Geo pump kicking out and freeze light coming on.

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Danny Erickson, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. Danny Erickson

    Danny Erickson New Member

    Hello, I have a 5 ton closed loop system. Its been really cold here the last few days. 40 to 50 below windchill. My heat pump kicks out and aux heat kicks on. When this happens it seems to force the water out of the pump pak. the freeze light comes on. I usually have to reset the breaker in order for the heat pump to come back on. I have been told maybe it still has air in the system. Any ideas on this?
  2. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Would need entering and leaving water pressure and temperatures.
  3. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Air in a loop system will stop flow better than a ball valve.

  4. Ken Culp

    Ken Culp New Member

    Exact same situation! New install (5ton) with compressor shut down issue. Heat strip kicks on when we reach 0 degrees outside, compressor error, can only reset at the box.

    Iowa temps terrible this winter ... Best to resolve on warranty.

    We called the installer and they are adding glycol antifreeze, now we are on trip 5 to our house with a 5 gallon bucket). Mother Nature tests it each night with below zero weather. They are taking it down to 19 degrees protection (loop temp incoming was 38 and outgoing 32 ...antifreeze comes out to about 25% concentration) .. So when the compressor gets slushy loop water shuts down ....and we hope this last 5 gallons fixes it! My electrical bill was through the roof this month!

    We should compare notes, definitely! Next fix will be motherboard.
  5. Ken Culp

    Ken Culp New Member

    Update: inadequate concentration of antifreeze was the problem. We hit -8F last night and the compressor didn't trip. Have the installer come back and check your protection level/glycol.
  6. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    should be freeze protected to about 15F
  7. mtrentw

    mtrentw Active Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I've learned that many manufacturers recommend 25% glycol to prevent biologicals. I recently increased min to this number and am protected to about 13-14 degrees.
  8. Danny Erickson

    Danny Erickson New Member

    Thanks for all the replies. I really hope its the low antifreeze, my house is about 180 miles from the nearest repair man. They did add some and worked great for a couple weeks, but as soon as it got below below 0 it kicked out again and the freeze light comes on. Its funny it will work all day great then when it gets really cold over night it will kick out at some point. When I reset it in the morning it runs fine the most of the day, I assume its just thawing out during the down time? He's coming back again this week with a hydrometer to check. he didn't have one before. The first batch of fluid we checked froze solid in the freezer in about 2hrs, the second batch with more anti freeze added got slushy in about 10 hours. hopefully this will fix the cause.
  9. Mike Kurschat

    Mike Kurschat New Member

    I've have the same problem, every year late in the winter here in Michigan. Last year my geo-techs installed new glycol mix in the loops, they say the mix is good.

    It happens near the end of every cold winter, when it gets really cold out. Monday it was -13 f (13 below), and it happened again (3rd time this winter). The pumps make a "swooshing" sound, it's just a little different than normal. I can't get the tech guy to come out when it happens because EVERYONE needs them when it's that cold outside. So, I shut down the system (we have a wood burning stove as a back-up) and then it'll work after a couple days, depending on how cold it stays outside. Spring is just about here, so it's probably going to work again tomorrow, and will be fine for the rest of the season.

    To know for sure, I'm buying the pressure test gauge from Ebay. I'm told I can test the pressure going into the compressor, and compare it with the pressure coming out of the compressor. When one is high and the other is low, the ground loops are freezing up. (see "GEOTHERMAL LOOP PRESSURE GAUGE W/ NEEDLE FOR PT PETE PORT")

    I think my geo-loops have just extracted all the warmth out of the ground, and they're slushing up. The guy who installed the loops didn't bury them deep enough. I'll either have to install new, or cover them so they're deeper.

    Danny, let me know if that fixes it. I'm very interested.

    Any other ideas?
  10. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Hi mike, there's two things I'd do. One test the actual freeze protection of your loops and two, monitor the temperatures. If you have Wifi and are handy, you can install a thermostat or logger that will monitor the temps of entering/leaving water. You can buy a tool to test antifreeze protection or if you are not too far from me we can arrange a look.
    Possibilities if the coax is actually freezing are low antifreeze, low refrigerent, low gpm, short loopfield.
  11. ACES-Energy

    ACES-Energy Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    We have been to a series of installation this winter that we are just taking over the service of, mainly because there seems to be install happy companies around but a lack of qualified technicians. One test I have my tech's do to show the homeowner exactly what is in their loop is put it in a clean glass and in the freezer with a thermometer, watch it for a bit and when it turns slushy, show customer and the reading on the thermometer submersed in the glass, that is the freeze point. It is an easier sell to upgrade their glycol concentration when they can be hands on in the process.
  12. Ken Culp

    Ken Culp New Member

    I am having the same problem, new installation 5Ton Bryant with 6 vertical loops (bored 18 ft deep x 400 ft each). We have an internal manifold in the utility room. Mid winter we were incoming 36 degrees, delta 5 degrees) and we started adding antifreeze immediately, but at the time of this last circuit board trip we were protected to 17 degrees with glycol. So according to my calculations we have an 80 gallons system and we are at 20 gallons of antifreeze. This is mid-January when we did this.

    Fast foward time. This March 1 weather is coldest in Iowa I've seen in awhile. Yesterday, the incoming loop was 23.3 degrees and outgoing was 20.1 degrees (delta is real low, I know). What do you think happens at these temps? I'll tell you. The compressor closes down, but the Climate Master Board sends and error signal and NEVER reboots (continuous flashing). The first month this happened my 10KW electric heater ran ALL THE TIME and my electric bill was $400!!! I was furious. I called the installer, he doesn't read the error code. He assumes the incoming is slushy.

    What do I do? I shut down the whole thing, the aux runs for about 50 minutes, compressor comes back on and we are fine.

    The installer doesn't want to add more antifreeze because he thinks it will be too thick. BUT the manual says to go down 15 degrees lower than the current. Should we really take the antifreeze level down to 2 degree F protection?? I think this is the worst of the winter, but don't know.

    Why doesn't the Climate Master board reboot or something where the user can be assured it will EVENTUALLY go back to the using the compressor? I feel like I have to "BABYSIT" this. If I am not home, we would run on AUX all the time and 10kw heater is COSTLY heat !!!! Right now I feel TOTALLY RIPPED OFF and wish I would stayed with natural gas (this was a replacement, not new construction).
  13. dgbair

    dgbair Just a hobby Forum Leader

    I would guess one or more of your vertical loops is air locked. (or perhaps they were not installed correctly) Can you tell us more about the loops? Type of soil, size of pipe. (I not sure what "bored 18 ft deep x 400 ft each" means, but maybe that makes sense to the pros here) I would never expect your EWT to get that low.
  14. Ken Culp

    Ken Culp New Member

    The loops were bored horizontal 18 feet deep. Each loop was tested before fill, but I do have the manifold access so they could check. They water circulated each loop with and diluted the antifreeze once it filled the line, expelling air. That was installed in the summer. I watched everything carefully, don't see how air lock could be a factor really. Maybe when the manifold is buried in the yard, but not when inside and you can control fill each loop with the valve - unless it is air lock after install?

    In July we tested antifreeze after several days of circulating and had 25F protection.

    The soil is somewhat sandy, but they used mortar to fill around loop tubing when they bored them in. We had a dry summer. Each loop is 200 feet out, 200 feet in=400 ft total (I had ample land). I have 6 loops.

    Again, exact symptom of the subject line in this thread. Freeze light on the motherboard flashes, ELECTRiC heat kicks in but, when the compressor warning light flashes. I shut it down, goes to back to geo/electric working together even though it is cold. It does work with the EWT that low! We checked the antifreeze, installer called the factory rep, and he said 17F protection was enough.

    But I have to do this power off/on 3-4 times a week to reset the compressor! Why?

    At first I let it go and just thought " ok electric heat this month" as we were -8F most of Dec. I have a dual meter and we get a discount on geo electric use. The house was chilly, but I am a newbie and didn't know any better. The utility bill came and I went ballistic. Geo should help, there was no symbiosis between electric and geo at all.

    The installer thinks next year the earth will settle and improve, but yea I watched him measure the temps and the EWT was that low. How do I get him to check for air lock, does this show up as a pressure reading ?
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2014
  15. Mysterwii

    Mysterwii New Member

    I am in the same boat with fault lights tripping on in low temperatures. My Water Furnace geothermal heat pump locks out on cold nights (less than 20 degrees F) while indicating a water flow fault. When it does this it shuts down the Geothermal portion of the system and runs emergency heat. I have a TED (The Energy Detective). When running normally the geothermal system runs 1-2.5 KW. When it requires an auxiliary heat assist it runs 2.5-4.5 KW. When it gives up on geothermal side and trips out to the red water flow light the electric demands goes to 7.5 KW and stays there until I reset the system at the breaker panel. I measured the loop temperatures which come in around 44 and 47 degrees F when it is tripped out on average. The lowest low I have ever read on the line was 36 F. The system has been tripped out over 40 times in the last month where our average temperature was 23 F. I don't think the system should be tripping out when the line temperatures still have heat to give, (lines with temps in the 40's F.) My installer says the water flow light is tripping out due to the temperature sensor registering too low of temperature on the internal heat exchange loop, and that there is no temperature sensor on the water flow loop.

    This problem has been occurring ever since the system was installed 5 years ago. My installer has checked it many times and has concluded that there is nothing wrong. They have checked the water temperatures, water pressure, attempted to remove air from the lines, added antifreeze, changed a coil, and verified that the temperature sensor is not faulty. At this point, the installer is not providing us with much more support so we are trying to determine what to do in order to avoid further electric bills that are sky high. I do know that the geothermal system is in a poorly insulated portion of my basement where the room temperature is around 45 F on very cold nights. I also know that when I run my wood stove in the basement the water flow red light never trips. It also never trips with outside temperature greater than 30 F. Any help with sorting out this puzzle would be appreciated. Thank you.
  16. Danny Erickson

    Danny Erickson New Member

    Well after numerous calls and adding anti freeze the problem has been solved. I have a geosystems heatpump, on the circuit board when you take off the front cover there is a freeze point switch. When it is off it is set for 33 degrees, when it is turned on it is set for 15 degrees freeze point. mine was set to off. I turned off the power, switched the switch to on and its been running great. It has been -20 below for 3 days now and it hasn't kicked out yet, aux heat hasn't even kick on to help. If you guys are having problens i would check this out. I called numerous experts, suppliers/manufacuters heating and hvac guys about this and nobody seemed to know. Finally i called an old heating guy and he told me over the phone what was wrong and how to check this. i did it myself and my misery is over i hope. Hope all you guys get yours working. thanks for info and help
  17. Danny Erickson

    Danny Erickson New Member

    ken culp, check this out it sounds like the same problem i was having
  18. Ken Culp

    Ken Culp New Member

    Thanks Danny. I looked into it and see that on my board it needs to be clipped and isn't a jumper... Not for end user or at least I don't feel comfortable. Why didn't my installer know this? The default is to trigger at 33F like yours which correlates to my trouble. I will call the factory tech support to ask as I don't think the installer will even listen to me anymore. Looks like it was water in 23.8 water out 18.5F so the delta is better... Just very cold.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2014
  19. dgbair

    dgbair Just a hobby Forum Leader

    ok, so you are really talking about horizontal loops.. so the "bored 18 ft deep x 400 ft each" statement makes much more sense now. How did they bore horizontal holes at 18'? I'm also wondering how they are ensuring good soil contact. How well does soil 'settle' at 18' down? What size pipe did they bury; 3/4", 1.25 ?

    If they purged each loop one by one with a decent pump then air in the line should not be a issue.... but I would be wondering about good soil contact.
  20. Ken Culp

    Ken Culp New Member

    Yes .. sorry if that was confusing. Pipe size was 3/4 inch. The soil contact is where the installer thinks we'll do better next year with settling and it also when he is off the hook warranty wise.

    The compressor froze again just a few minutes ago. While writing this. I just turned it off and "rebooting" again. If I were to check incoming water temps no doubt it would be similar to above. But it will run, all I want is for geo and electric to work together in extreme weather!

    Guys, this is a royal pain! I don't want to sit and watch for EM heat indicators. But it is -12F tonight, the worst March ever. This temp freeze point switch Danny is talking about may be the way to go and increase antifreeze protection. I don't know if the installer will take the antifreeze concentration higher, he thinks it will be too thick ( but I see nothing in the product manual warning about going too high).
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014

Share This Page