Geothermal Problems in Alabama
First post. Greeting's from FOB Warrior, Kirkuk, Iraq. I am desperate for suggestions. I AM NOT an HVAC expert/installer.....but I am a Google Ranger!! I will try and be brief.
Closed loop, (2 loops) horizontal system in SE Alabama. Home is 3200SF, 7 zones, 2 story. 2x6 construction, foamed AND cellulosed walls/ceilings. Very good R-Value. Low E windows. Installer seemed VERY knowledgeable and was up to date on technology. VERY GOOD SERVICE! Explained everything to me as he installed.
I owned excavator and dug, 12+ feet deep, over 400' of loop installed by installer, then pressure checked, closed hole with 3' of sand/dirt, installed 2nd loop (400') since hole was open and installer convinced me to do it. Said you will "never" have problems now. Little did I know.
Installed 5 years ago.
1st summer on line, severe drought conditions, loops overheating, no A/C in house, installer connects into home water supply to make open loop and it sorta fixed problem. Water bill doubled.....no savings. Cooled pretty good though, but not all zones at once.
2nd summer, loops overheating (again), installer says pump water from my pond and cool loops in my field with sprinklers. Kinda worked, couldn't run all zones in house w/o overheating and shutting down. Double water bill and increase in electrical bill to run 3HP pump 24/7 from pond.......even worse savings from first year.
3rd and 4th summer.....kinda worked ok when we got rain and it saturated ground. Ran pump from pond all summer, and county water through open loop pipes...no savings. Had to change between loops every 24 hours to cool 2 zones.
This summer. Wife has complete nuclear meltdown on me from 7000 miles away. Geo will NOT cool house. Keeps going off-line. Will cool 1 zone at night. Installer and my homebuilder no longer speaking and on terrible terms. Installer refuses to service or even return calls to my wife as punishment to my homebuilder. Lousy POS!!! I tell her to call other local a/c companies who deal with geo-thermal. There are only 2.
1st company she call's...."we didn't install it, we won't service it"....2nd company comes out...."tech goes under house and say's to wife....ummm, I am a water-furnace trained guy....never seen a set-up like this" he hooks up pressure gauges and does a service of some sort, told her...."should be good to go"...didn't fix problem. I am leaving Iraq to come home on leave tomorrow and deal with this nightmare. Have 2 weeks to fix it.
Had it w/ geo. It wins!! I suspect it was installed incorrectly. I have completed a week's worth of research and am convinced the loops are not adequate in length, compressor to small....who know's? I was deployed when he first fired it off, so I don't even know if he took baseline readings of everything. My wife is switching between the loops under the house every 12 hours, helps a little bit for a few hours at a time. Then overheat and compressor goes offline.
Here's the million dollar question.
Can I convert to convetional A/C and leave my current duct work/zones/air handler/thermostat in place?
Even better, may I have a way to select between GEO and coventional and run everything through current air handler?
Geo is GREAT in spring/fall when loops aren't overheating and water is not pumping through open loops. I burn wood in winter as it won't heat house without electrical strip turning on in air handler. Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
This is WaterFurnace International Inc., and we have read your comments. Unfortunately, the manufacturer of your equipment was not disclosed in your post. If you have WaterFurnace equipment, we would be more than happy to offer any assistance we can. Please provide your model number, serial number, and the name of your installing contractor so that we may look into your inquiry further. Also, could you provide the distance between your home and pond?
WaterFurnace International, Inc.
Sir, it is not a water-furnace brand. Thanks
If you would like you can contact our Consumer Relations Staff at (260)478-5667, and we will do whatever we can to be of assistance.
WaterFurnace International, Inc.
looking good waterfurnace way to treat a Hero you will always have my Business. After spending time in the heat of Iraq this man should not have to come home to the heat of Alabama. He may not be your customer but he is the reason we live in a free country. May God bless him and the U.S.A.
Did anyone consider putting the loop in the pond? I'm sure in Alabama nobody wants to talk about deep wells right now or the cost involved.
800' of loop is no where near enough for your load of a 3200 sq ft house. Alabama averages about 800' of horizontal loop per ton for geo. A manual J needs to be completed if not already to determine the load and additional loop installed to meet that load. Dry sandy soils require more loop than wet clay soils. To save space, Slinky loops can be installed. These are well described at geoexchange.org or greenbuildingtalk.com
Putting additional loop in the pond (in the form of pond coils) if it's large enough should work as well.
You probably require about 150 ~ 200 vertical feet per ton of borehole. Since you already have zoning, use the existing GSHP for an appropriately sized zone and install additional GSHPs to properly handle the remaining zones.
In the interest of saving money a pond loop (or even an opened loop) should be explored if this can be an option.
Allow the gentleman from WaterFurnace to assist you.
Even though Im Canadian, I cannot thank you enough for your service to your country and for freedom everywhere.
Ill pray for your safe return.
G-d bless you &
G-d bless America!