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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Louisville, KY
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    141

    Question about geothermal failures by type of loop

    Hi everyone,

    I work for an extended warranty company and we are trying to determine if the failure rates [of the actual units, not the piping] are about the same for ground closed-loops, surface water closed loops and water well open loops. Can you offer any informed advice as to whether we should consider them essentially the same risk potential or not?

    Much appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Portland OR
    Posts
    1,834
    It all depends on how well the loop and unit ARE INSTALLED. Read through some of the questions on this part of the forum and you will see people often complain about brand X or brand Y unit, only to find out the contractor really screwed it up and the loop was way to short and there was no maintenance performed since they bought it 15 years ago. I personally have never seen one type of loop make units fail more than others because if the loop is designed and installed properly the units should operate almost exactly the same.
    Check out my YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/skyheating1 We have customer testimonials, product reviews and more!
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    The Quad-Cities area (midwest).
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    2,482
    Are you asking about new home installs or installations for existing homes?

    That would be interesting to see where most of the failures are occuring.

    My guess would be the ductwork for the reasons. Geothermal units need to be so oversized to heat that the ductwork can't handle it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    141
    SkyHeating: Thank you very much for your input.

    George2: It would be either/or as far as new construction or retrofits. So are you saying that perhaps installing a geothermal unit on existing ducts previously used for air source heat pump or fuel furnace would be likely to increase failure rates?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Georgetown Delaware
    Posts
    197
    Please do not take this the wrong way. You are way out over your skis here. Your question "which loops see the most failures?" is akin to asking which 1/2 ton pick up truck is best.

    I see no direct correlation between the type of loops installed and the frequency of failed machines. If you are looking at it from an underwriting position I would view it like they rate motor cycle insurance. It is based on the length of time the rider has had a MC liscense and their age. It would serve you better to look at the instaler of said machines credentials to do the underwriting.

    I can draw a straight line from lack of install training and experiance to the frequency of failures, with no merit being given to the type of loops or machine being employed. " a sufficiently talented fool will allways find a wat to botch things up".
    Eric
    Eric Sackett
    weberwelldrilling.com
    Delta P= 8 ATA
    www.youtube.com/weberwelldrilling

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    141
    Eric, thank you so much. This is exactly what I was hoping to confirm, that the type of loop has no correlation to failure rates of the units.

    We do continuing auditing of claims paid to contractors and those who seem to have unreasonable failure rates we investigate further, to the point of not allowing any further sales of our warranty products.

    (of course we keep honoring the existing contracts as they should be, in order not to penalize the equipment owner, but may require additional paperwork from servicer upon claim submittal)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    The Quad-Cities area (midwest).
    Posts
    2,482
    Quote Originally Posted by Phrancis View Post
    SkyHeating: Thank you very much for your input.

    George2: It would be either/or as far as new construction or retrofits. So are you saying that perhaps installing a geothermal unit on existing ducts previously used for air source heat pump or fuel furnace would be likely to increase failure rates?
    I always had an experianced driller do my loops. I would like to think that anyone doing the loops would error on having too much vs. being on the edge.

    My guess is that alot of failures are from the lack of duckwork/airflow knowledge.
    Especially with the retrofit systems. Although, I've seen some pretty bad (ductwork) new contruction jobs as well.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Portland OR
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    1,834
    Quote Originally Posted by George2 View Post
    I would like to think that anyone doing the loops would error on having too much vs. being on the edge.

    My guess is that alot of failures are from the lack of duckwork/airflow knowledge.
    Especially with the retrofit systems. Although, I've seen some pretty bad (ductwork) new contruction jobs as well.
    Are you joking about the erring on the side of a longer loop? In my area many will put in half the loop that I will because it makes for a shorter trench(less $$$) less pipe (less $$$) and less labor and just say the machine will perform well because that's what the manufacture performance states they could care less how long the loop is. I have gone up against many competitors who won't even tell their loop length or design because it's their info, well you can't tell it will be done right if you don't know length.

    Airflow and loop are key.
    Check out my YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/skyheating1 We have customer testimonials, product reviews and more!
    Like us on FACEBOOK if you like our advice here!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    The Quad-Cities area (midwest).
    Posts
    2,482
    Quote Originally Posted by SkyHeating View Post
    Are you joking about the erring on the side of a longer loop? In my area many will put in half the loop that I will because it makes for a shorter trench(less $$$) less pipe (less $$$) and less labor and just say the machine will perform well because that's what the manufacture performance states they could care less how long the loop is. I have gone up against many competitors who won't even tell their loop length or design because it's their info, well you can't tell it will be done right if you don't know length.

    Airflow and loop are key.
    I guess that was "midwest" wishful thinking. That is how I will design my ductwork...a little larger is better than being too small.

    The company we have do our loops does about 90% of the jobs in our area. We have not had any problems with them. Again, this is the midwest. I know values are different on both coasts.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Georgetown Delaware
    Posts
    197
    No industry is imune to a bad business model. The instalation of substandard widgets only plays out short term, and seeks to damage the industry as a whole. Unfortunately many loopers went out of the gate not understanding/ or not careing about the outcome of a given project.

    As profesionals all we can do is forge on and clean up the pool one job at a time. The others will sort themselves out in due time.
    Eric
    Eric Sackett
    weberwelldrilling.com
    Delta P= 8 ATA
    www.youtube.com/weberwelldrilling

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    West Berlin, NJ
    Posts
    59
    Loops generally will not fail unless installed incorrectly.
    No loop is more prone to failure either when installed correctly.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    141
    Thanks everyone for your professional insight, very much appreciated!

  13. #13

    Hmm GeoThermal

    If the system and loops are installed correctly there are very little issues in our experience. The open loop system is easiest to work on if there are other problems that arise. As long as the loops were installed by a certified fusion tech, I don't think you would have to worry to much about the loops leaking.

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