need to repeat it.
    For anyone interested:
  7. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I learned at a young age living with Lake Erie as my back yard, that if you go boating take a good compass. Then do what it tells you to do. I look at a good thermometer like a compass read it and believe. This is starting to remind me of the 6 ft tall actuary that drown walking across a river with an average depth of 4 feet.

    I do not know about birds. I do know about white rabbits and caterpillars, thanks to Alice.
  8. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I guess the point is that people rarely use compasses anymore. You use GPS. It tells you where you are, where you need to go, how high you are, where you have been and what speed you are going, with much higher precision. It is like the difference between an old boiler and a geo heat pump system, or a radiant floor and a pond loop.
    Very different things nowadays.
    I can see how a 6 ft tall can drown in a river with an average depth of 4ft just following a compass. Having a GPS with the depth chart of the river plotted over your GPS location might help you to find the shallower and safer ways through the water.:)
  9. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Great plan unlearn your arithmetic since you have a battery powered calculator.
  10. Andrew Kulin

    Andrew Kulin Member

    Hi again.

    Getting ready for our second heating system with this geothermal and hoping the things we did over the summer help reduce our costs this winter. What we did:
    1. Had new HVAC contractor do a thorough overhaul/inspection of the system in July which included:
      • balancing the system - checked for leaks, adjusted airflows from registers, etc.
      • identified a slow leak in our geo-lines and repaired it using a leak filler (Stop Leak)
      • checked/adjusted the methanol/ethanol concentration in our system
    2. Purchased Ecobee 3 thermostat in May (replaced original Waterfurnace thermostat), had HVAC contractor program it
    With respect to the Ecobee settings (attached) I am questioning some of the temperature differentials, thinking they are too low. We were seeing during the summer the unit turning on and running for 15-30 minutes even when the temperature measured by the Ecobee seemed to be at the set point (based on reviewing the on-line plotting of Ecobee data), so I am wondering if these should be increased somewhat. I presume the other settings are fine.

    This is a cottage not a full time residence and in winter season we go up every 2 to 3 weeks so while away we'd set the temperature low (12-13C, 55F) and raise to 20C (68F) remotely before we go up for a weekend. I am hopeful that our electrical use this winter will be lower than last winter. Contractor and I both think the system as I inherited it with the Waterfurnace thermostat was calling for Aux. Heat way too often and that the Ecobee and fixes made will help alot. Electrical costs here in rural Ontario are ridiculous, averaged about $0.22/kWh last Dec-March, and $0.269/kWh since April (electricity, delivery, taxes).



    Attached Files:

  11. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    That dehumidifier can be turned off as the humidity drops. Hope you have a better result this year with your Waterfurnace Unit.
  12. Andrew Kulin

    Andrew Kulin Member

    I have been doing some monitoring of my geothermal system as the heating season is beginning and am concerned about its efficiency. I have measured a drop in the Delta T of the air being heated by the furnace since I ran a test back in June of this year where under Stage 1 Geo the average Delta T of the air was 26.3F in June and has dropped to between 22.5 and 23.0 F in October-November, although the Delta T of the loop fluid has remained at about -3.5 F. Under stage 2 Geo, the Delta T of the air in June was 30.4 F, now it is between 23.5 and 24.5 F. The Delta T of the loop fluid being measured under Stage 2 conditions though has decreased from about -5.9 F to between -3.9 to -4.5 F so I can understand some of this differential can be explained away by less heat being extracted from the fluid. I have attached a table with the numbers for reference. Is there a reason for this loss of heating capacity of the air? Could there be an issue with refrigerant levels? We have a lake loop if that is important to know, so I would expect that the loop temperatures will remain fairly stable at these lower levels over the winter once a blanket of snow covers the ground.

    The other thing I am observing, and this is through tracking via the Ecobee system, is under our mid-fall conditions, the unit is running a lot under stage 1 heating, but does not seem to move the temperature much (see 2nd attached figure). It is kind of an odd phenomena. The temperature seems to be roughly holding stable at the desired temperature (15C or 59 F), the unit powers up and the temperature at the thermostat then drops pretty quickly by about 0.5C (0.9 F) and then almost as quickly moves right back up to where it was originally (at roughly the desired temperature) and then stays there the whole time the unit is running. Unit shuts off, temperature looks to remain stable and then short time later the unit turns on again and repeats the pattern.

    This is troublesome because I am seeing the unit running and churning through our Province’s “golden” electricity (on latest hydro bill @ $0.25/kWh all in) with no apparent effect on the room temperature while the unit runs, nor any drop in room temperature to cause unit to power up in the first place.

    Appreciate any thought and insights.


    Attached Files:

  13. arkie6

    arkie6 Active Member Forum Leader

    Where is your duct work? Could you have a supply duct that has become disconnected and is dumping conditioned air outside of the conditioned space?
  14. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    As Arkie mentioned above, the temperature drops occur as the fan starts then comes back up. There must be some cold air getting into the system or some duct work outside the conditioned space that absorbs the heat from the air upon the fan start up.

    I took a look at my 4 Ton Single Stage Trane Geothermal owners manual tables to refresh my memory on expected parameters when heating with 55 degree loop temp vs 35 degree loop temp assuming loop flow is constant at 11 gpm. The 4 ton results are:

    55 degree EWT produces a 6 to 8 degree loop temperature drop with an air temperature rise of 29 to 38 degrees.
    35 degree EWT produces a 4 to 6 degree loop temperature drop with an air temperature rise of 23 to 29 degrees.

    Your 6 Ton Unit results are as follow:

    58 degree EWT produces a 5 degree loop temperature drop with an air temperature rise of 30.4 degrees.
    39 degree EWT produces a 4.5 degree loop temperature drop with an air temperature rise of 24 degrees.

    I would expect a 6 Ton Unit to produce more heat than a 4 Ton Unit, so your Unit is under performing at 58 and 39 degrees. You can check your performance using the table for heating in your Waterfurnace owners manual if you have it, or use the link at the bottom of this post to find the owners manual and Tables.

    You can check the flow rate using the pressure drop across your loop inlet and outlet compared to another table in your owners manual for delt P vs flow.

    If your flow is stable and at the flow rate called for in your manual, then you should have the freon charge checked.

    Waterfurnace Manual: http://www.waterfurnace.com/literature/premier/IM1555.pdf See pages 37 and 38 for performance tables.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
  15. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    When will it ever occur to you that the temperature raise (delta T) is a function of heat produced and the amount of air flowing through the coil (flow), and larger units have more air flow, which is why the the delta T for a 1 ton and a 6 ton is almost identical, since only the flow rate changes.
    Indeed, on page 37 of the installation manual, the typical air raise in heating mode is specified as 20-35F, independent of the size of the unit.
    So please don't tell someone here to have his freon charge checked, when his unit is performing to specs.

    Andrew, your changes are explainable with different entering water temps, you unit seem to be running fine.
  16. Andrew Kulin

    Andrew Kulin Member

    I don't think any ducts are disconnected but I will take a look at what I can see next time up there. I'll also check the outflowing air temp at the furnace immediately on start off a cycle to see if really cold air blows through it at the start.

    However my real question on this remains about the short period of temperature drop and the apparent lack of rising above the set-point temperature.

    A - The thermostat is nowhere near any heat register so in order for the room temperature to drop 0.5C (and the place is very open concept), there would have to be by my reckoning a lot of cold air pushed out by the system over a short period of time to do that across the entire living space? That does not seem feasible to me. The other aspect to this short temperature drop thing, I looked at a lot more Ecobee data and this effect does not always happen. There will be series of start-ups where the temperature does not show a drop, I'd say about 70% of the time this is during daylight hours, but sometimes also at night. I am not seeing any logical pattern to all this. There is an HRV on the system that runs all the time if that is information that may help.

    B - I see the system running on the Ecobee data for typically 30 - 60 minutes at a time then a short shut-down (say 15 minutes) and then restart. What is odd to me though is during the longer run times, I don't see the temperature ever going above my set temperature. It just flatlines. Again that seems odd to me and I'd like to see at least a little bit over the set point, if at the very least, to let the system be shutdown for longer time intervals while the temperature drops to the point where it triggers the system to start up again. Maybe it is a simple adjustment to the settings on my thermostat to get this to happen (I posted my Ecobee settings in this thread on Oct 27)

  17. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Don't be too fixated on the numbers. The system likely on runs in first stage, putting lesser capacity behind satisfying the thermostat, thus not increasing the temp too much.

    In addition, a thermostat produces heat, and the heat pump starting up starts circulating air around, disturbing the air around the temps sensor. Even a human walking by the thermostat creates micro circulation of air.
  18. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    It sounds as if your duct work is in the attic as mine was in Alabama. The duct has to be well insulated if that's the case. If not it will cool off your house with the cold duct work as the air starts flowing, since heat pump temperatures are low unlike gas fired furnace temperature Geo @ 95 degrees vs Gas @ 135 degree minimum for fan start, so the duct is slow in heating up.

    In the daytime the attic can warm up so the temperature drop doesn't happen since the duct work is warm. Then on some nights the attic may not cool down. Check the outside temperature at night and if it's cold the thermostat will drop the half a degree. If it's warm at night and the Room temp doesn't drop, you have your answer.

    On all of the digital Thermostats I've used, and its close to 10 now, the Thermostat shuts off at the set point temp, unlike the Mercury switch style that go 3 degrees high when heating then coast back down to set point and turn back on. There may be some programmed digital thermostats that simulate the Mercury Switch Thermostat like one that I used for a while on my Son's house until the Unit started tripping a month back so I used an old reliable Trane XL500.

    To get that 3 degree period someone on this sight will have to chime in who knows of a good programmable Thermostat that simulates the mercury switch thermostats. Like I said most digital thermostats cycle at set point 1 degree off starts, then at set point the unit stops. I disliked that immensely until it became normal to me over time.

    There is a person on this site who just replaced 2 geothermals and he has graphs of what it looks like to have Geothemal Units operating properly. I'll see if I can bring them here and drop them on a reply or tell you how to find them.

    I believe your Unit needs some help either with the loop water flow or the freon. Your Unit runs too long with a short rest period, that's bad for you electric use.
  19. Andrew Kulin

    Andrew Kulin Member


    I measured performance of the furnace today and came up with COP in the 2.4 Range. Not sure I did everything correctly. Attached file is from a spreadsheet and includes a copy of 3 tables from my Waterfurnace Manual as well as my measurements today and calculations. My incoming loop temperature was around 33 degrees F so I calculated flows using interpolated pressure drops from Waterfurnace's Table 2 for my unit. Are my calculations correct and if they are, how should I interpret this?

    Attached Files:

  20. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    Reviewing, you have a 6 Ton Closed loop Unit with a 2 Stage Compressor. I'm assuming Low means 1st Stage and High means 2nd Stage.

    1st Stage: The 7 psid loop water pressure drop across the Unit is 11 gpm loop flow per the graph which is on the low side of the recommended 10-13 gpm.

    2nd Stage: The 8 psid drop is 12 gpm loop flow per the graph which is below the minimum recommended flow of 13-16 gpm

    The recommended loop temperature drop across the Unit when heating is 4 to 8 degrees, while the as measured is 1st Stage (Low) 3.2 degrees and 2nd Stage (High) is 5.4 degrees. The Unit isn’t up to specifications on these parameters either.

    I noticed the Air Differential Temperature first since it stands out. Generally you should see a 30 degree increase in Air temperature across the Unit, regardless of Tonnage. The measured 20.5 in Stage 1 and 21.2 in Stage 2 are the result of poor performance due to low loop flow.

    I would figure out what's making the loop flow low, and fix it, then run the data again. When you produce closer to a 30 degree Delta T you can start looking for the other issues with your Unit causing your high heating bills.

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