Connecticut No consiste

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Deb not found on youtube, May 28, 2016.

  1. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    So the pipes were insulated until the Home Energy Audit. Too bad that happened. I can't imagine someone asking you to strip all of that copper of it's insulation so you could buy and reinstall foam again later.

    Your components are fine, such as the Webstone brass valves, Grundfos pumps and Climate Master Geothermal Units. Like I said, I chose the same brand components for my install and I didn't go cheap. Someone doesn't like the pump size, that's a different issue.
    Last edited: May 30, 2016
  2. Hi Everyone,

    I just got up to my office. I've been out of town dropping off my friend in New Haven to catch a train back to Manhattan where she lives. She said to say Hi to you all, she can't believe I am in a forum for geo thermal, what can I say?

    I will gather all the specifics about the equipment tonight and post the information. I do have something from the well digger, too.

    If you saw the mold on the paper wrap of the insulation, it had to be remediated or they could not do the blower door test and measure the air leaks. My son has asthma and it was dangerous to have black mold exposed in the basement.

    A friend who was an enginner for the space suits at the old Hamilton Sundstrand told me the insulation was the wrong product for the amount of condensation the pipes generate. He recommended the black foam rubber type which is on some of the pipes. That is why I wanted to know what has worked best for you. I can't imagine how all that dripping goop could be the go-to product for this type of insulation.

    This weekend was the first time since the old molded insulation was removed last winter the pipes generated cold water and it was the first time there was any condensation. I did not have any trouble with condensation on the pipes all winter. Any damage to the pipes was created by the old insulation.

    In CT you only have 6 years to sue. It has been a very tumultuous time as I am sure everyone who is an entrepreneur or small business owner knows. I did not have the time or resources to engage in a legal fight. Now the window has closed. I do not think (but I will ask) I have any recourse with the company that made this mess.

    I have been trying to fix it. If it had been fixed, I would have been able to provide proof the system as it was designed was the fault. I knew the contract issue of switching the heat pumps was illegal. But if I had to hire a lawyer I had to be able to prove my case. As you all have seen, the fix has never been achieved by anyone so how could I prove it?

    I live my the saying, "if it looks like a fish, smells like a fish, it has to be a fish and the fish always stinks from the head". Too bad that is not enough for the courts, right?

  3. Hi Mark,
    I will gather the information tonight. I do not have the radiators. Only the Unico system provides heat and air-conditioning now.
    Thank you very much,
  5. Hi Docjenser,
    I wanted a system to provide central airconditioning and heat. I will draw up the plan tonight.
    Thank you very much,
  6. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    The pipes only drip when cold. For heating you send hot water through them, thus no condensation. For cooling they must be insulated. The insulation is not appropriate for wet insulation. Yes, black foam or neoprene is usually used then.

    Any reason they used the Unico system, and not (a) water to air heat pump(s) with ductwork?
  7. I think the Unico was used to save space and not eat up the closets. There were radiators in every room, some had 2 in a room. There was no previous duct work to tie in so mounting a unit in the attic and one in the basement allowed all the ducting to be hidden and not take away any of the living space.
  8. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    That melted component, Picture IMG_1820.jpg is the Buffer Tank Temperature Control switch. I took a close look and can see it is mounted on the tank and has temperature settings marked inside. It reminds me of a hot water tank temperature control switch when viewed up close. I'm assuming the switch normally controls one of the Geothermal Units, turning it on & off at the thermostat input on the CXM Control Card I mentioned today.

    I didn’t recognize the black on the insulation as being mold. I can see now why you were asked to remove your insulation when doing the ventilation test. Here are some more idea on insulation that would work to prevent sweating on the copper pipes during the cooling season:

    Here is the same link to ebay for the Thermacel insulation I used in the basement and Armaflex I used outside where I wanted thicker insulation for the winter on the above ground polyethylene loop pipe. The Armaflex below isn’t the right size for your job but an example only. I would shop around for the best price when using Armaflex.

    My Brother who migrated to South Carolina used those swimming pool foam tube toys to insulate his geothermal pipe. I saw them on sale at Dollar General a few years back, but couldn’t bring myself to turning my geothermal project into a rainbow of colored pipes in the basement overhead.

    It’s safe to say that the large cell poly foam/Thermacell, or the more flexible rubber foam/Armaflex would both work in CT to stop the pipes from sweating in the summer.

    The Buffer Tank temperature in the winter (120 to 130 F) was an issue mentioned due to this temperature being difficult to produce economically by geothermal compared to a fossil fueled boiler.

    In the summer this shouldn’t be a problem since a Buffer Tank temperature of 45 F is less difficult to produce with the geothermal unit. I would work the bugs out of the system to make it cool the house now while planning what needs to be changed in the fall before the heating season.

    If all components work correctly during the summer then there will be less problems to deal with in the winter. Also the Geothermal Units can be checked for efficiency in the summer as well as in the winter.

    The number of pumps required to move water in two loops doesn’t need to change but Doc’s issue appears to be the pumps are oversized, using more power than needed, which means the electric costs go up.

    I used 3 speed Grundfos Pumps in my ground loop to allow reducing power use in the summer by operating the pumps in Low speed. In the winter when the Geothermal Unit is working at max load the loop pumps are switched to High Speed to provide extra water/heat capacity needed for heating.

    If the Grundfos pumps are replaced with lower power pumps, I would recommend the 3 speed pumps for more flexibility & savings during heating & cooling season.

    Hopefully Mark can figure out if the Unico Air handlers are working correctly and any changes that could be made to improve operation & efficiency.

    I think I'll take another look at the House loop control box (forgot the 3 letter designator) to learn how it is supposed to operate.
  9. I love the idea of using the pool tubes. I have a bunch already. What did he use to seal them? I'd love a cornucopia of color to great me. After a few years, the tubes get rough and they become uncomfortable to use. I now have a place to recycle the old tubes. YEA! I hope it works.
    Thank you so much.
  10. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Stephanie and I use armaflex type a/c pipe insulation and sheets of armaflex on pumps and valves. How to instructions are printed on the box. We use the manufacture's contact cement then rubber tape to seal every thing air tight. Bell Pump and Supply should stock the material or be able to get it.

    Pool tubes could melt with glue.

  11. Hi Mark,

    I was watching YouTube videos about pipe insulation. I just found armaflex is at the Home Depot. I am going down to measure the pipes and get the numbers for the Unico. I will write back soon.
  12. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader


    You will want glue and tape. Flat sheets will make it easier. The best Christmas present wrapper in the household should be doing the job.

    Last edited: May 31, 2016
  13. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    I'll ask my Brother if he sealed the tubes. I'm betting he put the slit side up or turned them to 3 or 6 O'clock. They probably seal themselves since they are tougher than rubber Armaflex insulation that has the pre-glued edges.

    I agree with Mark that certain glues will melt the foam used in the Pool toys or the black foam made of the same material. I wouldn't try to glue them.

    I hadn't thought of sealing the valves and pumps, so Mark has a good idea using sheeting & tape. I would leave the motor/can side of the pump uninsulated to allow the heat to dissipate.
  14. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    After looking at the current version of the HBX ECO 1000 (I couldn't find the 1.10 version) the system is capable of doing anything a designer would want to do with your system. The manufacturer shows a Thermostat input, and an Aux Heat mode that could be used to operate the fuel oil fired boiler, and multiple add on interface boxes to control additional equipment when all outputs of the HBX have been used up.

    There are some design drawings at the end of the manual that show possible set up with multiple Geothermal Units and Buffer Tanks. You might take a look at that for ideas on how to draw your own system configuration.

    I noticed that the HBX controls the Geothermal Unit Well loop Circulating pumps.
    If this were my system, I would move the operation of the Well Loop Circ pumps to each respective Geothermal Unit Compressor contactor.
    The contactor in your Unit appears to have less terminals than my compressor contactor so you may need an additional contactor operated by the same 24 vac that operates the Compressor Contactor. This would ensure that the loop Circ pumps start when the compressor starts, avoiding the Compressor protective trips that will occur if/when the HBX fails to start the Recirc pumps.
    This would also free up a Pump start output on the HBX for other uses.

    The HBX program can be locked once it is programmed properly. The Installation manual has step by step directions for programming, but it might be wiser to have a Technician who knows the workings of the HBX to program it for your design then lock the program to keep others from tinkering with it.

    The HBX can do more than you need, since it can modulate valves using a proportional, integral, plus derivative (P+I+D or PID) feature which power stations use for feedback control of pressure, temperature or flow of boiler & plant system.

    More later, it's mailbox dog(s) walk time.
  15. I was measuring the pipes to make the drawing of the layout. Although I am not calling for Air conditioning, the tanks are keeping the water cool and the pipes are wet.

    Can I insulate while the pipes are sweating? Will the moisture be trapped against the metal and cause further damage/corrosion?
  16. When you say flat sheets, are you saying to lay a flat sheet over the connection point and tape the ends? I was watching a video showing the glueing and insulating process using Climaflex.

    It showed their product connecting with just their glue. I saw another video that said to wrap electical tape around the circumference and using HVAC tape at the connections and then the electrical tape over that too.

    Are you familiar with either process and if they work?
  17. I also compared the R value of the expensive insulation vs. the cheap tubes on the Home Depot site. I wanted to see what the difference would be if I use the pool noodles. The most expensive had an R rating of 3.3 and the cheapest had a 2.6. My basement is an old tank and its temperature stays pretty constant. Is the only difference in the pipe insulation the r value or is there something inherently better in using the expensive product?I was comparing Armaflex, Armaseal, Climaflex. 2 are rubber and one is polyurethane.
  18. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Lets do the math here. These are all numbers from the manufacturer's performance tables.

    A GSW036 R22 unit has a COP of 2.69 when having 120F entering load temp and 30F entering source temp, 9 gpm flow, extracts 16.4 KBTUs of heat from the ground, and uses 2.84 KW of power. Now, add to that about 500 watts for the Unico blower unit, 800 watts for the (2) 26-116 source pumps, 400 watts for the pump between each heat pump and buffer, and 400 W for at least 1 pump between the buffer tank and each UNICO system. So add to the 2.84 KW of the heat pump the 2100 watts of "parasitic losses", and you have have 4940 watts of electricity consumption to extract 16.4 BTUs from the ground. Now lets assume that 85% of the load electricity is converted to heat and delivered to the space (1 blower, 2 pumps), you have:

    16.4 KBTU + (4.14 KW x 3.412 x 0.85) / 4.94 KW x 3.412) / = 1.69 COP

    Now take this into the cooling season:

    Lets say you have a loop field of 90F EWT (and you will, given the extra electrical load on the system), a cooling capacity of 26 KBTUs, and a 2 KW power usage for the compressor. Add to that the 2.1 KW of pumping and blower usage and assume again that 85% of 1300 watts for pumps and blower and 2000 watts of compressor heat must be rejected by the heat pump.

    So total capacity is reduced by 3770 BTUs due to pumping and blower heat, so you only have roughly 23 KBTU for cooling, less than 2 tons per heat pump (in case someone wonders why the cooling is not happening, beside from air delivery issues and other losses in the system).

    23 KBTU x 3.412/ 13.99 KBTUs (2 KW compressor + 2.1 KW for pumping and blower (x 3,412)) = 5.6 EER

    So under those sample conditions Debs system will perform with an EER of 5.6 in the summer A/C, and 1.69 COP in the winter. Not accounting for other losses she will likely have.

    The inefficiency comes from 3 major design flaws:

    1) Exposing a water-water heat pump to high (and low A/C) load water temperatures causes the system to be inherently inefficient.
    2) The pumps are inherently inefficient (26-116 Grundfos).
    3) The unico system inherently is requiring a lot of blower power.

    Lots of inherited issues here, but that is the point.

    I challenge everyone here on how to quickly fix this.

    One need to be careful to tell Deb that the install makes sense that way, that the number of pumps don't need to change, that the flow rate can change between summer and winter, that the equipment are top of the line components, and that minor design changes are able to make her system more reliable and more efficient.

    Unless you change the system design, you will not change the COP or EER significantly. Lets step back here and see how her loop field is designed, what her pressure drop is, how the pumping could change, etc.
    I am sure that many people will come up and say "We can fix this" , but again, I would challenge them to describe what they would change, and what impact that would have. Everybody who will work on the system will fail unless he/she addresses one of the above 3 issues.

    Deb, I understand that you desire to address the dripping pipes quickly. But be aware that your piping might have to be changed significantly in the future if you want to have your system deficiency at least partially addressed. And before you insulate the pipes, the pipe sizes (diameter) would be important to note on the diagram you are working on.
    Last edited: May 31, 2016
  19. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    I'll let Mark answer most of the insulation questions since he's in the HVAC business and has probably seen a lot of different insulation problems over the years.

    Some copper will turn green if left exposed & wet for a long period of time, but I've never seen todays house copper turn green. It may have gone through a hardening & coating process that keeps the moisture out of metal.

    To eliminate the moisture on the pipes you could wait for a cold spell that will probably pass through a few more times before the humid weather stays with us. The humidity will drop with the cold. If water is still on the pipes, use a towel to wipe off the moisture then install the foam insulator.

    If you can allow the Buffer tank to warm up over time to basement temperature it would also reduce the condensation.

    I used black tie wraps at both ends of the insulation to hold it in place outside the house. In the basement some of the insulation has the self seal, and the rest is tough enough to stay put. I only see moisture on the brass fittings that I left exposed.

    I'd like to talk Thumb rules for a minute. I know how the Pro's on this website feel about them, so I can't resist.
    My 1 Ton Of Heating/Cooling per 600 square foot of house Thumb Rule worked well for me since I came up with a 4 Ton Unit for my house. Another Ton would have been nice for the Winter Winds that drive across my house making it harder to heat.
    The local Pro's say that they use a 1 Ton per 900 square feet of house Thumb Rule instead of the 600 square foot, so I overdesigned in their opinion.

    Knowing that you added foam insulation, new windows and window coverings, I would think 1 Ton per 700 square feet of home would be a reasonable Thumb Rule for an updated house. Using this Thumb Rule, with a 4000 square feet house you would need 5.7 Tons of Heating/Cooling. You have 6 Tons of Geothermal heating/cooling, so in my opinion your house should stay cool in the summer and will stay warm in the winter if you can get the heat into the living spaces.
  20. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader


    Why are you not on youtube?

    You should be.

    I have been waiting for this thread all afternoon via email. So I am late to the dance. Sorry.

    I can fix this house. I can make it do what you want, never go to the basement again.

    I do not guess, I know and I measure.

    Please note the avatar change. I know how to do what I talk about. Try; 440.223.0840.

    Yes go to Big Orange and buy the sizes you need. Get them to give you a box with the "how twos" on it. Insulate straight pipe first. Then learn ho to cut the fittings and corners. Again find Bell Pump and supply. Tell them you are Lake Erie Indoor Air Service and get the flat stuff, glue and tape.

    I do not get along with Doc, he thinks I am un-educated.

    I know how to get twice as much heat in your home without major changes.

    I coached Tamar for a year before she won.

    warm regards,


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