Geo pump kicking out and freeze light coming on.

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

  1. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Danny it's interesting that the guy who checked your antifreeze didn't check whether you were set for open or closed loop. Meanwhile anyone with a monitored system would have known immediately what was up.....incompetent installers probably don't want their systems monitored.......more the reason we should.
  2. Ken Culp

    Ken Culp New Member

    Jumper switch to lower water temp was set long ago (our installer says), our latest temps outside are -12F and the geo unit froze up twice last night after posting! guess we are out of ideas....
  3. Danny Erickson

    Danny Erickson New Member

    Joe, I think the biggest thing around here is that geo is just starting to take off. and not a lot of people understand it. I've talked to numerous HVAC guys, including the installer and the manufacturer and nobody ever brought up the open and closed loop freeze point switch. Finally by chance I talked to and old boy that's been around awhile in the Heating business, and that's the first thing he brought up. I've read a lot of blogs on here and nobody's brought it up either. I'm just glad its working right now and hope it continues to work. Could be its easy money to come back time and time again for these guys and acting stupid? Thanks again. Ken I hope you get yours straightened out.
  4. Danny Erickson

    Danny Erickson New Member

    Hmmmm well it wouldn't hurt to double check just in case ken! Like I said , I called about 5 different HVAC guys before I got it right.
  5. Danny Erickson

    Danny Erickson New Member

    Is it possible maybe the switch is no good? New circuit board? sensor burnt out. Im just throwing out suggestions, maybe they are nonsense. but must be a way to test them.
  6. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    When you say "freezing up" is that literall or are we talking frost on the compressor or.....?
    Danny, if a service tech was in your home for nuisance fp lock-outs and didn't check that I would suggest he knows nothing about geo. The reason you don't see it brought (although it has come up ) very often is because it is so elementary. Amongst the other things we don't ask when people have no heat, is whether the thermostat is turned on.
  7. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader


    I have forgotten where you are located.

    Clipping the jumper is easy. If you have an electric meter and a pair of side cutters, I'll talk you through the project by phone.

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
  8. Danny Erickson

    Danny Erickson New Member

    Well It might me elementary, but when you call 5 companies and the manufacturer and other people that are suppose to be experts, you would think one of them would mention it. Funny you should bring up the thermostat, had a neighbor that has geo and his ac wouldn't work..... he thought you didn't have to switch geo from heat to ac lol just worked automatically. Anyhow its working for now, im happy and shit happens. its usually the simplest things that bite people in the asses.
  9. Mike Kurschat

    Mike Kurschat New Member

    Thanks AMI and ACES. You guys ROCK.

    Recap for Ken: I get a "low pressure" error, the compressor shuts down. Thus, I am stuck with either resistance electric (which I normally keep off) or my wood burning stove.

    My problem was low pressure in the in-house plumbing system. The pressure gauge near my holding tank was reading 17 lbs (good), and had been reading that for many months. I remembered a movie about a German submarine and recalled that they would tap the pressure gauges to get the more accurate reading. So I tapped my gauge a few times, and BAM - went to ZERO! I had no pressure in the house loop system (note, that's the ground loops). When the liquid got too cold, it contracted enough to result in a low pressure failure. The swishing noise was probably slush circulating, or lack of circulation. Moreover, I took a sample of the glycol, and it froze almost solid in my freezer. When it's 15 below outside, those lines almost certainly freeze up, at least partially. In any case, I added water to the system and brought the pressure up to 15 lbs. It worked fine last night (-5 f) but I know I need new glycol.

    If you're wondering how I get so much "evaporation" in a closed system, an engineer I know explained how water vapor passes through various materials (Copper, plastic, rubber, gasket material, etc). My system is unique it that the lines in our attic are made of rubber "heater core hose", a "brilliant" idea from my installer. Rubber is way more permeable than copper, so I lose LOTS.

    Since I replace the fluid in the geo loops last year, I think the fluid is OK.

    One problem I know I have with my loops is from (the same brilliant) installer. Horizontal loops, about 6' down, in swampy soil. Don't know the other specs. Problem is when they were installed, he didn't fill them with fluid and anchor them BEFORE the excavator covered them. So they floated on top of the water, and are not as deep as they should be.

    I checked the pressure in the geo loops with my newly delivered special P/T gauge: 0 psi incoming, and 0 psi outgoing. When the pump kicks on, the incoming moves slightly to about 1-2 psi. I think I need more pressure in the loops. I don't (yet) have a thermometer to check the temps. I will get that soon. THANKS GUYS!

    What should the pressure read in my geo loops? Anyone know?
  10. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader


    I run my systems in the 12 to 15 psi range. I also pipe the systems just like any hydronic system with expansion tank, air eliminator, make up water and a back flow device.

    I understand what what your engineer is thinking, but I have never since Jimmy Carter was the President, seen migration through material cause a system to go flat. If that is truly what is happening cars would over heat all the time. I fear you may have a leak.

    How and why did you replace the fluid in the loop field?

    How did you add water when you discovered the pressure gauge was stuck?

    zero in and zero out tells me you did not add enough fluid. There is some fluid as shown by your slightly off zero reading. Pumps will not pump air. If you hear sounds in the pipes you are hearing air not slush.

    If your loops when back-filled did not sink to the bottom of the trench I would be surprised. The wet soil is your friend as it allows the best heat transfer. If the loops are even a foot below frost line your loop field will work with the proper antifreeze.

    I do not know how far Joe will travel, he is in Howell. Being between Cedar Point and downtown Cleveburg you are in my AO. In fact our cat used to live in Warren.

    BTW: Hello and welcome.

  11. Ken Culp

    Ken Culp New Member

    Installer says the low water temp switch is already set, but thanks Mark!
  12. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Pressure in a pressureized system should not be zero, but you could look at a non pressurized flow center which would make adding fluid easy and cut back on leakage. If loops are truely in a swamp then they are likely ok even if they are shallower than planned. what are entering and leaving water temps?
    TJamesW likes this.
  13. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    To all:

    Be aware that the glycol used by many supply shops is cryotek 100, which only contains 70% glycol, the rest are rust inhibitors. Thus many people assume that a 25% solution contains 25% glycol, when in reality there is only 15% in there. Typical issue with fresh loops, which drop more down in the 1st season. You have to measure the concentration. You think you fixed the problem, and it continues. Also be aware that if you add antifreeze, you also drain antifreeze out. Again, do the measurements!
  14. TJamesW

    TJamesW Member

    From what I read, alcohols work better due to lower viscosity, but Glycol seems most commonly used. Is the toxicity of the alcohols the problem? I'm in Michigan and MI state documents online say you can use alcohols, but maybe these are outdated?
  15. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Nope, we use methyl at 80/20 in MI
    TJamesW likes this.
  16. TJamesW

    TJamesW Member

    Just what I wanted to hear. Thanks! Any brand you prefer?
  17. ACES-Energy

    ACES-Energy Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    We have found methanol is methanol, and buy it from a local chemical supply company. BUT I dont promote it and probably much more $$, but you could even use windshield washer fluid, has methanol in it. I recently changed two systems out that were installed in the early 80's by the same installer and both had blue windshield washer fluid it it. Drained it out and was like new...
    TJamesW likes this.
  18. TJamesW

    TJamesW Member

    That's funny! How about the water? Distilled? De-ionized?
  19. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Tap water is fine. I don't know where you are in MI, but we have a supplier near lansing that you can buy drums of 80/20 from and avoid the risk of straight alcohol
    TJamesW likes this.
  20. TJamesW

    TJamesW Member

    Not a bad idea. Please share the name if that's allowed on the forum?

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