Major Waterfurnace problems

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Di2009, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. Di2009

    Di2009 Member

    New Install

    Oops, i accidentally deleted my original thread "perplexed":

    New House (2400 sq. bungalow) & Geo Installations:

    Waterfurnace Envison 5 ton unit NDV064A111NTR

    3000 ft of horizontal looping, 4 pipes per trench of 4 ft deep and 3/4 inch piping as not enough space for 1inch piping (attached pic show installation of looping) Do I have enough loop?

    Currently EXTREMELY high on electricity using 130KwH per day! Shows as running Aux about twice a day for a hour or so? Installer says will put emergency heat on separate breaker and keep it in the off position - Will this stop the Aux heat?

    Ice build up on Water In/Out pipes - installer says normal? He says the temps are set as: In temp: 33.6 & Out temp: 28.1

    They are going to flush the loops in the next day or so. How will this help??

    Any help from out there would be greatly appreciated!

  2. Palace GeoThermal

    Palace GeoThermal Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I would leave the aux heat breaker off and turn of the HRV. This will tell you

    1) if your heat pump can keep your house warm by itself


    2) how much it will cost you to run.

    keep u posted.

    good luck
  3. Palace GeoThermal

    Palace GeoThermal Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    flushing the loops will help if there is trapped air blocking part of the loop.
  4. Di2009

    Di2009 Member

    So if they put a separate breaker on the "emergency" heat left at off would that automatically also stop the system from accessing the "aux" heat stage too??

    based on my specs, do you think i have enough looping for the system?

    is the ice in my picture normal at those points?

    thanks a bunch
  5. Palace GeoThermal

    Palace GeoThermal Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    If the breaker is off, then no form of electric strip heat ( aux heat, emergency heat, back up heat, these all mean the same thing) can be activated.

    4' is not very deep for loops. I can't say if you have enough loop. If your system shuts of because of low loop temps, then we will know that you don't have enough. If you had more loop and it was buried deeper your loop temps would be warmer.
  6. Di2009

    Di2009 Member

    hmmmm really - sigh.. waterfurnace recommeds 600 ft/ton so i am told by the installer, so i should have enough loop, but he said today 5 ft and i know it looked shallower than that! is the layout they did ok? with 4 threads per trench?

    so with no aux heat if there is a problem the whole system will shut down? would that then prove conclusively that it's a loop problem?
  7. rw1995

    rw1995 Member

    I'm not sure what area of the country you are located, but in the midwest, 4' is the frost line. I've heard of 6-7' deep pipe in my area, I figured the deeper the better and put mine in 9-10' range.

    Another area to consider is if they are not deep enough, and areas with limited moisture, the ground can dry out a great amount and limit the heat transfer. I have heard of horizontal jobs where they were required to back in and trench over the top of the loops and install a soaker line to add moisture to the ground to stimulate the conductivity.
  8. Palace GeoThermal

    Palace GeoThermal Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Where and how the 600' per ton is installed makes a big difference.

    Your layout seems OK. Only time will tell.

    If your system shuts down on low temp, then there is a problem with the loop. It might be short, it might be partially blocked, you might have the wrong antifreeze, the ground might not have been compacted around the loop....several possibilities. I can't really diagnose from my computer.

    I don't understand about not having enough room for 1" so they used 3/4".
    This makes no sense to me. It makes me wonder about your installer.

    Changing to a smaller pipe size does not allow you to extract more heat from a smaller space.

    So be wary of what these guys tell you.:rolleyes:
  9. Palace GeoThermal

    Palace GeoThermal Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    There is not a one size fits all of 600' per ton. Soil type, soil moisture content, geographic location, depth of install, heat load of house and a few other items all are factors in loop design.

    Be wary of designing using set recommendations.
  10. Di2009

    Di2009 Member

    Very interesting point - I am in central Ontario, lots of snow and also high water tables in my area - in fact they had hit water when they were digging for the loops. So does that help the "moisture" side?

    Also, I had read on one thread that untill the ground settles after 1 year you could have problems? What if in the spring i add fill to the top thereby effectively making the loop one or two feet lower? Or is that cheating :D
  11. Di2009

    Di2009 Member

    LOL no kidding!! well they said that to put down the 1inch pipe it needed i think 6ft between pipes and to be able to do that i didn't have enough land available to put down enough pipe for the 5ton. so they changed it and did 3/4inch a foot apart to get to 3000ft? does that make sense?
  12. Palace GeoThermal

    Palace GeoThermal Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Being in wet ground is a big plus, adding dirt on top of the loop will help out also.
  13. Palace GeoThermal

    Palace GeoThermal Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    This makes absolutely no sense. It really makes me think they were just trying to hide something.
  14. geo fan

    geo fan Member Forum Leader

    I don't understand about not having enough room for 1" so they used 3/4".
    This makes no sense to me. It makes me wonder about your installer.

    Changing to a smaller pipe size does not allow you to extract more heat from a smaller space.

    I have wondered about that , and maybe this would make a good seperate thread , but smaller pipe more suface area but less gpm, if you increased number of loops ( maybe shortened ) could you improve heat transfer . I asume most of that math has been done by people much smarter . What am I thinking of , a 50 loop header and radiant tubing

    BOHAHAHAH The mad designer strikes again
  15. wrice3

    wrice3 New Member

    Could flip DIP switch?

    I would be careful about flipping the breaker for the aux heat. I have a 5 ton Envision unit. You can flip the DIP switch for the aux heat on the board (#5 on SW2). If that DIP switch is off, the aux heat will not come on when the software thinks it is needed, ie, when the thermostat is flashing +2. But if you have an emergency (compressor failure, etc) the emergency heat can still come on. This would not be the case if the breaker was off.
    Flipping the DIP switch also allows me to use the programming mode of the thermostat. My installer told me not to use programming mode as it would turn the aux heat on and use more electricity. So being a scientist, I have been experimenting for 2 weeks. ;) On random days, I either use constant heat at 67 or program to turn down the thermostat to 62 on days no one is home and back up to 67 by the time anyone is back home. So far, I have been using 85-90 kWh/d for heating in constant mode and 65-70 kWh/d in program mode.
  16. loathar80

    loathar80 New Member

    I am having Major problems with my Waterfurnace. First i have a E series 5 ton closed loop system. I had it installed in October of 08, since then i have had nothing but problems. To fully explain before this unit i had two natural gas heaters. Before the unit i never had a electric gas bill combination of over $500, since the Geo i have had 3 bills of $900 and several $700 bills. I have cried to my installer but have not had any result in fixing the problem. I have talked with waterfurnace and they keep refering me back to my installer. My Lines coming into the unit from the ground are frozen 1 1/2" of ice on them. Unit is in my basement. When i had the unit installed i had all the duct work replaced, i am heating 3600 sqft. Unit kicks on electric heat all the time, it does sometimes run just system on but most the time its with electric on. Installers thought that it might be the insulation in my house and had a thermal camera come out, They didnt find anything wrong with my insulation. Now the installers want to do a blower door test, they have yet to make this happen. I have talked with some other people with waterfurnace geothermals and they have shut off their breakers to the electric part. I tried this didnt work i will explain. There is a 220 going from box to unit for system unit, then there are 2 220's going to the emergency heat, when I turn off the breakers to the unit, nothing happens meaning it still works fine, but the lines thaw. When i turn off the breakers to the emergency heat the whole unit shuts off. When the breakers are all on and the unit is running without backup (according to the thermostat and lights on the side of the unit) you can feel hot hot heat coming from the auxillary box. I was just seeing what would happen and now they are all on again, my meeter is running like crazy. Lines are starting to freeze up. I asked the installer about turning off the breakers to the electric. He told me if i do that my unit will freeze up. I live in southern indiana. I need help, and fast. I tried to do the right thing and make an investment in geothermal and all its done is cost me a ton of cash. Give me some direction please.
  17. ncgeo

    ncgeo Member

    I have an open loop system and am not a service tech but this is how I see it ...

    Poor insulation in the home should not cause loop lines to freeze. Worst case, with no insulation and doors/windows open, the unit runs continuously but the loop should still not freeze. Loop freezeup would seem to be an issue with insufficent flow through the heat exchanger, insufficent heat transfer in the loop coil, or a refrigeration circuit issue. You might check the temperature drop on the loop line into/leaving the unit; if too much drop you have insufficient flow. Also check the temps entering and leaving the loop; if not much increase you have a heat transfer issue in the loop.

    Could the loop be airbound causing incomplete heat transfer?
  18. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Some loop line icing is normal under some conditions, such as long run times in cold weather in northern areas.

    Lengthy aux usage is not normal except during very cold weather Most systems are designed for some aux usage, but it sounds like yours may be excessive

    We need specifics such as calculated house load, tonnage of unit(s) installed and loop field design in order to provide specific advice or assistance.

    Your system may be some or all of undersized, short looped, underpumped, improperly purged. We need specific info to home in on possible solutions.
  19. ncgeo

    ncgeo Member

    Interesting ... I was not aware of that. Does that mean an outdoor thermostat must be used to kick on the aux heat, before the loop freezes?

    On the open loop systems I owned the aux heat kicks in with a signal from the indoor thermostat (when the continuously-running unit cannot maintain the specified indoor temperature).
  20. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Closed loops with antifreeze may exhibit icing on fittings but still function properly and provide useful heat at a reasonable COP.

    The unit should shut down before the loop freezes, or there will be permanent and expensive damage to its heat exchanger.

    Aux may kick in if the thermostat senses that the geo unit alone isn't making setpoint after a given run time or if temp falls more than a degree or two below setpoint.

    The role of an outside temperature sensor is most often to disable aux.

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