Water Furnace Compressor Failures
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  1. #1

    Water Furnace Compressor Failures

    I've been reading other threads regarding Water Furnace compressor problems. My situation is very similar to others who have posted on this site. My system was installed in a new construction in 2002. As of last week I have now had three compressors fail. RobertSMB9 has a thread that I can relate to. I'm not sure at this point what to do. In these kinds of situations, it isn't very often that the customer ends up "winning". Everyone points the finger at someone else. There are so many variables involved. Everyone has an "out" and therefore nothing gets accomplished unless the customer finances it. Water Furnace (unit design flaw)......Compressor manufacturer (design problem/material or workmanship defect)......Power company (bad power)......installer (improper design/improper system design/improper installation).......customer (poor maintenance practices)....and on and on.

    As you can tell, I am already frustrated because I know what I'm heading in to......being cold and spending more money on an already expensive system. In reading the previous posts, I can see that there are plenty of suggestions to get data to help troubleshoot the root cause. Can anyone give me a complete list of all of the data I need to satisfy my installer and water furnace? Before I get into this battle, I'd like to try to do my part.

    Some system details:
    Installed - 2002
    Size - 5 ton
    Closed-loop
    Water Furnace Premier
    Two zones
    Last time compressor failed, installer said something about Water Furnace upgrading or upsizing a capacitor. He changed out the capacity when he installed the new compressor and thought that would fix the problem.

    What else do I need to find out to help diagnose this problem and fix it for good?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Eastern Shore, MD
    Posts
    798
    I really don't have enough information to answer your question. Compressors rarely fail for no reason. Especially not three times. Something is being missed to cause this to continue to happen. How are the compressors failing? mechanically? open winding? burnout?

    The biggest concern here is that now your system is ten years old. The most advisable course of action from here on out is simply to get a new system.....but I wouldnt go with the company that installed your current system.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Northern VA 38 degrees N by 76 degrees W
    Posts
    5,058
    Quote Originally Posted by hvacproblems View Post
    I've been reading other threads regarding Water Furnace compressor problems. My situation is very similar to others who have posted on this site. My system was installed in a new construction in 2002. As of last week I have now had three compressors fail. RobertSMB9 has a thread that I can relate to. I'm not sure at this point what to do. In these kinds of situations, it isn't very often that the customer ends up "winning". Everyone points the finger at someone else. There are so many variables involved. Everyone has an "out" and therefore nothing gets accomplished unless the customer finances it. Water Furnace (unit design flaw)......Compressor manufacturer (design problem/material or workmanship defect)......Power company (bad power)......installer (improper design/improper system design/improper installation).......customer (poor maintenance practices)....and on and on.

    As you can tell, I am already frustrated because I know what I'm heading in to......being cold and spending more money on an already expensive system. In reading the previous posts, I can see that there are plenty of suggestions to get data to help troubleshoot the root cause. Can anyone give me a complete list of all of the data I need to satisfy my installer and water furnace? Before I get into this battle, I'd like to try to do my part.

    Some system details:
    Installed - 2002
    Size - 5 ton
    Closed-loop
    Water Furnace Premier
    Two zones
    Last time compressor failed, installer said something about Water Furnace upgrading or upsizing a capacitor. He changed out the capacity when he installed the new compressor and thought that would fix the problem.

    What else do I need to find out to help diagnose this problem and fix it for good?
    Chances of three bad compressors is slim to none. Water circuit and zoning have high probability of causing compressor failure.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,274
    Three compressor failures and nobody knows with reasonable confidence why that happened.

    I agree - state what type of compressor failure you've had. The same failure each time? Or something different each time?

    Any time water is involved with refrigeration circuits I want to be sure there is no water getting into the refrigeration side. If that checks out, compressor failures from that point forward are either electrical or refrigeration circuit performance related, for the most part. And...to complicate things a bit, many electrical failures are caused by strain placed on the compressor motor due to things going wrong on the refrigeration side (dirty coils, improper charge, etc.)

    Very seldom is it a manufacturer defect. Copeland Compressors and other OEMs will tell you point blank that the majority of compressor returns they see are not manufacturer defect related. That's not to cover their rear; it's just the truth. Not enough is done in the field to determine why a compressor died. Failing to do so sets up the replacement compressor to fail, as you well know.

    Way I see it, you have two choices: find someone who will find the cause behind your compressor losses, and remedy that cause. Or, start over with a clean system. After three failures on a ten year old system....I know it's a lot of money but sometimes cutting one's losses is in the long run more prudent. Like Gross said, whichever route you take, find someone who knows what they are doing.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,829
    I understand your frustration with the issues you've presented. As all others have stated, we'd need additional info before we can adequately advise on remedies and/or appropriate questions to ask. At 10-years of age, it's an appropriate time to determine if you'd like to keep throwing money at this unit or purchase a new system with a new warranty. You may also want to check with your accountant to determine if a new system would be subject to the 30% tax credit. I know it applies to new systems but whether you could squeeze a replacement unit into the mix is beyond my current knowledge. Others may know better on that topic.

    Rest assured there is a solution to the failed compressors. But it definitely makes a difference as to how they are failing. So a little more info will help.
    If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.

    If you are waiting for the 'other guy' to change first, just remember, you're the 'other guy's' other guy. To continue to expect real change when you keep acting the same way as always, is folly. Won't happen. Real change will only happen when a majority of the people change the way they vote!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    205
    Hard to swallow, but it is time for a new system.
    No matter how much perfume you put on a pig it is still a _ _ _

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4,604
    Im not sure what water furnace had for a warranty in 2002 , the current water furnace warranty is a 10 year parts and labor .

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Eastern Shore, MD
    Posts
    798
    one thing that MAY work is simply berating water furnace..BUT you'll have to figure out the actual problem first. calling water furnace and telling them they are akin to walmart and theyll let anyone buy and install their stuff with out proper training may work. what ever they say, even if its the installers issue, bring it back on them for providing insufficient training. MAY work...depends on how good you are at complaining LOL

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