North Carolina Geothermal questions related to solenoid valves

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Rick M., Jul 16, 2019.

  1. Rick M.

    Rick M. New Member

    Hi all - sorry for my first post to be such a long one! So much background information that I think is necessary for the discussion.

    I am in the difficult spot of trying to help my mother out with her geothermal system – she is about 2 hours away and is passing along information from the technicians “grapevine style” I’m sure. Her system is old. Probably 20 years old. But being on limited income as a retiree, replacement is daunting. So she has been trying to get it fixed. The primary symptom – a solenoid valve is repeatedly failing and letting the well pump run constantly whether the unit is running or not. This valve just failed for the 3rd time – the new valves have been lasting approximately one month.

    First failure – tech said it was the valve and replaced it. It was an old valve. No big deal.

    Second failure – tech said it failed again because of orange slime in her well. Told her to have it “treated” and then he would return and replace the valve. Mom had her well guy treat the iron bacteria via chlorine shock. She had to refrain from using the geothermal for 48 hours while the chlorine did its work. Well man came back after the 48 hours and said her 200 foot well has no rust remaining. Tech replaced the valve.

    Third failure – just happened yesterday. Now the tech is telling her that his plumbing supply house is telling him that the valve they have been selling him was the wrong one and the “correct” one is about twice as much. So he wants to replace the valve with this higher priced one. The concern is obviously, pay twice as much, get the same result in ~30 days.

    So rather than getting into a bunch of the thoughts in my head, I wanted to reach out to the experts and get your opinion. The reality is, the only thing mom is “out” by just letting the well run is the power cost to run the pump – and the chance that the well runs dry. The discharge point is into the river so there isn’t an issue with getting rid of the water. And it is simply well water so there shouldn't be an environmental issue created.

    So, what say the experts? Thanks in advance!!
  2. mrpac

    mrpac Member

    If this is simply a valve issue, then it doesn't seem all that bad.

    If the water quality is deteriorating the valve operation, then see about having the water quality addressed in order to eliminate further issues.

    There could be some value in researching the part number/valve that was replaced, and the new model that is proposed. There could be some differences that will make things more reliable.

    In my opinion, most parts replaced today are with a much poorer quality. Get the best for your budget.

    I see hundreds of valves and solenoids in my business, never are valves/solenoids replaced at the same location in any given month.

    Don't run things for no reason. Hydro is too much money nowadays.

    Fix the problem, even if it takes the 2hr drive to properly see what is going on.
  3. Rick M.

    Rick M. New Member

    Thanks for the information - I agree, I have never seen valves fail at this frequency. The hvac guy said it was water quality so we tried to fix that by shocking the well. Only to have the valve fail again within 30 days. Hvac guy was there today and replaced the valve again. I have attached a few pictures of it. He is saying the orange slime is still present and caused the failure. I don't know what a valve that fails due to orange slime would look like so perhaps someone here can chime in on it. (sorry for pic quality, I know it isn't great) Now that she paid the guy today for this valve to be replaced she is hesitant to call the other guy to come out on Friday. I'm hoping she does - just to let someone else have a look at the valve that was replaced and say whether it truly should have failed with that small buildup or not. She kept the valve so she can show it to the next guy.
    IMG_0724.JPG IMG_0725.JPG IMG_0726.JPG
  4. mrpac

    mrpac Member

    Looks like iron to me. After the well was super-chlorinated, it should be flushed somehow to loosen all of the debris - but not through the equipment if possible.

    I prefer good quality ASCO RedHat valves and actuators.

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