Pennsylvania I think I have a leak in my loops.

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Kelly DiGi, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. Kelly DiGi

    Kelly DiGi New Member

    History-6 years ago we had a residential horizontal closed loop Geo Thermal system installed.
    The builder hit one of the loops. The contractor that was hired to put the horizontal loops in repaired the damaged loop. The first year of having the system we had to call the Heating and cooling company multiple times to come and re-pressurize the system. We were told that its common to loose pressure with in the first year of having the system. The 2nd year we cont to lose pressure-The system was re-pressurized. to 45psi. The loop contractor said that the Heating and cooling contractor installed the wrong pipes(pvc) for a geo thermal system. (he thought their might be a small leak inside).The heating and Cooling company replaced all the PVC piping with the recommended hosing used for Geo thermal systems. 6 months later we dropped pressure to 10Psi. The system was pressurized again to 45 psi. We have had the system re-pressurized that I have documented 12 times. The past 2 years going from winter (system running at 45psi)-to Summer the pressure has dropped to 5psi. I have contacted both contractors and they continue to tell me that its common to have to have the system pressurized yearly. I realize that going from Winter to summer the pipes expand and contract but I though it would only loose 10-15 psi. NEVER go as low as 5. We feel we have a leak out in the field(loops). We recently spoke to the contractor who installed the loops he said that he would put an expansion tank on the system and put a conditioner in the loops.
    He is 99% confident that this will solve the problem. The loops are under a 10 year warranty. We dont want to have a patch job and then find out a few years later after the warranty has expired that were not covered. HELP what do you think? Do you think we have a leak? Is it normal to have to re pressurize a geo thermal system yearly? Will the expansion tank mask a leak? Will the conditioner harm the system over time?
    Thank you Kelly
     
  2. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Step back and get it pressure tested.

    Then deal with the leak you have.
     
  3. Kelly DiGi

    Kelly DiGi New Member

    How and who do I get to test the pressure?
    I have a pressure gage on the system.
    Do you think I should have the expansion tank installed?
    Conditioner in the loops?
     
  4. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Confirm you have a leak. Confirm the stakeholders know that your loop has a leak. It's approx. a 4 hour pressure test that anybody in this industry should be able to figure out. You can get yours done hydrostatically as you already have a charged system. Can't find anybody? Somebody that does PEX flooring knows how to pressure test - you just have to indicate it needs to be done hydostatically.

    So, if it leaks:

    I would go with a non-pressurized conversion such as this - http://www.geo-flo.com/?Accessories/Geo-Prime_Tank

    No to the expansion tank. That is just trying to maintain a positive pressure in your leaking system. Doesn't make sense unless you have makeup water. Which then, you now have makeup water in a leaking system...

    Loop conditioner. Only tried it once on a suspect system. No idea if it works, but I haven't been back to the site. Worth trying after you've done the previous.
     
  5. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    You don'y have much of a leak (if one at all) if your pressure drops from 45 psi in the winter to 5 psi in the summer. You might have gas bubbles forming with the loss of pressure in the summer, which then are more compressible than fluid in the winter, thus your pressures will not get back up there.

    For scenarios you are describing, non-pressurized flow centers were invented. I would always do that as a first option solution.
     
  6. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I just ordered my first non pressurized tank from flow center products for a diy horizontal with a small leak. Any suggestions on the install? Check valves for a two unit system with one being 1 floor up from the tank location?
    Eric
     
  7. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    How are you going to pump to the second floor? Main system and a zone valve? Then add spring checks on both up and down side equal to the head pressure developed by the lift.

    Call if you need more.
     
  8. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    As long as the flow center is not more than 34ft (atmospheric pressure) below the highest point you would not need anything. make sure you don't have any air in the loop.
     
  9. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Physics vs real life.

    Untouched by human hands.
     
  10. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Thanx guys. I have yet to get the books out or read the directions in the box when it arrives. The check valves were just a notion while watching the rods turn yesterday. As to the OP. diagnosis with out prognosis is geothermal malpractice. Test the loop and verify problem prior to any action being taken.
    Eric
     
  11. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    Kelly,
    Call the company that has the 10 year warranty on your loop and let them figure out where the leak is by doing the pressure test.
    More than likely all their customers paid for a loop warranty, now the company can spend some of that warranty money to fix your problem.

    I watched the welds on my horizontal loop and feel confident the welds will never fail.

    You should tell the loop contractor where the damage was done by the building contractor, a patch job might not be as good as a weld joint.
     
  12. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Didn't the loop contractor repaired the loop? I think that implies that he would know where damage was. HDPE pipe is usually repaired by cutting he defect piece out and replacing it.
    So how would you locate a leak in a pressurized horizontal system when it looses 40 PSI over some months between winter and summer???
     
  13. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Sonics, tracer gas or dye, or you could just look for the leak.
     
  14. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    In a horizontal loop field buried under ground?
     

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