Maryland Not enough hot water

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Julia W, Dec 25, 2018.

  1. Julia W

    Julia W New Member

    My Dad recently passed away and with him pretty much all of the knowledge of the geothermal heating unit in my parents' house. The house was built in 2010 with geothermal heating, cooling and hot water. A month ago when we came to visit my mom for Thanksgiving we noticed that there was not enough hot water for more than one shower. She had recently had an annual maintenance inspection. I think the serviceman must have changed a setting. I'm hoping that there is a relatively simple fix that we can do while we're visiting my mom for Christmas, to fix the amount of hot water that is being stored. I took photos of the entire system if that would help anyone answer my question. I'll be happy to upload them if needed. There seems to be two hot water heaters. One is about 5 or 6 ft tall. The other is more like 3 or 4 ft tall. The shorter one has a gray tank looking item surrounding the exiting pipe that is maybe about 12 in in length and about 8in diameter. The taller one is wrapped almost completely in some sort of silver thermal blanket. Thanks for your help. Merry Christmas.
     
  2. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    The taller is probably the buffer tank, it's the one that's heated by the geo heat pump desuperheater. The second tank would be the one that's powered, called the finishing tank. The buffer tank is not heated by an electric element. I would first check that you are getting power to the second tank. If not that's an easy fix.
     
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  3. arkie6

    arkie6 Active Member Forum Leader

    Which tank has pipes that go directly to the geothermal unit? That would typically be the buffer tank that captures excess heat from the geothermal unit to pre-heat the water. Water from the buffer tank then flows to the finishing tank. The finishing tank then brings water up to the desired hot water temperature. The finishing tank, assuming it is electric, needs to be powered to perform its job. The first thing I would do is make sure the circuit breaker in the breaker panel is closed and not off or tripped. If the circuit breaker is closed and you are not getting enough hot water, you may have a faulty temperature switch in the finishing tank. You can also check the temperature setting of the switch to see if it is set high enough to provide sufficient hot water, and if not, adjust it upward.
     
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  4. Julia W

    Julia W New Member

    Thank you Nc73 & Arkie6. I will check the items you mention in the morning. Arkie6, where may I find the stitches you mention?
     
  5. Julia W

    Julia W New Member

  6. Julia W

    Julia W New Member

  7. Julia W

    Julia W New Member

  8. Julia W

    Julia W New Member

    I checked all of the breakers in the circuit panels last month, & one had flipped but I switched it back on & it stayed on... but the lack of hot water situation persisted.
     
  9. arkie6

    arkie6 Active Member Forum Leader

    It appears that the shorter tank on the right is the buffer tank for the geothermal unit desuperheater. The tank on the left with the silver insulation wrap is the finishing tank that should be capable of supplying all of your hot water if it is working properly. The buffer tank normally just acts as a pre-heat tank even though yours has wiring to indicating it could be powered as well. The heating element temperature switches are behind the metal covers on the front of the tank, one for the lower heating element and one for the upper element. You can see the lower switch cover partly behind the silver wrap insulation and the upper one is behind that bulge in the external insulation. That insulation wrap will have to be partly removed to allow access to those metal covers which are secured with sheet metal screws. Note that behind these covers is 240 volts AC. If you are not familiar with working around this voltage, you might want to contact an electrician or plumber to check it out.
     
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  10. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    Hopefully the one you flipped back wasn't the tank on the left, it's suppose to be off. It's probably disconnected anyway.
     
  11. ChrisJ

    ChrisJ Active Member Forum Leader

    Left tank is the finishing tank, the one on the right is the buffer/storage tank. Note the 1/2" copper pipe going down to the drain.
     
  12. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    That's what I was thinking, got it backwards :)
     

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