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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    9

    Geothermal vertical loop questions - noob

    Please help out a noob here. I have a two year old WaterFurnace system with closed loop vertical well system.

    The problem I have is that the WaterFurnace keeps kicking off with a "Water Flow" error. The loops appear to be frosted over. The contractor was out last week and measured the loop temps at 29 F in and 25 F out. He blames the problem on a "cold loop". A different company drilled the wells and he had me pay them separately. That company has now changed ownership and they say "90 day warranty only".

    I have 6 wells in my yard. 4 of them are 150' deep, the 5th is 100' and the 6th is 50'. Wells 5 and 6 are tied together in one loop. They all go to a manifold in and out. The depths are not exact, but he said they were close enough.

    I do not understand fluid dynamics, but I suspect the water will go the path of least resistance... which is probably the loop 5 and 6 route but I don't really know.

    I suppose my only option is to dig up the yard and figure out what's going on, but that is going to be a major problem. I know where the manifolds are and wonder what would be wrong with making it all into one long single loop? That way I'm assured that all the water goes the entire loop.

    Can someone please take the time to explain this to me? Any help is greatly appreciated!!!!!

    Thanks,
    -Joe

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    43
    Joe where do you live? What size waterfurnace? For anyone reading this I would not ever contract with two different contractors. It is a game for some where it will not be their fault and they will win the contract with the low bid. One more thing what is the diameter of the loops. The wells should have smaller diameter loops and the water will not all be able to go through one line.Curtis

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    9
    I live in St. Louis, MO. The WaterFurnace is a 5 ton Envision unit.

    Sorry, I guess I should have included that up front.

    Thanks,
    -Joe

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    St.Paul, MN
    Posts
    125
    joe.
    Don't panic yet. The problem could be that there is not enough glycol in the loop and it is freezing in the heat exchanger because of the cold loop temp. 29 deg is getting cold but your machine should not lockout. Let me know if your installer checked when he came out.
    Remember, some poor fool has to work on what you install someday, and it might even be you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    9
    Quote Originally Posted by yorkguy View Post
    joe.
    Don't panic yet. The problem could be that there is not enough glycol in the loop and it is freezing in the heat exchanger because of the cold loop temp. 29 deg is getting cold but your machine should not lockout. Let me know if your installer checked when he came out.
    No, he didn't check anything but the loop pressure and temperatures. Blamed it on a cold loop and left.

    If I reset the unit it will run maybe a day or two before it happens again.

    -Joe

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    St.Paul, MN
    Posts
    125
    Quote Originally Posted by csgo View Post
    No, he didn't check anything but the loop pressure and temperatures. Blamed it on a cold loop and left.

    If I reset the unit it will run maybe a day or two before it happens again.

    -Joe
    I really would have it checked. Its possible that something worsecould be wrong but you have to eliminate all the simple thing first. There are many variables that determine proper loop length depending on soil conditions water table etc.
    Remember, some poor fool has to work on what you install someday, and it might even be you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    43
    Joe I think you may have been sold a short loop I am not a pro but I have a three and two ton system with 6 200 ft wells in Virginia, that gives me 1200 ft.and you only have 750 ft. in a much colder part of the country.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    9
    Quote Originally Posted by cdhand View Post
    Joe I think you may have been sold a short loop I am not a pro but I have a three and two ton system with 6 200 ft wells in Virginia, that gives me 1200 ft.and you only have 750 ft. in a much colder part of the country.
    That would be VERY aggravating since it's no longer possible to get a drilling rig up or other large equipment up to my house.

    -Joe

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    43
    Joe, this has to be someones fault. Did the hvac company tell the well digger how much feet of well you would need. If so you may be able to put it on him. Someone should be held responsible for what for what they did. When you pay this much money it should work.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    9
    Quote Originally Posted by cdhand View Post
    Joe, this has to be someones fault. Did the hvac company tell the well digger how much feet of well you would need. If so you may be able to put it on him. Someone should be held responsible for what for what they did. When you pay this much money it should work.
    I suppose there had to be some kind of information between them. I never heard of the driller until they showed up. I sure didn't tell him how much to drill because I have no idea.

    I know it took him a lot longer than he expected to drill. He kept running into what he called 'caves' or 'pockets' and couldn't drill when he hit them. I know nothing about well drilling so that was just my observation. It was so loud that it would have been impossible to ask any questions anyway.

    Thanks for all the info... I welcome all suggestions.

    -Joe

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    St.Paul, MN
    Posts
    125
    Have you had problems in the prior 2 years? There is way too much information needed to diagnose this over computer. There are a lot of things that could have gone wrong with the drilling but it's going to be very hard to determine since the work is all buried and you can't actually measure the length of the loops or know if they are grouted properly. You can only go by what the driller told you. I would try to look up the most reputable experienced geothermal company in your area and have the system thouroghly checked. We don't even know if it's sized properly for your house at this point let alone wheter the loop is sized right. If you can't find somebody you might try calling waterfurnace and see if they have a good dealer in your area. I really would like to know if there's enough glycol though, since that will cause the symptoms you described. The loop does sound a little cold for your part of the country but I encounter loops this temp on systems I service quite often and they are still operational. Keep us informed as to what happens.
    Remember, some poor fool has to work on what you install someday, and it might even be you.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    43
    Joe I have a number for Waterfurnace that is hard to get it is 260 478-5667. I hope they will help you to find a good dealer. The problem is that your unit is working fine, and they build the best equipment but if it is not installed right it will never work. For the most part the install is out of their control. I wish you the best and if I can ever help my # is 804 580-5203. Curtis

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    9
    Thanks again for all the info. I'm going to call the dealer and try Waterfurnace tomorrow and see what they have to say.

    My house is about 2900 sq. ft. ranch style plus a full basement. The main floor is made from SIPs so I consider it very well insulated.

    I don't know how to determine if there's enough glycol in the loops. I remember them saying they put some in, but I have no idea how much.

    I'll keep you updated, and if there are any more ideas please let me know.

    Thanks,
    -Joe

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