Connecticut Excessive electric bills

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Kristi, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Cunningham's Law
  2. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I promised not to type to you, but I can not let this statement go down,

    Here we are, learn Doc's principles or walk.

    I know you never beat folks here if they do not agree with you.

    You have never accused me of not knowing my trade. I am too stupid by your idea to own a keyboard.

  3. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    Maurice has problems he can fix, then call in someone to remove, weigh and replace his Freon.

    He needs to stop calling in experts to fix his problems when he is capable of fixing them.
    To quote the kid in the local Geothermal Company commercial "Geothermal, it's not rocket science".

    I've operated, trouble shot and repaired complex systems in my life. A geothermal unit is one of the simplest system I have ever installed or worked on.

    I see the biggest threat to geothermal is the US Gov getting involved with tax incentives that cause contractors to severely overcharge customers.

    I would never heat and cool with Geothermal if I had to involve a contractor.

    One lifetime Heating & Cooling company owner who retired was given an estimate last summer in the 40s for an install by the Pros. He knew what the install should cost and decided not to use Geothermal. I told him we could buy the Unit and materials and do the install ourselves but he won't use Geothermal after getting that bad quote.
    Last edited: May 14, 2016
  4. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Didn't you start off by oversizing your own system, because you followed the rule of thumb advise by some local installer. Obviously you lacked know how on how to size it correctly. And obviously Maurice is struggling, and it is not so easy to trouble shoot a geo system and understand the details, plus you might not have all the tools ready. While not rocket science, many installer fail. You failed at square one.

    And obviously Maurice is struggling, and it is not so easy to trouble shoot a geo system and understand the details, plus you might not have all the tools handy. While not rocket science, many installer fail, like his, to even design an efficient system. One of my installers once said "It is very simple, and it is super complex."
    On paper is it very simple. Put loops in the ground, fill it with water (and antifreeze if needed), pump it through a heat pump, blow the air into the ductwork.
    But the devil is in the detail, and it is for the knowhow you pay for, and the professionalism, and the right materials.

    Yes, good systems are not cheap, but they deliver free energy which will be more and more valuable.

    One can oppose tax credits and other incentives to allow a renewable technology to enter the market place quicker, no question burning gas and oil and coal is cheaper. But I think we are getting to the point where we cannot afford this anymore, and have to invest more upfront into more expensive technology to deliver energy for space conditioning. Fossil fuels are simply becoming too expensive overall.

    Obviously if the lifetime heating and cooling contractor would have had the skills to put in a system himself he would have done it, instead of getting a quote.

    While you might be better off without a contractor, the feeling grows in me that the contractor might also be better off without you.

    Unfortunately you continue to make comments here without merit.
  5. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    You were doing great until the last line.

    Maybe you don't see the merit in what others or myself write, but someone else may benefit from a non-technical approach or point of view.

    A home owner can spend less than $10,000 on a Do It Yourself Geo Install, then spend another $1,000 correcting a loop design flaw and have a system they can maintain themselves due to the knowledge & practical experience they have gained by taking up the project. It's not Rocket Science, but some folks can make Geothermal appear to be to difficult to try alone in their own ome.

    Just a few items I found on line:

    Certified Geo Exchange Designer (CGD) Plus Course
    June 22-24 , 2016 - Stillwater, OK

    GEO Inspector Workshop
    July 20-21, 2016 - New York, NY

    · Rule of thumb for flow: 3 gal. per minute per ton of heating/cooling

    · Rules of thumb for well depth: Open Loop
    55-ft. depth per ton at 30% bleed
    85-ft. depth per ton at 10% bleed
    150-ft. depth per ton at 5% bleed or less

    · Rule of thumb for well depth: Closed Loop
    175-ft. depth per ton

  6. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    I was told I overdesigned my System by using 4 Tons instead of 3 Tons. Due to not considering heating as the major load in the North, my Unit is 1Ton undersized due to my error instead of 2 Tons Undersized by a Pro.

    I have $5,000 in material & Equipment and $2,000 in Trencher rental, the PE Weld Contractor for welding the loop, and the Methanol antifreeze. My Trane 4 Ton was $2,500 with shipping included in 2005 when I started the project.

    In 1997 a loop alone was running $8,000. If I had my way, there would be a Geothermal Unit in Every Home that has an employed occupant.
  7. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    You complain about the price for geo systems, and advocate DIYers. All fine.

    The point is that you promote the rule of thumb approach, but lack knowledge yourself, and I strongly urge people not to follow your comments here.
    Most of your statements could not more off:

    1) If you screw up the loop design, let me ensure you, it costs more than $1000 to fix that.

    2) Not sure why you refer to a CGD in view of DIY installs. A CGD is an advanced design certification by IGSHPA and the AEE for commercial application and large geothermal systems. It would be useless for a residential DIYer.

    3) Geo inspector workshop is a "The two day comprehensive Inspector Workshops are designed for Code Enforcing Inspectors for city, and state governments."
    Again, silly to suggest that to DIYers.

    4) We have 55ft deep open well system with 0% bleed supporting 14 tons of heat pump capacity. Your rules of thumb are, again, silly.

    5) Sure, 175ft/ton for vertical, but at what ground? Sand? Clay? Rock? What grout? What pipe size? And how do you get this done below $10,000?

    You continue to display a lack of knowledge. But nothing against DIYers. The information is out there, and people here (including myself) are happy to help too. But people who come here for help might get mislead by the things you state.
  8. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    The Thumb Rules I included in my post were presented to show you that they do exist, I didn't make them up.
    The same people that came up with the Thumb Rules state that they can be misleading due to all of the variables in soil at the location of the install as you mentioned.

    The courses were included to show you that Geo Installers can be Certified. That was another laughing point you made.

    If I knew every variable for my home and ground loop and could calculate to the infinite degree what size Geothermal Unit I would need, I would end up with a figure like 4.732 Tons. The industry only offers sizes rounded to the nearest Ton, like 1.5, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6 for Home use.

    It's important to select a Unit that fits your home, and in the North it's better to error on the high side with an extra Ton than to be undersized for winter heating. My point is you can use Thumb Rules, add some common sense based on your soil make up, adjust for the envelope leakage of your home and arrive at a workable size Geothermal Unit.

    DIYers won't use Wells for their loop unless they happen to be Water Well diggers, work for one or have a relative or friend that will dig a well(s) for a relatively cheap price. Most home owners will use a closed ground loop, slinky, pond or an open loop if they have access to unlimited water from their well which exists in some locations.

    There are people who will tell you "You Can't do this because______, ______,____". Fill in the blanks with reasons regardless of the topic. Those people will try to convince you that you will fail, there is no use in trying, it's too difficult, you don't own the right equipment, you don't have the right knowledge, and in fact that doesn't really work, even when installed by a pro. Especially if it has anything to do with Solar, Wind, or Geothermal.

    People who can read and have practical understanding of the world can learn to do anything relative to their home. Geothermal is simple enough to learn in a short period of time if you have a math, electronics and Earth Science background.

    My personal knowledge, I split the atom at age 20, I believe I know a thing or two.
  9. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I get it that rules of thumb exist, and someone else made them up. Trust me, I make my own rules of thumb, after I learned a for a few year via monitoring the systems what influence what system design change has performance.

    But if you emphasize DIY, why do you post rules of thumb for vertical systems which have to be drilled. And why do you post links to advanced commercial design courses or courses for code enforcement.
    I agree, geo is learnable and having a math, electronics and earth science background helps significant.
    Unfortunately, none of the many systems I was involved fixing which were designed by either DYI, installers or engineers had people with a combined background of math, electronics and earth science involved.

    The next problem is that many people can make it work, but the real art is making it work very efficient. Just look at the issues people turn here for help. The geo system works fine, but at the price of high energy costs, because people did not understand that it is a combination of things which determines if that 400% efficient heat pump runs with 450% efficiency, or with 150% efficiency.

    As a homeowner, you really benefit from someone who has done it many times before, has learned things from others, and knows what works and what does not work.

    You did not just take some atoms and threw them at each other to make them split when you were 20. You had someone who taught you a few things, took you by the hand, and has the right tools, setup and materials to help you with that.

    I can take a DIY by the hand, and tech them how to do this well. I have done so many times.

    The point is wether this is all doable by yourself? Of course it is. Can you save money doing it yourself? You might.

    Can you build a computer by yourself. Of course. But most people would fail. Can you do it cheaper by yourself? Maybe, but will it run well and how many hours do they need to figure it out. Thus most people go in a store and buy one. Is the store and the manufacturer entitled to make a profit. I think so. And most people rely on their computer working well so much that it is worth it for them to buy a high quality product with a standardized design, with a network of dealers who help quickly when it fails and they need it most.
    But if you don't need all that, sure, bolt your own computer together.

    You are not the first one who comes here, complains about the prices for geo, thinks he can do it better and cheaper, but his comments reveal how little he or she understands about the technology.
  10. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    If your Trane were 2 stage or variable speed, the $2,500 price tag would be great. 10 year old prices on what was 20 year old design at that time are not relevant today nor are any other 10 year old prices. One can say that they saved a ton by being their own electrician, plumber and mechanical contractor and dodged silly expenses such as code or permits (as DIY's often do) but to continue to accuse folks of gouging who are obliged to be licensed, pull permitS (yes as many as 4) and have overhead is very ignorant for an old atom splitter like you.
    After all one can split an atom with the push of a button and buttons are just a couple of bucks at Radio Shack so why does DTE charge electric consumer's so much for the energy it yeilds. (kinda looks dumb when one ignores all the obvious infrastructure and cost of doing buisness huh?).
    Hey do we use rules of thumb when we build Nuke plants? Just wondering you seem to place a lot of value on rules of thumb.

    Doc I actually contacted IGSHPA when they were drafting the inspector course I thought maybe they'd like an inspector's input. Hope they got it somewhere else.
    What all consumers should know (at least if governed by the IRC or IMC) is there is no content that assures performance of a geo system and the additional page and a half of geo language does little more than add the requirement of tagging our loops to identify the brine mix.
    On inspector forums I routinely get crickets when I ask what other mechanical inspectors do to protect building owners from bad geo systems. For my part requiring loop performance data (per code) is enough to scare off most of the wanna-be's.
  11. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader


    The installation standard is something we struggle with, and I am opposed to, since it is close to impossible to enforce. Loop performance (besides installation practice) is determined by 2 things, 1) low pressure drop but still maintaining somewhat of turbulent flow at higher loads, and 2) peak loop temperatures under high load conditions.
    What is our standard? 15 ft of hd a good number for pressure drop for the loop? What reynolds number? And peak load? Who has performance numbers over the season?
    Shall inspectors to come back and measure COP after 6 months? Or temperature under peak load? Or delta T? or Flow?
    And then you look at IGSHPA not even recognizing dual stage fully. And they are far away from understanding variable speeds.

    The heat pumps are already standardized, come pre-charged, and are a bolt in item.
    It is the loops and the load side distribution which determines if the heat pumps runs at 450% efficiency or 150% efficiency.
  12. Hi,
    I have (2) 3 ton Climate Master Genesis heat pumps (both in the basement), an HBX ECO-1000 version 1.10, (2) Unico systems (one in the attic and one in the basement), a TACO box from the HBX going to the water tank in a 4,000 sq. ft. 1860 Victorian in CT. The system was installed in 2009 and it has been a nightmare. I've spent a fortune on electricity and repairs and cannot go one month without having to work on it.

    The company that installed it did not stand behind their work. They kept telling me it was because my house was not properly insulated. One year later, I had foam insulation blown into the walls and attic and nothing changed the electric bill even though I concurrent to the geo installation had a 43 panel solar array installed thinking it would off-set the electric bills. I also had previously replaced all the windows with heat mirrored argon gas filled double paned windows. The electric bills in the winter have run $800.00+ per month.

    I called in every company's rep to help. When I called Climate Master I was told the units were not sold by them. They had been diverted and they would not provide support - hence I have had to pay every time they fail or there is a problem.

    Today, both pumps have siezed up. I called HBX and immediately got help over the phone. The system does not automatically change from cold weather to hotweather and I have to do it manually. There were two items not programmed correctly. (I don't know if it was me or the last guys who worked on the equipment) and although I had selected always cold and turned off the heat demand, the heat kept over riding the system. HBX instructed me to turn the zone module off and turn on user 3 way valve to get the heat to stop over riding the cooling.

    I just threw the circut breaker off for the pumps. Here are my questions:
    1. how long should I wait until I turn them on to see if the heat pumps will work?
    2. once the red light is on showing the pumps have seized up - do I have to call in someone again to do something to the wiring or will they reset themselves now that the HBX is correctly telling them what to do?

    Thanks for your help and insight.
  13. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader


    Start a new thread.
  14. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    Assumptions: 1) "Both pumps seized up" is the same as "Unit Compressors shut down on a fault".
    2) "Opened the breaker to the Pumps" is the same as "Opened Breaker to Geothermal Units".

    Opening the breaker to a Geothermal Unit, then Reclosing the breaker will reset the protective feature that shut down the compressor. It will be ready to run.

    An exception would be if a component failed, such as the 24 vac transformer that powers the contactor/relay which supplies power the compressor. I had this problem after a losing one of two power leads to the house.

    1. how long should I wait until I turn them on to see if the heat pumps will work?
    On a protective trip, I would look at the LED which flashes the trip code before opening the Geothermal Unit breaker. A home owner trained in electrical safety could do the same, otherwise don't open up the Unit while the breaker is closed.

    You can take a look at the Thermostat /Controller to determine why the protective trip occurred if you have that option, and fix the issue if it's a component set up issue as you saw with the HBX manual setup requirement.

    I would treat the Geothermal Unit the same as a computer and turn the power back on after a short delay less than a minute if I knew what caused the trip and took any required action.

    2. once the red light is on showing the pumps have seized up - do I have to call in someone again to do something to the wiring or will they reset themselves now that the HBX is correctly telling them what to do.
    Cycling the power breaker will reset the trip/fault sensed by the protective circuits and the Geothermal Units will be ready to run.

    If your Units had been under warranty (which they aren't from what I read) or Money Is No Object, call someone every time your Unit Trips.
    Otherwise keep asking questions on this website and continue learning how your system works.
  15. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Deb, move you post to a new thread! We will be happy to help then.
  16. Thanks for this response. I waited about 30 minutes after turning the breaker off and then turned it on. The red lights were gone. The pumps started. They were at 113 degrees and were set for 46 degrees. After the pumps were showing 47 degrees and they had been running around 3 hours, the first floor never got cooler than 73 degrees and I had not turned on the call for cool for the second floor because I wanted to be sure the first floor was cool first.

    I turned on the second floor call for cool. It did not come on. I turned it off and tried a couple of times and still nothing. I went to the basement, turned off the circuit breaker, waited about 2 minutes and turned the breaker on. I came back upstairs and still nothing after waiting a couple of minutes. Then I changed the filter, went back to the basement, flipped the breaker again waited and turned it back on.

    This time it worked - for a while. The temp was 81 degrees. It took hours only to get it down to 76 degrees. Finally it went to 74 degrees and stayed there. The temp on the thermostat was asking it to be 68 degrees.

    Around 4:00am with the fan running and no cooling on the second floor, I turned it off. It went back to 78 degrees by 6:00am and I turned on the call for cool again. I haven't touched in since then and it is running but the temp is only 72 degrees. Concurrently, I turned off the first floor around 6:00am because the outside temp was the same as the inside temp.

    I have the drapes drawn. I've made lined drapes for every window (there are 46 windows - all of which have been upgraded as I wrote earlier).

    The temp of the tanks are where they should be. At 46 degrees there should be no reason either floor working as a stand alone call for cool should not be reaching the proper temperature. The fan is set on auto on both thermostats.

    One last comment, 2 years ago the company that has been servicing this equipment put in a new thermostat, a Honeywell on the second floor. The down button will not advance lower than 68 degrees. I changed the batteries 2 days ago with new batteries.

    Does anyone have an idea why:
    1. the house is not cooling to the temperatures as stated on each thermostat
    2. why the Unico stops responding to the call
    3. why the Unico stops whenever and then starts up whenever regardless of what the thermostat is asking for?

  17. Dinnerbellmel

    Dinnerbellmel New Member

    I don't think she understands what a new thread there a mod or administrator that can create one for her?
  18. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    I found Climate Masters website with Warranty, see the link below.

    Note the bold letters in the paragraph below: "heat pump units built or sold by CM".

    Looks like these folks could use a letter from a Lawyer to get their attention. It appears they don't expect home owners to read their Warranty/Contract.

    GRANT OF LIMITED EXPRESS WARRANTY CM warrants its Residential Class products, purchased and retained in the United States of America and Canada, to be free from defects in material and workmanship under normal use and maintenance as follows: (1) Air conditioning, heating and/or heat pump units built or sold by CM (“CM Units”) for ten (10) years from the Warranty Inception Date (as defined below).
  19. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    Can you say "Underestimate & Insult a Guest"?

    I knew you could.
  20. You are absolutely correct. I do not know how to create a new thread. I would appreciate help creating it.

    There are many more details about the trouble I've had and the lack of follow up I've had. I truely would appreciate help.


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