Newbie could use some assistance

Discussion in 'Quotes and Proposals' started by Popoff, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    You will still have heat.

    After the balance point, the geo will still produce heat. You just won't be able to hold the indoor temp at your design settings - it will be cooler, but you won't freeze.

    To put that in perspective, everybody gets a cooler (or warmer) house when the power goes out unless you have a good wood burning system.

    But I understand this is more about contract terms.
  2. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader cyberchondriacs one can support any misdiagnosis they like with enough context removed..........

    If I had a customer who came to me and said you have to give me intellistart and the guys on the web said so too, I wouldn't be thrilled. Not saying you presented it that way, but your tone reflects a deterioration in your relationship with contractor.
    ......."Might want to put humi on a circut that is not on the generator....
    I did that. Why didn't contractor think of that?"...... here's the thing, if a 10k generator has 10 more starting amps than your heat pump requires, then it can start the humidifier as well, I just wouldn't want to give up the amps. Your 12K still has capacity remaining.
    Your tone also suggests a bit of tunnel vision...."No offense, but your post is not very helpful."........ I've been unhelpful lots of times but I'm spot on here (still not offended by the way;)).
    A thermostat that says "wait" could easily be in time delay mode after a power interuption, while a "thunk" or bump is not unheard of during ECM blower start-up (blower starts before compressor in this scenario). So you are going to have to have contractor determine whether they were normal or otherwise.
    I'm not trying to beat up on you, but you need to try to find the right concilitory tone (or baked good :D) to get contractor back on your team. If indeed he has done nothing wrong (aside from some PR problems), there still appears to be something wrong. You need his help.
    Did you buy the generator from him, electrician or third party? Generacs need to be properly adjusted on install to ensure proper voltage. Someone needs to check volts from generator and start up amps from heat pump conmpressor among other things.
    If this heat pump should start with a 10 K and it is not with a 12k, something is wrong. If it happens to be the generator, you have many appliances at risk.
    Good Luck,
    ps see if I got the attachment right or pm me for pdf.

    Attached Files:

  3. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    If your geo installer won't help, call Generac. Their warranty may be the angle to get you help here. Not sure the generator is the problem, but it needs to be checked.
  4. geome

    geome Member Forum Leader

    Is the following correct? My understanding of the balance point (27f in this case) and the design set point (let's say 72f as an example) is that if no aux heat is used, and the outdoor temperature is 17f (10 degrees colder than 27f), then the system may be able to hold 62f (10 degrees colder than 72f). Of course, all of this is subject to an accurate the manual J (difficult to get this exact.) Other conditions may cause this to vary as well. For example, our system can hold set point in 1st stage with no wind, and needs 2nd stage on a windy day, everything else being equal.

    In speaking with our contractor and people that have called us for references, none of them have wanted aux operating under generator power due to a much larger generator being required. We have a propane fireplace that works without electricity. It will keep the house from freezing, but we understand it will be colder further away from the fireplace. Kind of like your geothermal working without aux on the coldest days in that it will be colder overall in your house, but at least you will have lights, fridge, & TV!

    Hang in there with your contractor. All may not be lost.

    When we have thunderstorms, and I turn off our circuit breakers, we hear a loud metallic "thunk". I always make sure the system is not running when I turn off the breakers. Not sure what is causing this.

    Our system has a 5 minute (I believe) starting delay after power is restored (when I turn the breaker back on.) Our thermostat says "waiting for equipment", or something to that effect.
  5. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Correct in that you will not achieve set point, delta T has many influences i.e. thermal mass (length of power outage), EWT (power outage in early fall not as impactful as February), infiltration.........
  6. Popoff

    Popoff Member

    In response to Tstolze's reply to my rant posted on another thread,


    "From my research, with a Geo unit most suggest not to change the temperature, especially during heating season. These units have a slow recovery rate and are better maintaining a constant temperature."

    I would agree with your statement but isn't that where the supplemental electric heat should have kicked in? The thermostat was showing that the aux heat was on.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010
  7. geome

    geome Member Forum Leader

    A few thoughts...

    I agree with Tstolze regarding slow recoveries (without aux.) How was your aux sized (i.e. in the event of a system lockout, will the aux keep your house at the thermostat set point, or is aux just large enough to keep the pipes from freezing, or somewhere in between)?

    Stop setting back so much (like we did initially). :) It's hard to get out of furnace mentality. Setting back, and then recovering with aux could reduce your overall efficiency significantly. Stick with 2-3f setback max, if you must. Taking 2 or 3 blankets off our bed helped us adjust.

    Is your aux working -
    Are your aux circuit breakers turned on? Your installer can verify aux actually engages when the thermostat calls for aux.

    If your thermostat didn't show an aux indicator light, I might suspect a thermostat setting prevented aux from engaging (but this doesn't seem to be the case.) Other things can prevent aux from engaging at the unit (if this is your problem.) No power to aux, possibly a dip switch set incorrectly, a wiring problem, etc.
  8. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Seems likely the wiring of the heat pump to the generator may have inadvertantly disabled aux. Though geome is correct that errant dip switch setting may be at fault.

    I also agree with geome that dialing down at night will cost you more in recovery (if you use the auxiliary) than you save.

  9. Popoff

    Popoff Member

    Joe and Geome, as always, thanks for your well thought out and (mostly :D ) helpful responses.

    I'm looking into some options and think I'll be in a much better place with my situation by this time next week. I'll check back in when I can be more forthcoming.
  10. geome

    geome Member Forum Leader

    Popoff, can you tell us how you made out with the IntelliStart and the relay to enable your system to run with generator power without the aux heat being enabled? I am looking at generator sizing now and will have the same issue you did earlier in this thread.

    P.S. What kind of generator do you have? Do you like it? Would you do anything differently if you had to buy a generator again? Is it LP?

    Other opinions welcome, including generator sizing advice. I went through about 60% of the items I want powered today with a clamp meter recording inrush and running amps. I haven't yet figured load shedding, priority circuits, etc., yet. Not sure of the best way to go about it.

    Curt, unfortunately an 1800 rpm generator isn't in the budget now, but I remember your good advise regarding it.
  11. Popoff

    Popoff Member

    Hi Geome.
  12. geome

    geome Member Forum Leader

    Thanks Popoff. Would you (or Water Furnace) clarify this for me?

    While on utility power, do you have aux and emergency heat available if your unit locks out? While on generator power, you have no aux and emergency heat, right?

    I spoke to our installer. He knows how to connect the blower to the compressor section. This would allow the geothermal system to work under generator power, but if there is a lockout, wires inside the unit would need to be moved in order to have emergency heat.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011
  13. Popoff

    Popoff Member

    I don't know what a lock out is so I can't answer the question. Also, I don't know the difference between aux and emergency heat so I can't be of any help here either. Sorry.

    I'm looking forward to someone's elses reply to the questions so I can learn a little more about my system.
  14. geome

    geome Member Forum Leader

    I'll try to explain :)

    A geothermal system Lockout is when the geothermal system senses a problem and turns off the compressor in order to protect itself from damage until the problem can be fixed.

    Auxiliary Heat and Emergency Heat both use the same electric heating coils (resistance heat).

    It is called Auxiliary Heat when the heating coils (aka heat strips, heat packs) run at the same time as the geothermal system to help the geothermal system maintain the set point when it is very cold outside.

    It is called Emergency Heat when the heating coils run without the geothermal system. This can be due to a Lockout, where the geothermal system may automatically switch to the heating coils, or Emergency Heat can be selected at the thermostat.

    Resistance heat is not as efficient (100%) compared to the geothermal system (maybe 350% to 400%). So, when resistance heat is not needed to maintain the set point, it should be avoided (i.e. get the problem causing the lockout fixed ASAP.)

    Resistance heat uses a lot of power. Depending on the size of the resistance heat (in kW), and the size of the generator, the power requirements of the resistance heat may be more than the generator can provide, especially considering other items a person wants to power with the generator.

    Power for the geothermal blower (fan) can be wired to the resistance heat section or to the geothermal section.

    When the blower power is wired to the geothermal section, if there is a lockout the wiring powering the blower needs to be moved to the resistance heat section in order for the blower to function (since the lockout will prevent the blower from being powered.) This can be inconvenient in the event of a lockout.

    When the blower power is wired to the resistance heat section, if there is a lockout, the blower will function. Normally, this is fine unless you have a generator that is not powering the resistance heat. In this case, as you previously discovered, the blower is not powered by the generator if the blower gets power from the resistance heat breaker.

    It sounds like your electric resistance heat is (now) not powered by your generator.

    My question is - Will the relay solution enable your emergency heat to to function if you have a lockout (without the need to move wires) while under utility power?

    It's ok if you don't know the answer. I hope WF will be kind enough answer this question if you don't know. WF, you can PM me if you like. Thank you!
  15. WF_Inc

    WF_Inc Member


    If your unit locks out while on utility power and emergency heat is installed, the unit will run on emergency heat. In reference to the unit running on generator power, this will depend on how the unit is wired to the generator. If the main concern is heating over cooling, we suggest that the auxiliary heat circuit be the circuit that the generator is hooked up to.
  16. geome

    geome Member Forum Leader

    WF, thank you for responding. Please allow me to ask a more specific question.

    Is it possible to have One wiring configuration on an Envision packaged unit so that both of the following scenarios will work as described:

    A) While on generator power - the geothermal unit can operate with the blower,


    B) While on utility power - the emergency heat can run in the event of a geothermal lockout (without changing the blower wiring configuration)?

    If so, would you please PM me the contact person in WF technical services that knows how to do this so I can pass this on to our installer.

    It sounds like this may have been accomplished in Popoff's system with a relay. If not, I'm unsure of the need for the relay that was mentioned since it is my understanding that the blower can be connected to the geothermal unit without a relay (as is done in systems without heat strips.)
  17. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    The problem with auxiliary vs geo for thegenerator powered heat pump is it takes many more watts.
    One can get more bang for their buck running geo on generator.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2011
  18. geome

    geome Member Forum Leader

    Thanks Joe for your input.

    We also prefer the flexibility to run the geothermal unit in heating or cooling modes. We really want this set up as described in post #56. While we are waiting for the response from WF, has anyone set up their geothermal system, electric aux, and generator to work like this?

    Post #21 originally mentioned the relay. WF, you may want to reference post #23 & #27. Thanks again.
  19. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    It is really easy to do what you want buddy, the problem is UL listing may require the simplist solution not be employed. Therefore WF's hand s are tied on a public forum, nor in this litigeous age does anyone wanna suggest things contrary to Manufacturer's instructions, or risk voiding warranties.
    That said all can wrap their heads around this:
    CM, Bard and others put aux on it's own circuit. It has the advantage among others of easily turning off aux til you need it.
    FHP and WF wire control (24v circuit) and aux together. Advantage if compressor melts down that breaker can be turned off and aux/emergency heat still works.
    Further if you happened to know that WF and FHP without factory installed aux, simply have control and compressor circuits together and knew which 2 wires they moved when aux was added (you know the ones for the transformer), changing it back would be easy.
    Of course all of that is ill advised without thumbs up from your contractor and the manufacturer....
  20. geome

    geome Member Forum Leader

    Thanks Joe. I still have the 2 wires that were disconnected. :)

    I could safely make the switch, but I hope WF will present a solution that won't require moving wires in case I am not home during a lockout in order to get aux working (while under utility power.) I understand that for liability reasons, I would need to go through the installer for anything that WF suggests.

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