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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    NV, NOT Las Vegas
    Posts
    66

    GSHP refrigerant loop instead of water?

    Just starting to look into this a little bit, have questions.
    How common is this method?
    Are there manufacturers that offer equipment (residential)?
    I understand the extra care that will be required to bury copper tubing, however I think that the required area of land to be disturbed would be significantly less than with water. There has to be issues with corrosion to consider, but the area I am in, the soil is not conducive to corroding copper at all.
    My company has put in 6 GSHP in the last 5 years, all utilizing an array of 'sources' for the exterior heat exchange such as, open loop, pond loop, slim jim into a 71 deg. spring, and horizontal bore holes. The market I would like to crack into is the retrofit market, however the space is an issue within town limits where the customer base is condensed.
    I did try a buried 1700 gallon storage tank onto my own home, and it will not work on it's own. I am in the middle of burying a loop field to offset the lack of transfer provided by the tank, but this still presents a problem of space to install loop field.
    Drilling is a common option I know, but there is no driller within 200 miles that I would 1)trust and 2)trust. Thought about getting into the drill game myself, but what an investment and that is a whole other set of expertise. I am going to get like homer simpson eventually where every time I learn something new, something old falls out. Like the time I took that wine making class and forgot how to drive.
    Just some thoughts out there and I am confident there are guys here willing to share and I appreciate your time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    4,336
    My only experience with DX geothermal systems.....where the 20+ US Powers systems my father's company installed years back. Wow....talk about problems. The 2 major issues where oil return and capacity of the field. But again that comes down to install. You better be perfect. There was a third issue, in regards to dealing with the bigger charges.....but that was resolved with ball valve, so we could pump to the field.

    Those US Powers system just hated heating.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    NV, NOT Las Vegas
    Posts
    66
    Good point on the oil return issues there, and yes, perfect is right. I try to achieve that as much as possible as it is. Pros and cons to every thing, I guess my main goal is to be able to provide GSHP as an option to a homeowner in any land available situtation.
    Thanks for the reply

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    4,336
    Also Nordic makes residential DX HP's only seen a couple of them.
    http://www.nordicghp.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Edna Bay, Alaska Highest concentration of black bears in the US
    Posts
    623
    We have a few of the US Power units around here, and one problem I've had is when it got a lot colder than design temp, for an extended period of time, the ground around the loop froze. Then its basically wait for spring thaw.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Denver/Boulder
    Posts
    2,219
    Quote Originally Posted by mahlv View Post
    Good point on the oil return issues there, and yes, perfect is right. I try to achieve that as much as possible as it is. Pros and cons to every thing, I guess my main goal is to be able to provide GSHP as an option to a homeowner in any land available situtation.
    Thanks for the reply
    Mahlv, Check out earthlinked.

    http://www.earthlinked.com/


    Oil return issues are mainly a question of correct velocity.


    Be aware that I am not a fan of GSHP retrofits in residential. As Nevada is more "heat pump country" you may have better luck with existing ductwork than I do here. It really doesn't matter how efficient your "powerplant" (the heat pump) is when your distribution system is choking off the efficiency of the system and shortening it's life.

    Fundamentals are the key.

    Copper corrosion issues are largely a red herring promoted by the waterscource side of the industry to scare people way. If it were true we would have done away with copper water lines long ago.

    If you can test soil PH, you can tell where you stand.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.


    Two pressures, four temperatures = SUCCESS!


    Boulder Heating Contractor


    For Consumers:

    For HVACR Professionals:


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    NV, NOT Las Vegas
    Posts
    66
    thanks for the link darctangent, very helpful and interesting. i started envisioning ways to install the compressor below the loops somehow, like in a vault or basement to aid in oil return, but the accumulator and valve setup earthlinked has looks pretty cool. do you have experience with this manufacturer? I looked for a dealer near me, but only found installers in my neighboring state(utah), maybe I will give them a call. retrofit is a skillset all it's own, and i understand the ductwork issues and always consider that with my customers. I like retrofit because I dont have to deal with general contractors chiseling every single thing we do for them, the worst customer is easier to deal with than any general we work with around here.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Denver/Boulder
    Posts
    2,219
    Quote Originally Posted by mahlv View Post
    thanks for the link darctangent, very helpful and interesting. i started envisioning ways to install the compressor below the loops somehow, like in a vault or basement to aid in oil return, but the accumulator and valve setup earthlinked has looks pretty cool. do you have experience with this manufacturer? I looked for a dealer near me, but only found installers in my neighboring state(utah), maybe I will give them a call. retrofit is a skillset all it's own, and i understand the ductwork issues and always consider that with my customers. I like retrofit because I dont have to deal with general contractors chiseling every single thing we do for them, the worst customer is easier to deal with than any general we work with around here.
    Yes, I have three systems with my name on them. Two were mine from the start. New construction, green build GC's. One I got pulled into because the original contractor freaked out and disappeared. Couldn't handle it.

    This was my first.










    As to the customer vs contractor, I understand what you mean. Contractors always say, "Well, nobody else does it that way" and then I come back with , well you're right about that, but they're wrong and I'm right." The key to contractors is working with the right ones, but even then It's tough. When we have customers with an existing house and ductwork in inaccessible areas people are always focusing on the "powerplant" to solve their problems when they really should look at distribution.

    I have been asked out to several botched GSHP jobs and new or retrofit most the the issues come back to ductwork. People always think it's no big deal to choke off air. LOL strictly amateur hour, but that is the bulk of our industry.

    Let me know if you want training. Even though you are in Nevada, Denver is probably your best, closest training option. Beyond that I would recommend going to Earthlinked directly.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.


    Two pressures, four temperatures = SUCCESS!


    Boulder Heating Contractor


    For Consumers:

    For HVACR Professionals:


  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    NV, NOT Las Vegas
    Posts
    66
    Nice work, clean. Infloor heat and cooling/air treatment with the air handler looks like. What would you say the average 3 ton system would require as far as coil in the ground in a horizontal application. Not sure if that is too tech. for the open forum, if so, please email me. I am always interested in training, and if I had stumbled onto this 3 weeks ago when business was dead, I would be on my way to CO.
    I shouldnt complain so much about the generals we work with here, sometimes we get an out-of-towner in and then we get to see what nasty is really like. I enjoy sharing the knowledge with customers, but its hard to convince them that granite counter tops will not pay back like a 400% efficient heating system.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,793
    Quote Originally Posted by darctangent View Post
    Yes, I have three systems with my name on them. Two were mine from the start. New construction, green build GC's. One I got pulled into because the original contractor freaked out and disappeared. Couldn't handle it.

    This was my first.










    As to the customer vs contractor, I understand what you mean. Contractors always say, "Well, nobody else does it that way" and then I come back with , well you're right about that, but they're wrong and I'm right." The key to contractors is working with the right ones, but even then It's tough. When we have customers with an existing house and ductwork in inaccessible areas people are always focusing on the "powerplant" to solve their problems when they really should look at distribution.

    I have been asked out to several botched GSHP jobs and new or retrofit most the the issues come back to ductwork. People always think it's no big deal to choke off air. LOL strictly amateur hour, but that is the bulk of our industry.

    Let me know if you want training. Even though you are in Nevada, Denver is probably your best, closest training option. Beyond that I would recommend going to Earthlinked directly.
    Did you go vertical or diagonal loops? what size holes were bored to be backfilled with grout? Did you ever measure for actual efficiencies?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Darke county,Ohio
    Posts
    2
    We have a comfort aire Geo system installed in 2007. The loop was drilled into the ground

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Beatrice, NE
    Posts
    2,037
    You say you can't find a driller, did you think about horizontal boreing?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Darke county,Ohio
    Posts
    2
    Let me start again. I did not mean to send the previous message, I had not finished typing my message. I have a Comfort Aire Geothermal unit that was installed in 2007. The outside part of the unit looks like an umbrella drilled into the earth 60 foot deep. I have been happy with the system and have had no problems with it until this spring when I tried to cool the house with it. I noticed that the system would cycle on and off frequently and still would not cool down the house. Upon inspection of the system I noticed that our freon gauge appeared to be empty. I called the installer of the system and had them inspect it. They found that the freon had leaked out of the coil and the compressor unit. I was told that hydrogen sulfide gas from our water purification system was to blame. My water filtering system back flushes once a day and dumps the waste water into a sump pit in the floor of the mechanical room where the compressor unit of my geothermal system is. They said that the coil needed to be replaced and the compressor needed its joints resoldered. I was told that the water system needed to have the waste water discharged into another location away from the geothermal unit. When they replaced/repaired my system they installed an anode rod in the yard with D/C current from an outlet in the house. My question is - Could the hydrogen sulfide gas cause the type of damage that I described or was it possibly microelectrolysis from the ground? Or do you have another explanation as to why my system failed after only 5 years?

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