Geothermal heat pump massive energy usage!

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Old 12-08-17, 05:47 PM
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Geothermal heat pump massive energy usage!

Large back-story with why I feel like I have a problem.

5 ton system
Geothermal open loop- 55 degree water using 7.5GPM
3 zones
Heat strip auxiliary
Single speed fan in unit

I have attached several pictures of the unit. I will include any more pictures if you ask! Please don't hesitate.

Last winter we returned from vacation to find a ridiculously high energy bill - using about 200 kWh/day. This was our first winter in a new house. I had suspected there had to be a problem, as everyone brags about geothermal/heat pump efficiency.

I found the highest rated HVAC company I could find. I had a tech called out and he told me all me compressor was bad, my valves were bad - that's why it wasn't flowing any water. He wanted to charge me 16k for a new unit. I asked about a cash discount and he told me 12k cash. I told him let me think about it, and 3 minutes later he comes back to my door asking if I've thought about it, which led me to think something with that company was fishy.

I asked him that if my valves were bad, why doesn't a pressurized filter have water coming out before the valves? He didn't answer the question.

When he left, I started fiddling with it and had discovered the plumbing for the geothermal had a collapsed gate valve. Plumber must've ran out of ball valves and thrown that one in there. It failed. I repaired it, and my geothermal compressor came alive immediately once it detected water flow.

Thought all was well. I still had pretty big energy bills even with the water flowing and working.

I had called another company and explained my setup and he immediately told me to scrap the geothermal, he'd come in and put a furnace in and throw an air conditioner outside my house as well.

The third person I ended up finding was specialized in geothermal. I gave him a call and he came out and tested everything and told me it was fine. After I argued with him, he tried to prove me wrong and told me even if this runs 24/7 a month it'll be $240 max and your bills shouldn't be $600 and I have other problems etc etc.

After arguing with him he tries to prove me wrong and pulls out a multi-meter and clearly sees the unit is calling for heat strips, even though the thermostats aren't calling for heat strips. He concludes my control board is shot. He ended up putting in an HZ322.

I understand I have a large house, and I have no problem paying my heating bill cost. But with a geothermal and a heat pump, shouldn't i expect a MUCH smaller bill? I feel like the unit is calling for heat strips all the time even if the thermostats aren't.

Can anyone help me troubleshoot this? I live in a state where good help is rare to find.

House stats

4,000 sq/ft
13 foot ceilings
Stucco
Tile roof
Fully insulated
16" cellouse
concrete foundation
84 windows

Propane water heater.

I am using 110KWH a day at minimum to have my house at 62 degrees.

The outside temperature is at the lowest so far 25 degrees.

I suspect I still have a hidden problem no one cares to diagnose instead of just replacing the unit.

2 people live in the house, with LED everything and energy efficient everything. I set my temperature at my thermostat and leave it. Believe it or not, the unit does not run all that often.
 
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Last edited by PJmax; 12-08-17 at 06:11 PM. Reason: removed phone number
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Old 12-08-17, 06:06 PM
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Comfort Aire HRV060A1C00ART.

No location listed.

I don't see any heating sequencers to get stuck on. Electric heat is controlled directly from the logic board. Easy enough to disconnect but shouldn't have to. Found an excellent manual on that unit. Actually quite a rarity.

HR_series.php?file_id=20825

Geo systems are my forum partner Houston's specialty. I'll let him take the lead here.
 
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Old 12-08-17, 06:13 PM
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Thank you for the manual. I appreciate it, I also appreciate a response.

Thank you.
 
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Old 12-08-17, 06:24 PM
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In this picture.... it looks like the reversing valve connection is melted ?

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Old 12-08-17, 07:02 PM
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Here's some photos, there is also a wire with a female connector on it that's not hooked up. It does look like the control board is burned right there. You can also tell the wires got hot near it. It looks like it's the yellow "CO" wire. Which it looks like goes to the Fan?
 
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Old 12-08-17, 08:13 PM
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That plug on the bottom with the white, red and black wires is the heat strip control.
If you unplug that the heat strips won't come on.

I see an un-cut jumper on sensor F2 that is supposed to be on the F1 terminals according to the notes. Looks like it's just stuck in there.

The yellow CO (condensate overflow) wire is just for a sensor. Shouldn't be any heavy load there.

I see that yellow wire that is not connected. I can see a place where it could fit but don't know if it should be there. Look below that bottom 3 wire plug and you'll see a bare terminal. Is it labeled anything ?

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Old 12-08-17, 09:17 PM
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Hi, yes that terminal below the 3 wire connect is labeled "CO" and the unhooked connector is leading to the burned connector on the "CO" terminal as well.

As far as the jumper, that seems just to be a jumper for freeze protection right? When I the geothermal tech come out, he claimed someone cut that jumper on the board and it should be connected, so he ended up folding the 2 wires on the board back together.
 
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Old 12-09-17, 06:42 AM
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Good morning, it looks like that control board has seen better days.

Bypassing a water safety switch is never a good idea. The fact that the control board will enter a hard lockout when the condensate overflow switch trips can confuse some inexperienced techs.

When the service tech arrives several hours after the trip the water has often drained from the pan and it will be empty but the lockout will still exist. I would still blow out the drain and then pour 2 gallons of water into the pan to prove that the drain is clear instead of bypassing the condensate safety switch.

Bypassing a condensate switch can cause the water in the pan above your control board to leak down onto your control board and damage it. This appears to be your case.

That FP2 sensor should not be bypassed. The FP1 sensor can be bypassed at the jumper if you are using an antifreeze for condenser water but you are not. Neither freeze protection should be bypassed.

I would say that the drain needs to be cleared, the CO wire needs to be reconnected to the pan, the control board and possibly the safety wire harness to the control board needs to be replaced and the FP2 bypass needs to be removed.

I work for what I honestly believe is the Best geothermal company in Houston but not every tech in my company is a geothermal tech.
When you call your company out I recommend that you inform them that you have a geothermal system.
 
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Old 12-09-17, 11:40 AM
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I removed the jumper wire, I also took a picture of the pan for the drain. Last year the drain they had installed was installed upwards, making it impossible to drain. I ended up replacing all the hoses, and rerouted the drain so it actually drains. All my drains are clear, as they're like 3 months old now. I poured water and it quickly drained. So the drain they use to have never drained and I had mold in the pan, which is why I ended up rebuilding it all correctly..

I posted a picture of the pan, and the pan with the connector on it. I am assuming the large connected that says "CO" gets connected to the drain pan connector? I have attached a picture of how its installed and I'll wait to turn it on to see if its correct. The bare connector I showed a picture of earlier also says "CO".

What's my next plan if this is all correct? Is this just a safety thing i'm doing? What's my next step to figure out why it cost so much, or does it just cost this much with a geo/heat pump?
 
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Old 12-09-17, 11:44 AM
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SO the large connector has a "CO" on it, that is leading up to the wire with the female connector on. I am assuming that connector needs to go back up in the pan, as i did install it that way.

Here's an additional picture of the bare "CO" terminal on the control board underneath the large connector. So i am assuming that just stays bare, and I correctly installed the "CO" on the large connector to the pan terminal?
 
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Old 12-09-17, 11:54 AM
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A comment was made to replace the unit with a standard furnace but a working geo system is a real plus. I'd love to install one at my home. You didn't tell us your location but a working geo system should rarely need the reheats except on really cold days.
 
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Old 12-09-17, 11:59 AM
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I live in Idaho, the unit is in an insulated garage, which never gets past 40 degrees in it even on super super cold days. The low was 22 degrees. My unit used 125KWH last night to keep my house 62 degrees. This can't be normal?
 
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Old 12-09-17, 12:06 PM
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It would appear that your unit is running completely on the electric heat.
 
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Old 12-09-17, 12:10 PM
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I would agree, hopefully Houston can come and try and tell me what to do next, and tell me if what I just did with the wire was correct. You can tell my circuit board is fried in a few places. I don't know if I should replace it and that would help, or if i even have Freon in my system, or if my heat pump is working at all. I know my compressor kicks on near immediately, and its sucking the 7.5GPM no problem. I feel like I'm definitely wasting something. I don't mind paying someone, but everyone here has no idea what's going on. I would rather have someone walk me throught with it and maybe self diagnose everything i can possibly do.

The Compressor was "replaced" right before I purchased the house.

I want to get this fixed, i have this nice system installed and everything, that no one can fix.

Houston,thank you for reading and trying to help. I wish you lived here!
 
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Old 12-09-17, 12:38 PM
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By his posting name you can tell where he lives. He'll back to help further.
We're all working people and come on board in between our jobs.
 
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Old 12-09-17, 12:46 PM
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Agreed, I also own 2 businesses. I know how it is. I am not hurrying anyone, i am just thanking them for taking the time to read and help.
 
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Old 12-09-17, 05:47 PM
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Yes the drain connections sound correct but I have a few questions.


How do you know that you are moving 7 GPM?
Do you have Peteís plugs at the unit?
Do you have a digitalmeat thermometer?

Most vertical units use a hose to make an internal P-trap. Did you omit the trap when you repiped this drain?
 
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Old 12-09-17, 06:00 PM
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I have a water flow meter on the geothermal unit on the side of it. It was marked at the 9GPM range, but when I had Idaho Geothermal come out. he told me i could lower it to 7.5 gallons to save a little water.I also have 2 thermometers for in/and out

Temperatures are 55 degrees in and 33 degrees out. It does not have a P trap. It is a flex tubing then connected to PVC that goes into my drain. It's exactly how it was set up. Expect when they glued the PVC together, it was uphill and not downhill. So gravity couldn't take the water out. It drained the 2 gallons I put in the pan immediately.

Should I make it flow a little more than 7.5 gallons? I just turned off the 2 breakers for my heat strips and I'm seeing what the KWH usage is for a 24/hr period.

I have no idea what a petes plug is, or where it would be. Just request a picture of any set up and i'll definitely show you a picture of it.
 

Last edited by DIYsaveme; 12-09-17 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 12-09-17, 06:34 PM
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With a 22 degree water delta tee I would say that you are not moving any water. I suspect that you are reading a pressure gauge instead of a gpm gauge or your gpm gauge is broken.

I would increase the water valve until the delta tee is 10 degrees to 7 degrees.

Can you post a picture of the water pipe connections to the unit?
This is where the brass pressure/temperature port would be installed.

The drain will need to have a p-trap somewhere or it will struggle to drain when the fan is running.
( Like drinking through a straw)
 

Last edited by Houston204; 12-09-17 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 12-09-17, 06:40 PM
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Here's a few photos of the gauges and everything. It maybe looks like I have those petes plug?

I bet the gauge is broken, i'm sure but the Incoming water temp is 55 and out is 33. But I could swap the gauges to see if its even accurate at all? I swapped the gauges, the one in the discharge water supply was incorrect. I am letting them set for a few minutes and i'll check them again.

So the incoming water temp is 55 degrees. the discharge temp is 48 degrees. So Does that sound about right? That would be a difference between 7 degrees. Should i try and make the heat pump use more of the heat? Should I lower the GPM to 7?
 
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Old 12-09-17, 06:43 PM
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Are you saying I should increase my GPM? I can get you a better picture of the GPM I have. Its definitely flowing 7.5GPM.
 
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Old 12-09-17, 08:58 PM
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If I need to bypass a freeze protection switch I would not want the water flow to be at the bottom of the wanted range.

I usually want near 3 GPM per ton. This is the top of the desired range. If you have an open loop I can see why you might choose to use less water.

 
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Old 12-10-17, 10:36 AM
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I have seen a Geo unit with the heat strips stuck on this year.
The main control board was always sending a signal to the heat strip control to engage the heat strips, even when I disconnected the stat wires to the board.

While I had determined that the main board to be the culprit, the electric heat board also appeared to have water damage, so I ordered both boards.



The electric heat board was toward the top of my Climate Master unit. Since you have a Climate Master clone I would expect it to be in the same place. I would inspect the heat strip board as well.
 
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Old 12-10-17, 10:42 AM
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A 7 degree water delta tee at 7.5 GPM is 26,250 BTU heat of extraction.
It should be 41,200 with your water temperature and gpm according to your manual.
You have a 60,000 BTU unit.



Do you see any oil streaks on the evaporator coil?
I’d say that you probably have a refrigerant leak.
What is the return and supply air temperature?
Bet the air delta tee is poor.
 

Last edited by Houston204; 12-10-17 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 12-10-17, 10:46 AM
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Without a P-Trap the blower will draw in return air through the drain when the fan runs. This will prevent proper drainage until the fan cycles off. This can be too late on very hot days and the pan will overflow. I have seen this too many times.

It is okay to omit the factory internal trap if one is installed externally but if a pvc T is installed between the trap and the unit it must be capped.

 
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Old 12-10-17, 02:17 PM
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I have no tools to use those petes plugs you speak of. I also have no tools for the vent temp or the return vent temp. I am not necessarily trying to fix anything myself. I have no problem hiring a company. The problem with that is, if i call someone over again, this will actually be the 4th tech over, with me wasting my money and them finding nothing. If there's anything else I can do with a multi-meter or anything I can do that.

Here's some pictures of my inside unit and my drain.

I know my compressor was replaced, the soldering job looks like a 3 year old did it.

But you seem to be in agreeing that my unit is not correctly running?
 
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Old 12-10-17, 03:52 PM
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You need to have a p-trap installed on that drain.
I would put it on the outside with a T in the line between the trap and unit. An unglued cap should be slipped over the top of the t.

I would say that the refrigerant charge is low.
I would also have that unit checked for a refrigerant leak. It is going to be the evaporator coil.
Walmart and probably most grocery stores have digital meat thermometers.
Amazon sells my Cooper with the reduced tip.

The main control board should only send 24 volts DC to the heat strip board when a heating demand exists. I bet that your board will always have this heating output present.
 
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Old 12-10-17, 04:37 PM
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Hmm, well unfortunately it uses R22. Which as you know, is definitely super expensive! If the evap coil has a leak and needs a repair. Isn't it time just to get a new unit? Once they suck out the R22, refill and replace. I'm sure it'll be a few thousand with a Evap coil replacement. I turned off the breaker to my heat strips last night to see my power consumption. I am still consuming 100KWH+ in 24 hours with no power on the heat strips.

My house uses 24KWH in 24 hours with no geothermal on. So still deducing i'm using 80-100KWH for just the geothermal.

What do you think I realistically should be using if I had a working unit? I know I have a large house, with probably tons of heat loss with 84 windows in it. I'm just wondering if it'll be cheaper in the long run to get a new unit.

I was quoted 12k cash for a brand called "water furnace" or something. What would you consider a good price for a replacement, if thats what I HAVE to do.


I dont think I can tech this system out much more myself. It seems like I should just call someone and have my R22 level checked and pressure tested.

I would be super devastated if i had to replace this entire unit. Someone plumbed this geothermal into my house water softener. So i was using hundreds of dollars in salt a month. I just had it replumbed a few months ago and that cost me 800$. Which I know if i had to get a new unit, they would have to replumb!
 
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Old 12-10-17, 05:21 PM
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I am impressed with all of the gauges that you have installed. I never see GPM gauges and thermometers installed on geothermal equipment and I have been working on geo for over half of my life.

Those 2 pete’s plugs and my water pressure gauge will give me the pressure drop. That chart will give me the gpm output at the current pressure drop. The pete’s Plugs allow me to get delta tee for the btu output calculation.

The btu output, voltage and amperage allow me to calculate the efficiency.

But back to your question. It is true that you might consider a new unit before spending $3400 in repairs.
I like the Waterfurnace 5 series over any other brand. I recommend getting a 10 year parts and labor warranty. Getting an Aurora diagnostic tool wouldn’t be a bad idea .

We still haven’t proven that we have a leaking coil. A leaking shader valve would be a nicer option.
 
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Old 12-10-17, 05:29 PM
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Someone plumbed this geothermal into my house water softener.
How is that even possible. I thought the geo only recycles ground water.
 
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Old 12-10-17, 06:51 PM
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Pjmax, I have an open loop system. Open loop pulls water directly from my well and circulates the water and dumps it in a drain field in the middle of my yard. Closed loop systems are closed spirals, that definitely save you tons of water as their only filled once. Open loop systems have a temperature of 52 degrees while closed loops are 40 degrees.

Houston, funny you mention a leaky schrader valve. Last house I purchased had an air condition use R22. When I purchased the house it wouldn't cool. He came in and filled R22 and gave me a fat bill. Next summer it all leaked out again. The tech didn't even try to find out where the freon went (just wanted that quick money). I called another tech and he charged me tons of money to pressure/vacuum my system. It ended up being a leaky schrader valve.

So since i've had to use HVAC companies. I have literally tried 6 different companies. All with bad results. Idaho experiences quick, bad service. If it was as easy as calling you to come out to my house. I would rather do that then me who has no HVAC experience try to figure this out.

Is there any other test, or anything you would like me to do? I don't mind spending money on tools if i'll use them. I just don't want you to feel obligated to keep replying. If you're still willing to help me I would appreciate it. When it got really cold last winter. My bill was 646 to keep it 60 degrees.

I own my dream home, and I know somethings definitely messed up. I am spending to keep my house cold.

Take into consideration KWH in idaho is only 8.5! So a 600$ bill is massive massive KWH.

Thank you so much for helping. I honestly appreciate it more than you know.

You too PJ!
 
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Old 12-10-17, 07:10 PM
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I donít know that I recommend that you spend $161.00 on a Inficon Tekmate leak detector but that is what I would use.
It looks like you have streaking on the evaporator coil.
 
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Old 12-10-17, 07:17 PM
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Houston, could the streaking be due to hard water? I sprayed the coil off after I had mold inside my pan. I guess I'll just try to find lucky number 7 company and have them test it.

Anything special you can recommend or have me tell them or have them do? Increase GPM, make sure my delta is between 7-10? Check vent and return temps. etcetc?
 
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Old 12-10-17, 07:34 PM
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Yes the streaking could be hard water. It looks faint. I wonder what the return air side of it looks like.

I would keep the current GPM since you have an open loop.
Check the return air and supply air temperature ( this can be done by a homeowner)

Check the superheat and subcool ( refrigerant charge)
If the air delta tee, or subcool or poor we need to check for a refrigerant leak.

I like helping people on this site. It is enjoyable while watching Dark on Netflix on a Sunday night.
 
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Old 12-10-17, 07:50 PM
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I will check the air supply temp and return temp when I get a proper thermometer.

Ask and you shall receive, here is a picture of the back of the coil!

Even though my vents are 5+ feet above me, I can feel the air coming from the vent that feels like its going to melt my face. I don't use the AC really, but when I do its ice ice cold!

I've never heard of Dark, but i appreciate you enjoying helping!

Thank you again.

Also, the rear of the coil definitely looks like it has streaking..
 
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Old 12-10-17, 08:36 PM
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I recommend a Cooper DPP400-W thermometer.
You can use it for the air temperature and insert it into the P/T ports to check water temperature.
Your chart states that you want a 25 degree delta tee air side.

Dark is an Odd foreign show but it has time travel and I like everything from Groundhog Day to the Terminator
 
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Old 12-10-17, 10:30 PM
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Thank you, I did purchase DPP400W on amazon. It will be here on Wednesday. I will give you all my readings.

Yeah I looked up Dark. It looks pretty decent.

Netflix has some good series.

have you watched Dexter, Breaking Bad, or Stranger Things? Stranger Things is kinda kidish, but its really good.
 
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Old 12-10-17, 10:50 PM
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That is a great thermometer. I have seen other brands break when removed from a pressure / temperature port.
I sometimes prep the hole with a 1/8 inch scratch awl on older Pete's plugs.

I watched all of Dexter and the first 2 seasons of Breaking Bad but I can't seem to get into Stranger Things. My daughter watches it though. Kinda reminds me of The Sandlot.

The first 2 episodes of Dark are kinda weak but after that the time travel starts so I got hooked.
 
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Old 12-13-17, 04:05 PM
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Houston- my wife loves time traveling shows. I will have to check Dark out!

I have new reading with the thermometer you recommended me get!

Water in 57.5
Water out 48.2 degrees

Water delta is 9.3 degrees not the 5 i told you earlier.

Vent 95.3
return vent 68.5

Delta is 26.8 degrees

GPM is 7.5

Judging by all this new correct information. Does it seem like my geothermal is actually producing what its suppose to? Can you tell me the BTU now with the correct info?
 
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Old 12-13-17, 08:28 PM
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Received 17 Votes on 14 Posts
We have 34,875 BTU Heat of Extraction.
Take a look at the HE column for your 5 ton unit at 50įF entering water temperature, 41,200 BTU.
Look at the difference with 60į water 47,200BTU.

You are still a little short of specs.
We probably want to see around 45,000 BTU HE with 57į water.

The COP should be around 3.9 but I bet if you had a Uni-T UT210E meter or a similar clamp meter to get voltage and amperage your efficiency would be lower.

I still suspect that we are low on refrigerant.
 
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