Quebec Low temperature fault 1 in memory

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by DrakeColdwinter, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. DrakeColdwinter

    DrakeColdwinter New Member

    I live in Quebec, Canada. I installed a Geothermal system in october 2014, so this is my first winter.
    My system is a ClimateMaster model TES049AGD02CNNS. It's coupled with an electrical blower model FE4ANF005. I have a single vertical well, 540 feet deep filled with water and 25% Methanol. I use a single Zone system with a single LCD panel (evolution Wifi). The exterior temperature sensor is a little off (it shows -5C when it's really -11C). The tech told me the water of the well is at 44 degres.

    When they evaluated the house surface they told me I would need a 3.2 tons for the house, I went with a 4 tons system because the price difference was little and the seller told me a 3 tons will overwork a little to heat my house while a 4 tons will be relaxed to heat my house. My house has 46 years old and it's not that well insulated, I have replaced about half of the windows, the other half will need to be replaced in a near future as they are in pretty bad shape.

    Currently the problem I have it's that the Geothermal system works perfectly for 10hrs to 14 hrs, then suddently it will give a Low Temperature fault and stops working (the error light flashes 4 times). The Geo will stop working for around 10 hrs or so, then begin working normally again. The system worked well november and december, yet end of december we had extreme cold weather (-35C) and then suddently the Geo started failing to work. The technician has replaced the control panel (the one with LCD) and has replaced the motherboard of the GEO, yet I continue to have exactly the same problem. Currently the tech seems a little in despair about what to do (he came 4 times already).

    So can someone point me towards a solution or have suggestions what to check to find a solution ?? If you need more information about the setup ask me.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  2. pfer10

    pfer10 Member

    You will need to measure the entering water temperature EWT and leaving water temperature LWT at the unit before they can help. You should also get the pressure of the water at the enterence to the Geo and at the exit. From that the pros can determine flow. Did the tech take those? If he didn't then it sounds like he is just guessing and swapping parts.
  3. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    2 likely reasons:

    1) Dip switch setting. Potentially it is set for water (0 degree C) and not for antifreeze protection (-8 C). Thus the unit shuts off thinking that it does not have antifreeze protection.

    2) Not enough antifreeze in the system, and inside the coil ice is forming. What kind of antifreeze do you have in the system?

    3) Not enough flow

    4) Not enough refrigerant.

    If the tech was there a few times, and he is skilled, #2 would be my highest bet. Low freeze protection can fool skilled techs, as long as he rules everything else out.
  4. DrakeColdwinter

    DrakeColdwinter New Member

    Pfer10 > I have no idea how to check for the pressure of the water, I have no idea if the tech checked those. And yes, currently he is guessing and just swapping parts, he even told me he had no idea what's the problem :(

    docjenser> I have 75% water and 25% Methanol in the system. Maybe they didn't put enough Methanol ? The tech told me the temperature of the water was very okay and that freezing wasn't part of the problem. As the tech doesn't seem very experienced I wouldn't discard the dip switch settings. I have the manual I will check that.

    Edit: I have just checked the dip switchs and the manual. In the manual there is a jumper(SW3) who must be clipped for antifreeze. The jumper is clipped, so the system is properly configured for antifreeze.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  5. Tamar

    Tamar Member Forum Leader

    Your tech definitely should have measured EWT and LWT. Get those numbers and post them here.

    In addition, how do you know you have 25% methanol? My installer claimed to have put in 25% glycol, but when measured 4 years later it was only 13%.
  6. DrakeColdwinter

    DrakeColdwinter New Member

    Tamar> Maybe the tech measured the EWT and the LWT, I don't know. Next time he comes I will ask him for those. As for the mehanol they putted a sticker with a handwritten note on the mix, it says 75% water 25% methanol. So, the installer claims that. I cannot verify if the mix is correct.

    The heatpump stopped again today :( I have been using electric heating all day (from 8:00 am to 19:20) just half an hour ago the heatpump decided to work again. Still low temperature fault :( The tech will phone me tomorrow to come visit once again(it will be the 5th visit for this problem).
  7. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    The tech thinks it is 25%, based on sticker, which means who ever wrote the sticker thinks it is 25%. The gravity of 25% methanol mix is around .978, .982 is about 21%.
    You are in trouble shooting mode, don't trust anybody or anything!

    I am having a deja vu here. I just had a system having the same symptom as your, same error. EWT was 30.4F. .982 at the hydrometer. Nothing made sense. My tech exchanged the board, then the circulation pump, weighted out and pumped in new refrigerant. I stepped in when he wanted to exchange the heatpump. After all we found that the hydrometer was off and indicated a false specific gravity. After 6 service visits, 8 additional gallons of methanol cured everything.

    The trouble shooting is simple:

    Either your error is real or not. Chances are that they are real.
    If it is not real, your temp or pressure sensor might be off, or your board.

    If real, and your jumper is cut, and your refrigerant is OK, you either do not have enough flow, or not enough antifreeze. Units can easily tolerate less flow. They do not tolerate less antifreeze upon a reached loop temp.
    Locking out after a few hours of running strikingly suggests antifreeze levels.
  8. Tamar

    Tamar Member Forum Leader

    Tech is phoning you tomorrow? Ask for the EWT and LWT. I believe if both those numbers are above freezing, then your problem is not related to the antifreeze level. It's a no-brainer to check those (all the experts can correct me if I'm wrong--I'm no expert).

    As far as % of antifreeze, one of the things I learned this year is that the label can be deceiving....100% glycol on the label ISN'T necessarily 100% glycol, because it might have added rust inhibitors. Not sure if methanol labeling suffers from the same issues. If so, an installer could think they've done the calculations correctly for a 75/25 mix and be way off.
  9. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Tamar, the leaving temp of the water can be above freezing, but the metal on the end of the heat exchanger can have ice forming on it, slowly closing up the lumen. This might happen here.
    Usually methanol is relatively pure, unlike glycol.
  10. DrakeColdwinter

    DrakeColdwinter New Member

    Well, he phoned me, he simply told me he had requested other parts and I should wait until they receive the parts. When I tryed to talk about the EWT and LWT he simply told me that wasn't the problem :( he didn't told me what part he is planning to replace next. Currently I'm pretty sure he has no idea and he is just swapping part after part hoping that the problem will be somehow be solved. As he has already replaced the control panel and the mainboard and the problem is still present I'm beggining to trust that the mix of methanol is incorrect.

    The jumper is cutted off and the system will run properly for a few hours and then provoke the low temperature error and shut off. Once this happens I need to wait 8 to 10 hrs and then the system will begin working again normally. If the temperature sensor was broken the pump would not work at all, the fact is that it works 10 to 14 hrs before havng the error and the wait period could be consistent with the unfrozing and reopening of the lumen.

    Is there any way I could check if the methanol mix is correct by myself ? I don't have a hydrometer.
  11. mtrentw

    mtrentw Active Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I'd not seen what type of flow center or pumping arrangements you have, but if you have the ability to get a sample of the fluid out, you can put it in the freezer with a old school thermometer. Stir occasionally and see what the temperature of a partly slushy well mixed fluid. that is your freeze protection level.
  12. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Good thinking Trent. I have done that before.

  13. DrakeColdwinter

    DrakeColdwinter New Member

    I didn't post, busy weekend. The tech was here friday, he told me he has very well checked the pump and the liquid in the well, he insist the problem isn't there. He putted a refrigerant product in the freon line (from the heatpump to the blower) he told me he thinks it's the freon that is getting too cold. So currently we are retesting the system(again) and hoping the heatpump doesn't do the same error once more.
  14. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Applied additives to the refrigeration side without the reasoning, smells a rat to me.
  15. ACES-Energy

    ACES-Energy Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    We had this happen on a system. Symptoms pointed to a refrigerant problem, in addition to a loop flow problem where it had very small decrease over time. LWT was above freezing but ice was forming in the coax, restricting flow and heat exchange. After putting in cooling for a short time and adding some more methanol, it was like magic and unit brand new!
  16. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader


    Thanks. we seem to be under-protected on anti-freeze lately.

    Slipping into cooling will tell lots of tales.

  17. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Did they put in Re-Nu. That's the prescribed fix in some CM's that are a year or two old. Has the problem ceased?
  18. DrakeColdwinter

    DrakeColdwinter New Member

    Well, I have no idea what he putted, he added a pressured liquid into the freon system. The Geothermia has been working one week without failing, so I have hopes the problem has been corrected.
    johnny1720 likes this.

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