View Full Version : what's the use for building codes?
02-20-2009, 09:01 PM
We had a GSHP installed 4 yrs ago and it is now trashed due to H2S exposure as diagnosed by at least 2 installers other than the original installer. The building code in Indiana states that the installation should follow the manufacturer's installation manual. The manual states that no H2S is allowed in this application. the installer installed it in an environment with H2S in it so I'm thinking...duh, the installation was flawed and the installer should correct the problem. Can someone tell me what is wrong with that deduction? The installer assumes no responsibility and the builder seems uninterested. Meanwhile we have NO HEAT. What's a homeowner to do?
02-20-2009, 09:42 PM
Was your house installed around an old battery plant or some type of manufacturing or waste system. I don't imagine anyone would test for Hydrogen Sulfide unless they were suspect that it was in the area. The GT drillers don't test the wells as far as I can tell. In order to test a well you would do a matrix test of the water which for me is over $3,000 per well and it takes weeks. The only time you're required to do testing is for commercial wells or wells used for public drinking water as far as I know.
Please tell us more.
02-20-2009, 09:48 PM
Question. What type of system and was it closed or open loop. I don't think the hydrogen sulfide would harm a closed loop system. As for an open loop system someone else would have to tell you if they test the water because it would seem that they have to test the water somewhat. In my last post I was thinking you said closed loop but when I re-read i I didn't find that you did.
02-20-2009, 10:18 PM
Building codes protect the safety of the public. E-mail your state's attorney.
02-21-2009, 06:20 AM
did file a complaint with the attorny generals office but since there are not multiple complaints and due to the statute of limitations, they cannot help. A regular attorney is too cost prohibative with no assurance that we will win but I appreciate your reply.
02-21-2009, 06:35 AM
In response to "tell us more". H2S is pretty obvious in that the smell is usually quite noticable. The well driller did not nor do they test the wells unless requested but a water conditioning company will. The test was quick and simple. It still seems to me that if there are water quality guidelines (and there were several guidelines listed in the manual) that someone should say. Hey Eric, here are the environmental needs this type of system requires. I need to know what we're dealing with before we proceed. Get me a water test and we'll go from there. It is an open loop that we will now be closing. Would have been better to close it from the start but I guess I was relying on the installer make the appropriate recomendations based on his training. I have since talked to 3 other installers who immediatly siad a water test is the 1st step. Thanks for your interest.
02-21-2009, 10:25 AM
We had a similair experience about 20 years ago with a new construction job. Well was drilled and clear, clean water was found. So we installed the HP as a WSHP a 3 -ton Waterfurnace. Home was finished and almost a year later the water changed to sulfer. Within 3 months after the HO noticing the odours we started getting calls for lock out on the HP. Refrigerant leaks in the air coil section
We have found the sulfer in the air attacks the silfos joints in the refrigeration system. With the sulfer in the air of the home the blower is moving 400 CFM/ton across the air coil and the leaks start there.
I have a couple homes where we have installed loops and the HO has installed a treatment plant for the water supply to reduce any inpact on the HP. Seems to work as the HP are now over 10 & 14-years old without refrigerant issues.
02-22-2009, 07:09 AM
If your building codes are followed and a problem crops up despite compliance with the codes, then there's a code problem. Let me expound a little on that.
In our state, the well drilling company is required to test the well and report the test results to the homeowner, as well as keeping a copy for themselves. If the well is to be used for potable water, then additional testing must be done with a copy to the homeowner and one to the Board of Health in the town. Currently, that's the code.
However, the Dept. of Natural Resources in our state wants to change the codes. They want full jurisdiction as to the drilling of the wells. They also want to have the results of the initial test recorded and filed with both them and the town. They also want constant monitoring of the volume of water going in and out of the well as well as quarterly testing and reporting of the discharge water going back to the well.
As you can see, these new codes would add a tremendous and expensive burden to the building owner in order to use an open system. To a technical person, it's an attempt to increase the size of their fifedom. To an environmentalist, it's simply trying to protect the environment by monitoring every drop of water going into the earth once it's already left. What is missed in this whole debate is that there is nothing changed in the water between the time it enters the system and the time it's returned to the well, except for the temperature of the water. But if enacted, that's what codes would do for you. Mind you though, there is absolutely nothing preventing anyone from testing their well dailly, if that's what they want to do. So if the well was tested initially and found clear and subsequently H2S infiltrated the well, then I'd say it's not anyones fault specifically. However, if there's a track record of H2S in the area, then I would think it would have been proper for someone to at least advise you that you should either monitor the well water or install a treatment system to prevent any H2S from getting to the equipment.
I'm sure this is a huge frustration and expense for you and I sympathize with your issue but I'm afraid you're only option is to recognize the facts as they are and the decide whether you want to switch to fossil fuel to heat your home or replace the damaged coils and install a treatment system. I think if I were you, I'd replace the damaged coils, install a treatment system and get on with my life.
02-28-2009, 12:48 PM
Why not replace the damaged coil and convert to a closed loop system? You already have one well. Compare the cost of a treatment system and the maintenance of the treatment system to adding another well for a vertical closed loop. If you have the land a horizontal loop would be less expensive. Get intouch with the maufactuer and let them know what has happened. Did you have a standard heat exchanger or cupernickle?
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