Ground Loop Warranties

Discussion in 'Geothermal Loops' started by GeoDosch, Aug 3, 2017.

  1. Craig K

    Craig K New Member

    I put a written claim in to WF via their dealer, as called upon in the warranty. A month later with no action I call WF and they have no record of my claim. The dealer says he corresponded with two people at WF yet the customer relations department has no record. Today I'm told I need to get a pressure test, why couldn't I have been told this shortly after I put the claim in?
     
  2. geoxne

    geoxne Active Member Forum Leader

    I would have to disagree. Three experienced professionals, including myself, recommended converting to a NON-pressurized system to significantly reduce or even eliminate loop leakage.

    Your "solution" treats the symptom not the cause. Also, my locality does not allow autofeed to a ground loop because of the possibility of injecting contaminants into the ground.
    http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dep/water/laws/a-thru-h/gshpguid.pdf
    MassDEPMakeupFluid.JPG
     
  3. GeoDosch

    GeoDosch New Member

    That is true, and if my loop continues to lose fluid at an unacceptable rate, then converting to a non-pressurized loop will be my next course of action. If time and money were of no concern to me, I might have jumped right to that step. But those are, unfortunately, things which also needed to be factored into my decision.

    The company working on the system is a WaterFurnace dealer, so I would also consider them experienced professionals. I asked them about converting the system to non-pressurized, and his recommendation was to use a booster pump, mainly due to the cost of converting the system.
    I'm very environmentally conscience, which is why I spent a small fortune to put in a GSHP in the first place. When it was first installed I confirmed that the antifreeze is non-toxic, and since having this issue I've carefully read the MSDS on it (it's mostly ethanol and water.) And since my water is from a well on my property, I wouldn't be taking a chance on contaminating the groundwater with anything I thought would be harmful.

    You seem to be of the opinion that booster pumps shouldn't be used. I'm not saying it's wrong to take other approaches, such as converting the system to non-pressurized. But this provides a more cost-effective solution that IMO is appropriate for some situations. And it seems that at least some in the industry agree with that, or they wouldn't be making these pumps. In fact, the one I installed is made by the same company whose non-pressurized flow center you referred me to in an earlier post.

    I carefully track exactly how much fluid I've added to the pump since it was installed, literally filling the tank with a measuring cup, then tracking how I've added, and when, so I'll know if the loss rate is going up, down, or holding steady. I've also been successful in lowering the loss rate by lowering the loop pressure a bit.

    The help and advice I've received here has been very helpful, and I appreciate it. But in the end I must decide what's going to be best for my system, and my wallet.
     
  4. geoxne

    geoxne Active Member Forum Leader

    I agree. Please do not perceive my post as a condemnation of the course you have taken under your circumstances. It's purpose was to express the preferred solution among professionals with the greatest possible outcome.
     
  5. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Without actual " boots on the ground " at GeoDosch house, we are all just offering advice. Thinking inside the box, only leads to " stinking thinking ". Solving problems from outside the box and boiling down multiple avenues of change into one that works is where the loop hits the ground. As a groundwater pro and looper, I strongly dis agree with the regs as posted in Mass, but hey when in Rome.

    Keep us posted and let us know how you are getting on. We are here to help you through this.
    Eric
     
  6. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I hate to tell you, but right now you so far lost time and money, and you have not addressed fully the root of the problem.

    Did your dealer actually forward the claim correctly to Waterfurnace? When we file warranty claims (none on loops so far) they are very prompt to respond...
     
  7. GeoDosch

    GeoDosch New Member

    All the ideas, suggestions and explanations are very much appreciated. I'd prefer to have a lot of choices to sift through so that I can decide what's likely to work best, rather than just be blindly lead down a single path by the guys doing the service. For example, they wanted to put in a booster that tapped into the house water, so that I'd have no idea how much fluid I was losing, nor would I have a good way to keep the proper antifreeze ratio. It was from looking at old threads on this forum that I found out about the Geo-Booster, which solves both of those issues (and cost me a lot less than the original proposal.) A non-pressurized system may still be in my future, and I did agonize a bit when I had to decide whether to try the booster first, realizing that if it didn't work, then that would have been wasted money. But since my system quit working during a heat wave (of course!) that unfortunately factored in as well, weighing-in on the side of the faster solution.

    In fact, I seriously considered converting my system to an ASHP, where I would have mated a Bosch outdoor unit to my WaterFurnace indoor unit. My reasoning was that if I was going to make the investment in converting to non-pressurized system, where there was no guarantee that it would solve the problem, I could have instead taken a route with that wouldn't include that huge unknown. Though now that I've been using the Geo-Booster, and know what the loss rate is, I have little doubt that a non-pressurized system will work.

    My loop warranty was with the installer, who is now out of business, and not WaterFurnace.
     
  8. geoxne

    geoxne Active Member Forum Leader

    FYI a Geo-Prime tank to convert an existing flow center to a non-pressurized system can be had on EBay for $380.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Geo-Flo-Geo-Prime-Tank-reservoir-geothermal-/253087136806
    Piping costs aside, that is not much more than you paid for the Geo-Booster, especially when you consider that you will be using about $300 per year of pure ethanol at your lowest published leak rate.

    ((.18 cups x 24 hrs x 365 days)/16 cups per gal) x .20 assumed AF ratio x $15 assumed per gallon = $295.65 per year

    I am not sure how the economics support your installers or your decision to install a Geo-Booster auto fill system.
     
  9. GeoDosch

    GeoDosch New Member

    You may have been looking at an older post. The most recent loss rate I mentioned was 1.2 Cups/day, which as of today's top-off was holding pretty steady (1.1 to be exact.) So that should be costing me ~$80/year, based on a cost of $15/gallon for AF.
     
  10. geoxne

    geoxne Active Member Forum Leader

    Yes, my calculation was based on the leak rate chart you posted earlier. Thanks for the correction.

    However, even at that diminished leak rate, I don't see how the economics support the recommendation of a pressurized auto fill system as a long term solution to a leaking ground loop.

    Furthermore, I do not believe the unknown risk of contaminating your aquifer should be discounted. The hydrogen bond between ethanol and water is strong. Although, ethanol will evaporate to atmosphere quickly, I do not know what will happen when confined underground.
     
  11. GeoDosch

    GeoDosch New Member

    I'm realizing that the Geo-Booster is going to be a short-term fix, and that I'm still going to need to convert to a non-pressurized system. The booster pump did provide 2 huge benefits. First, it got my system back up and running quickly, and will keep it going for as long as I need without the worry of my system going flat, or burning out another flow pump. And maybe more importantly, I know that the leak must be relatively small, and that the loss is less under lower pressure. When my system went down, one of my big concerns with jumping into a non-pressurized system was the scenario where I had that done, only to find out that the leak was still a problem. Putting in the loop cost me over $14K, so I'm sure the cost to repair it (with no idea of where the leak was) would likely be in that ballpark. Not to mention I wouldn't be getting the federal government to cover 1/3 the cost this time. That's why I seriously considered going with an ASHP instead. I also didn't like the idea of rushing into the conversion in order to get the system back up when it was desperately needed. Now I can take the time to research the equipment, installation, etc. without a figurative gun to my head.

    I will need to determine whether I should handle this as a DIY project, or have it done by a WaterFurnace dealer. With my existing system I was somewhat forced to have the work done, since I don't have all the necessary equipment, especially the purge cart. Since I can put in a non-pressurized flow center that will handle the job of purging the system, it seems to me that the DIY route is much more feasible.
     
  12. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Don't get me wrong, I love the companies that sell me flow centers both pressurized and non. While doing your research do not discount the fact that a non pressurized flow center is a container with a lid, a couple of pumps, a check valve and some pipes. After you understand what they do and how they work, building one diy would not be out of the question if you are handy with some plumbing.
    Eric
     
  13. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    So I am not sure why you complain about Waterfurnace?
     
  14. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Be aware that depending on your ground loop configuration, and whether it is headed outside or inside, meaning whether you can shut off individual loops or not, the pump on the flow center might not be powerful enough to to ensure enough velocity to purge out your pipes.
    Purge cart pumps = power and velocity
    Flowcenter pump = efficiency
     
    Deuce likes this.
  15. GeoDosch

    GeoDosch New Member

    Eric,

    When I mentioned a DIY install, I wasn't so much thinking of making the equipment, but whether I'd install it myself or have a contractor do it. Your point is well taken, as in looking at some of the flow centers, and particularly looking at something like Geo-Flo's Geo-Prime tank, I see how relatively simple they are. However, one thing I'd be concerned about is if I ever sold my house (not that I'm planning to anytime soon) a home-grown flow center might put off some potential buyers.

    My system has one big loop with 2 300' wells. There are shut off valves where the loop pipes emerge from the ground in my garage, one for each direction. So I cannot purge the wells individually.

    Now that I've been looking in more depth at non-pressurized flow centers, it seems that few (if any) actually claim to eliminate the need for a purge cart. I thought I had seen that, but it may have been someone who was discussing the merits of a non-pressurized system, and not a specific flow center. So unless I want to invest in a purge cart (I'm a bit baffled as to why they cost so much) I'd still need to get a contractor to purge the loop for me. Though I would expect that as long as I don't let the tank run low, that should be a one-time thing.

    I've got a company coming in next Friday to give me a quote on the conversion, and will compare their proposal to what equipment I've found. I actually put in a few more requests, but so far none of the others have gotten back to me. And the way I see it, if I have to badger a company to quote me for work I want them to do, I worry about how responsive they'll be once they have my business and I need them to do something.
     
  16. GeoDosch

    GeoDosch New Member

    I'm curious as to which post(s) gave you the impression I have any complaints against WaterFurnace. I'm very happy with my system, aside from the leak in the loop.
     
  17. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I apologize, that was Craig K who sounded a bit disgruntled...:(
     
  18. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Are the wells in series, or in parallel? What was the diameter of the pipes? What are the pump(s)? Model number?
     
  19. GeoDosch

    GeoDosch New Member

    The wells are connected in series. The pipe is 1-5/16" OD. and the flow pump is a Grundfos Geolink type UP26-99U P/N 52766580 P1

    Thanks!
     
  20. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    So 1200' in the wells, 1.25" pipe, one 26-99 pump. One pump, correct? How far from your house to the wells.

    What water furnace heat pump do you have? Model #?
     

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