Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by beany, Dec 28, 2013.
Do not leave now, we just got you started.
I had my wife go through our files in the desk and the geothermal papers weren't there. We transferred a lot of our old files into cardboard boxes and with help from kids and grandkids relocated them into our pole barn. Lord only knows where they are. All I can remember is he was from somewhere about 125 miles south of here and I can't even remember what city let alone the name. I'll get it somehow though. Thanks.
FWIW, I had a leak in my loop. Although I don't have pressure gauges on my loop, I can say in my experience at least it is possible for a small, almost indetectible drip to in the loop to deplete a rather large amount of fluid from the loop.
My system seemed to be running fine for about a year. Approximately, 3 months after I last had the HP running in cooling mode, I started hearing gurgling in my loop pipes when I fired up my system for the 2012 heating season. I looked in my QT Flow Center and the level was shockingly low. I added 2+ gallons of glycol to the loop via the Flow Center and let the system run to purge the air out while I started looking for leaks in the house...all the while hoping it wasn't a loop field issue. Since my Flow Center didn't have good lighting around it, I got out my flashlight and strictly by luck, spotted some glycol oozing from one of the loop connections at the top of the Flow Center. It seems the leaking glycol was running down the outside of the fitting into top of the Flow Center, then down through the inside of the Flow Center and finally into the cement floor. There was never any signs of glycol leakage on the floor.....the cement was able to absorb the glycol without hinting at a leak. I tightened the fittings and to this day I have not had any problems and have not added a single drop of glycol to the system.
Hope this helps.
In no particular order...Mark, Eric, Joe, Bergy, Dean, Trent, Johnny, Tim: I greatly appreciate all your words of wisdom extended to me on this website. It definitely is invaluable. Little by little I shall resolve this dilemma, but not without the help from you all. I will continue to monitor this site and if during my own experiences I happen on anything that may be informational for "other amateurs" I shall post it. My hat's off to all you gentlemen and scholars.
Hi guys...Back again. I am having trouble finding a website to go to for purchasing a methanol hydrometer for the petes port. I finally got a returned call from the installer of our waterfurnace envision in 2008 and they said the line had methanol in it. I scoured/scoped the "out" and "in" lines all the way from the petes ports thru the flow center control pump and beyond it to where the lines disappeared through the basement wall and can find no wye strainer. Am I not looking in the right place or is it possible there isn't one? Would/could it be at the bottom of pete port? Probably another dummmmmmm question.....Thanks again in advance.
Yes. It is very possible a strainer was not installed. I read the installation manuals before I do the work and about the manual for the equipment I use most of the time has a fine print reference to adding a strainer in the commissioning check list. Nothing in the how to section of the manual.
Thanks again Mark. If/when we sell this property and downsize to a smaller home, I definitely want a geothermal system. It is set in stone that before I have one installed I will be on this website asking a ton of questions relating to the best of everything to do and don't do. It sure is great to be able to pick your brains. Have a great day.
Hi guys: Another set of questions from N. E. Indiana. Like most of the Midwest we are experiencing extremely cold weather. (single digit/ - O) My closed loop system is still losing pressure. The leak from the wye valve at the control center is continually leaving a wet spot on the concrete floor the size of a large grapefruit. Pressure gauge on hand held sprayer stopped working. Installed new one and pressure goes from 38-40 lbs. to zero in about three (3) days. As soon as I insert the needle/adapter gauge into the p/t port, fluid starts dripping onto the floor. It doesn't matter if I use the upper or lower port. I tried using two different basketball needles with same results. In a matter of 3 - 4 minutes about a half or three fourths cup of fluid leaks out. Question # (One) Wrong size/length needles or defective ports? Wanted to purge air/bubbles from system via screw on flow center pump. All I can see is a brass plug approximately one to one and a quarter inch diameter. I envision a "screw" as being a "screw" not a plug. (#2) wrong? ....or looking in wrong place? With all the leakage at the p/t ports I am hesitant to put in the loop conditioner I purchased because of how much will probably just leak out on floor. I have added water via a garden hose several times since my first post. I am worried about having diluted the system with "water only" and not having enough methanol especially with the cold weather. I could not even guestimate how much water has been introduced to the system. ( #3 ) If I shut the system down...can I take my garden hose with adapter and drain out a "measured" amount of fluid, say a quart or a gallon etc., and then via the sprayer, pump the like amount of methanol back into the system and restart furnace? I can't completely tear into plumbing to replace/repair leaky wye valve until spring because of cold weather. We are leaving for Arizona on 20th of February and won't return till 26th of April. With thermostat set at 50 degrees and loop system pressure still dropping ( #4 ) what will happen if I am not there to constantly check pressure and add water at present rate of leakage? Can't shut system completely down because of so many house plants. Thanks again. Bill
50* is too cool. Your heat pump doesn't like to operate that cold. Do you have electric back-up? If so, that will engage if the loop pressure falls
and prevents the circulators from operating.
I'd consider getting the loop conditioner in sooner to see if it can stop the pesky leaks before Feb 20th. Worked like a charm for me.
Bergy and Trent ... thank you for your response. Yes we do have electric heat tape. I always thought that had to be manually turned on at the themostat. I just called REMC to see if they could tell me an hourly cost for electric heat take with the thermostat set at 68*. He said "yes". Set it to run for a specific hour, wait a couple hours and then call him. That way we could guesstimate how much it would cost us to run it for a couple months while we are gone. What about the question about the water loss at the p/t ports? What about the question about the "screw" on the circulating pump? to release air bubbles from the system??? ....I now have the thermostat set in the "emergency" heat mode for the one hour for the calculation of cost per hour to use. It "seems" as though the air coming from the registers is warmer in that mode than when running in regular heating mode. Is/would that be natural with the thermostat set to the same temperature? Sorry for a bunch of amateurish questions guys. Bill
Glad to hear you have e-heat. If you can afford to sun-bird then you can afford the cost of e-heat.
I designed and helped build trent's loop. We used compression fittings and manifolds from Caleffi. The antifreeze in the system is glycol, and like Harry Houdini, it can get out of anything. Everything pressure tested well, then we added Harry Houdini and we had leaks. They showed up weeks after we returned to Ohio.
Trent fixed some leaks that he could find and then added the conditioning product. He says the leaks are fixed using his product.
The screw on the pump is not to let air out, it is to nudge the pump into action, if the water bearings do not allow the pump to start. Like jumping a car battery. With all the loss of loop fluid taking the time to replace an "O" ring is a no brainer.
Frozen in Cleveland,
Thank you Mark. I appreciate your response.
Mark: I didn't elaborate much in my earlier post because I fell asleep on the computer and signed off and went to bed. I wanted to ask...our installer told me that for the last 10 years the antifreeze of choice for the loop was methanol. You stated that you and Trent used glycol instead, right? Did I mis-understand an article in saying that the heat transfer is better when using methanol instead of glycol? Is it not better with the methanol? I finally tried putting "straight" methanol into the loop thru the p/t port. Using a 1-1/2 gallon sprayer with a gallon of -25* methanol, going first to a tee with a 100 psi gauge to a ball valve to another 100 psi gauge to my probe. I put tape over my pressure relief valve, pump it up till it shows 42 psi on first gauge. Open valve to purge air from probe, shut valve back off, insert probe into port and second gauge reads "0" psi. Open valve and second gauge goes to 10 psi. First gauge still reads 42 psi. Close valve and second gauge reads "0" again, first gauge 42 psi. Repeat the procedure continuously 5 or 6 times with same results. Then hook up garden hose to faucet insert probe. Gauge reads "0" psi. Open valve, gauge goes up to 10 - 12 psi. Turn valve off, gauge stays at 10 - 12 psi. Repeat procedure 3 - 4 times and pressure in gauge will show loop pressure of 38 - 40 psi. What is happening? Why does the application from the sprayer not keep an increase in the loop pressure instead of staying "0" on the gauge? Also Mark.......Were it not for financially well off in-laws that have a winter home in Tucson, that enjoy the company of my wife and I enough to "force" us to take payment for food, lodging and fuel expenses for a round trip to Tucson, plus after we are there use their vehicle to drive us all over the state's deserts and mountains in our never ending quest for rock minerals and fossils. We are blessed!!!!!!!!!!!! You should be so lucky. Thanks. Bill
Is it warm in AZ? If so We will drive.
A picture would help me understand what you're trying to describe and maybe offer a work around solution.
I tend to use glycol for systems because it is non-toxic. I use polypropylene not ethylene. It is more expensive and I leave the final choice to my customer. It also requires more pump to circulate the fluid in a system.
I pipe a system like any hydronic system including make-up water, back-flow prevention, expansion tank and air elimination. I then size a single pump to my GPM needs and flow resistance of the piping and the machine. I include air eliminators at all high points. I do not bury joints so leaks can be found and fixed.
A picture of your leak puddle and the end of the pump would be helpful.
BTW; I have the T shirt and the ball cap awarded for waking up face down on my keyboard.
Mark: Just got on the computer. I will get some pictures. My wife is in bed now and she is the part of this twosome smart enough to get the pictures from the camera to the computer. I was overjoyed when my wife told me that Fed-Ex had delivered a pkg. My adapter gauge/probe and methanol hydrometer!!!!! Upon seeing what I had ordered....OMG....I really am dumber than a 5th grader. From the little pictures on the internet I envisioned the geothermal methanol hydrometer to be an instrument to be inserted into the p/t port to somehow analyze the ratio of water to methanol. What I got was a glass instrument about a foot long. (Vee Gee alcohol specific hydrometer for alcohol) Apparently something I cannot use? The other thing I got that I ordered is a I/8" stainless steel pressure gauge probe with cover. Apparently the basketball needle/probes that I insert into the p/t port are only I/16" diameter. Don't know if this will fit into my ports ok, or if it is the wrong size and will enlarge the hole and cause it to leak continuously. Will check it out tomorrow. . . . . . .BTW...You may have the T shirt and ball cap but I have the Keyboard forehead. Bill
I checked my B&D flow station level. It was half way up the elbow at the top for the past few months. it is now at the edge of the elbow meaning It has went down about 3/4". We started the system up for the first time on 10.28.
non pressurized system. do systems just lose fluid? is this an indicator that I have a leak. my wife and I both noticed an unfamiliar smell around the furnace in the last day or two....I am sorta wondering if it is evaporated methanol.
I was cautious when laying the tubing in the ground and covered all 1800 feet by hand and then with the digger. there are no external fusions, all in the basement. yes I am trying to talk myself out of loop anxiety. FYI it is extremely cold here in Shelby Ohio. not looking forward to messing with my heating system if I can help it.
Cain: I wish I could help you but there is no way I could advise you, I'm not knowledgeable on geothermal. If you are lucky, either Mark, Eric, Joe, Trent, Bergy, or Dean will respond to your post. They are the all-knowing gurus. Good luck.
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