Help guys, with backflushing

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by david3394, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. david3394

    david3394 New Member

    New here, and can really use some help. I have a Climatemaster Tranquility series geo unit with the cupro nickel coil. It is an open loop system. We have very hard water, and the system is in need of backflushing. I was told to use Nu-calgon ice machine cleaner to backflush the coil. The green one, and not the clear one. I used it today, but I don't think that it did any good, or maybe I didn't do it right. I mixed about 5 ounces per gallon, and made up 5 galons of mix. I backflushed it thru the coil for about 45 minutes, than I made another 5 gallon batch, and backflushed it again for another 45 minutes. My questions are as follows,,,

    Is the green Nu-calgon nickel safe ice machine cleaner strong enough to do the job properly???
    If it isn't, what should I be using????
    How long should I be flushing it for,, is 1 1/2 hours long enough, or should I be doing it longer?????

    I'm not in the trade, but am a do-it-yourselfer. I called Climatemaster, and asked them the same questions, but they were of absolutely no help at all, I could tell that they didn't want to give me any info at all. He kept telling me to call a service person, and set up a schedule to have it done. The unit is still running pretty much 24/7, and the Aux-heat keeps coming on to bring the temp up. Two years ago when we had the system installed, the Aux-heat wouldn't come on untill it got to 0 or slightly below, now it is 28 degrees outside, and the Aux-heat is on now as I type this. Please tell me what to use, and how long to use it. I plan on doing this every fall from now on. I can't take many more of these $450 heating bills.
    Any information would be greatly appreciated. If you would prefer to e-mail me directly, that would be great too.

    Thanks Dave
  2. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I want to know

    Why you think the heat X needs to be cleaned?

    How did you "back flush"? Was the unit installed with isolation valves and service ports to do this?

    I would think the ice machine cleaner could work if it was given the chance.
  3. david3394

    david3394 New Member


    I also have a climatemaster geo unit at my place up north in northern Mich. That unit started doing the same thing two years ago, but on that one I wasn't sure what was going on, so I called in a service person. He recomended a backflush, and did so. The service was immediately apparant. The unit started running as new again. The air coming out of the registers is a bit warmer, and the aux doesn't come on untill it gets down below 0 on that one. The repair guy told me that I should be backflushing every year or two, depending how hard my water is.
    The water at my home here in Lapeer Mich is much harder than it is up north. My neighbor up north who also has a geo unit, the same unit that I have, we both bought at the same time from the same place, had his geo backflushed too, with a noticeable increase in performance. This is the second year for my geo down here, so I want to backflush it too, to see if that helps. I know the water is very hard here, because I have to change my humidifier pad every three months because it practically cakes up solid.
    I'm getting a bit off track here with my answer here as to why I need to backflush, so back to your questions.
    The unit does have iso valves, and service ports to hook the hoses to for backflushing. I too think the nickel-safe should work, but how long should I flush it for???? I only flushed it with the ice-machine cleaner for 1 1/2 hours. Would a descaler solution be better, or would that harm the nickel in the coiI???? I have a new pump, and I measured the flow by filling a 5 gallon bucket flowing thru the coil, in 60 seconds. I flushed the nickel-safe solution backwards thru the coil, (I pumped it into the outlet side of the coil, and the inlet side fed back into my tub for recirculation) I plan on doing this every fall to try to keep all gunk out of the coil.
    Thanks Dave
  4. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    There are a multitude of ways to flush a system and remove all sorts of things. Step one is identifying what you want to remove. Step two is finding a product that will remove it. How you introduce the cleaner into the system is really imaterial as long as no damage is done.
    There are also a lot of things that can cause the symptom of poor performance that you describe. I would suggest a system check-up by technician to identify problem, and then flush diy if that is the correct diagnosis.
  5. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader


    Did the system improve?

    The reason I asked how was I just bought a kit to clean tankless domestic hot water units. The one I bought was from Whitlam here in Ohio and was a bucket, water proof pump and hoses. It also included a quart of cleaner. The instructions were 1 Quart to a gallon of water and pump away. Their timing for cleaning was 30 to 45 minuets. I gave it the full 45 for the tankless and was amazed at the junk that came out. If you got your hands on Calgoen nickle safe you should be able to find this stuff.

    The product was pretty agresive and I am sure it contained hydrocloric acid, as it looked like the real strong last chance drain cleaner I have used. You know the stuff that if you get it on yours hands and wipe them on your jeans, makes a hole in the jeans first time they are washed.

    Let me know how you make out.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2011
  6. Bergy

    Bergy Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    "I know the water is very hard here, because I have to change my humidifier pad every three months because it practically cakes up solid."

    If your water is truly that hard, why did you install an open loop system?? Water that hard would be well outside any manufactures recommended water quality standards.

  7. david3394

    david3394 New Member


    Hi Bergy
    Good question. We really didn't know that the water was actually that hard. We never had a humidifier on the old furnace, but we did see the rust stains in the tub, so we knew we had a water problem, but as I mentioned, we didn't think that it was that bad. This is why I decided to backflush every fall, to stay ahead of any deposits forming to badly in the coil. If you have any suggestions as to what would be a better chemical to use, I would appreciate it. Any other info you might need, please ask.

    Thanks Dave
  8. Bergy

    Bergy Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I think you first need to have a Heat of Extraction/Rejection performed on the system. If that indicates a problem then the refrigerant circuit needs to be checked.

    A scaled exchanger in heat should show the following symptoms...

    Head Pressure - Low
    Suction Pressure - Low
    Compressor Amp Draw - Low
    Superheat - Normal/Low
    Subcooling - High
    Air side Temperature Diff - Low
    Water side Temperature Diff - Low

  9. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    If you truely wish to "do-it-yourself", then do it right by first ensuring water flow and airflow are right.
    CM tranquilitys are gasketed conections, that you can generally undo by hand (and look for build up on pipe walls. It may be you didn't get anything because it wasn't dirty.
    Just because your humi panel fills quickly does not mean the water is unsuitable for geo, there is a big difference between distilling (evaporating the water and leaving all the junk behind) and letting it flow through a coax.
    I recently replaced an open loop geo in the Davisburg area that wasn't flushed for 25 years. While it wasn't clear, it was still performing well enough.
  10. david3394

    david3394 New Member


    That is a very good point that I hadn't considered. I live in Mayville Mich, which is about 20 miles north of Lapeer. If you are a contractor, do you travel that far for a service call???? If I'm going to have someone look at it, I'm going to want someone who knows what they are doing. The guy that did the install,,, didn't impress me.

  11. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    If you wish to maintain the hands on attitude, I might be able to help. with drive time about 90 minutes, I wouldn't be your best emergency guy.
    There is a large and reputable firm in Lapeer (initials are P.H.) that might be a better fit for you (if they weren't the ones that disappointed).
  12. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader


    You might need a motor home.

  13. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    David, what did you find out?

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