Kentucky Multiple issues with one pump in home but not the other

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Tracy, Jun 28, 2019.

  1. Tracy

    Tracy New Member


    I was hoping for some advice on understanding the potential issues we are having with our 9 year old geo system. We live in Newport, KY - temps are currently in the mid to upper 80s after a relatively cool spell and it's pretty humid.

    We have lived in the house for 2 years. It's a 5000 sq ft house with 5 stories (tall and skinny like a row house). There is a large heat pump that services the bottom 2 floors and a smaller one servicing the top two. Since we moved in 2 years ago, we typically have very high utility bills with no reasonable explanation. I had a home of a larger size, same location, 2 HVAC units (1 was 25 years old and the other 10 yrs), with 25 yr old windows, and poor insulation, and my typical bill in the winter would be 2/3 the cost of our bill now. The summer bill would be half our current bill with the swimming pool running. We were told the utility bills would be smaller given the efficiency of a geo system.

    When we switched the AC on May, it ran fine for several weeks maintained the 68 temp set on the larger unit and the 72 temp on the smaller unit. In early June, the larger unit stopped blowing cold air (still blew air though). The smaller unit worked fine. The repairman came out and replaced the coil at $3k. It seemed to work fine for a week then the same exact issue happened - lower unit not blowing cold/upper unit blowing fine. They are on the same vertical, closed looped system. The repair man then diagnosed a loop leak but couldn't test it bc the loops are under our concrete driveway. The company did not seem to be expert in geo but we can't seem to find anyone in the Cincinnati area who is a geo expert based on several calls and asking a guy who is known to be the best "loop" digger in the area. The loop "digger" then came and put fix-a-leak into the system and added a valve to equally distribute load to the larger unit (that wasn't on the system before). It worked for 3 hours then the bigger system stopped cooling. We shut off both for several hours. I then restarted the larger unit, let it run for 24 hours, and it started to cool again. We turned on the upper system and it has continued to cool (both units) at the set temps for 3 weeks.

    Yesterday the lower system quit again. Upper system worked fine.

    We shut off both systems for an hour. Turned the lower system back on last night and it was cooling again and got back to 68 degrees overnight. Restarted the upper/smaller unit this morning and at the moment both are cooling again.

    We are at the end of our rope. The original repairman is saying we have a loop leak but can't test it and can't explain why the lower is having issues but the upper isn't but they are on the same loop system. The digger said it's possible there is a leak but can't guarantee it - he said that's very unusual though and also said it seems really odd that the system has been running inefficiency for so long. The company that dug the loops is out of business according to the company that installed them. The installation company had some, unknown run in with the previous owner and refuses to come out and service the system (which is pretty shady - that's all the info we can get out of him).

    At this point we are being told we have to dig up our expensive concrete driveway to install new loops (we have a small yard in the city so no other space to install loops) - but this is coming from a HVAC company with a guy who doesn't seem to be a geo expert even though they say he has the certification. The other option we are considering is to convert to HVAC bc we don't want to dig up a driveway and dig loops or ever have this issue again.

    Any ideas on how to really test the loops under the driveway without digging it up? Any other potential ideas? Any recommendations on an expert in Greater Cincinnati/N Ky?

  2. arkie6

    arkie6 Active Member Forum Leader

    Need more info. Is this a pressurized loop? If so, what is the loop pressure? If it is a pressurized loop and you have a small leak in your loop, a less expensive fix than tearing up your driveway and installing a new loop may be to install a non-pressurized loop pump/canister and periodically add water/anti-freeze to keep it topped up with fluid.

    What is the loop entering water temperature and leaving water temperature?
  3. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Hi and welcome!
    Bad diagnosis. If both units are on the same loop, how does the repairman explain the upstairs unit working and not the downstairs? Also after a 3k coil change out and they still are having issues, I would want answers pronto.
  4. Deuce

    Deuce Member

    Maybe it's a bad pump?
    They wouldn't be on the same pump?
  5. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Depending on the installers preferences, both units could be on the same pump and loop. If that is the case, how do you explain that 1 unit operates and the other does not? We really need more info to dig in here.

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