Hydroheat Geothermal Heatpump Experiences
The purpose of this post is to provide some information re my geothermal experience, to help others avoid the same mistakes.
I had a Hydroheat Extended Range four ton Heatpump installed in December 2001. The contractor provided a five year warranty. In the first couple of years I was disappointed with the system as it didnt seem to be providing adequate heating or cooling. The contractor returned on several occasions and assured me everything was working correctly, except the loop seemed to require regular repressurizing.
The real problems began in 2003. The system got stuck in cooling mode. I called the contractor and found heÂd gone out of business. I called the Canadian distributor for Hydroheat, who put me in touch with another contractor who was very pleasant and not very competent. By this time IÂd figured out that the problem must be the thermostat although the contractor kept telling me that ÂheÂd never known one of them to go wrong beforeÂ! He fitted a new thermostat and everything seemed OK, but when it got colder the system shut down after five minutes. The contractor told me there must be a problem with the breaker and apart from that had no idea what to do. In the end I found heÂd wired the thermostat wrongly and was able to fix it myself.
In 2004 the microprocessor quit. The distributor told me ÂheÂd never known one of them go wrong beforeÂ. My contractor had given me a five year warranty but because heÂd gone out of business it was no longer valid, and the distributor refused to honor it. $1200 later I had a new microprocessor and it seemed to be working OK.
In 2005 the system started shutting down after running for about five minutes. I had to reset it each time to start it up. Eventually by watching the lights on the microprocessor I figured out that it was shutting down as a result of a high temperature lock out. I called the distributor who told me that Hydroheat had built a redundant sensor into the system that should have been disconnected at start up because it had a tendency to malfunction. I found that it was still connected, disconnected it and it started working OK.
In 2006 my electricity bills were escalating and the systemÂs ability to heat seemed to be getting worse. I found a qualified geothermal expert in the area and asked him to come out and diagnose the system. The first thing he discovered was that the compressor pressure was very low and the system had to be repressurized with freon. But the system was still not putting out enough heat. He then found that the expansion valve that controls the flow of the freon was not opening properly; this was resulting in insufficient heat. He ordered the part and replaced it but then discovered a freon leak at another valve. The valve had to be replaced. He told me that Hydroheat had acknowledged that a number of customers had experienced a leak with this valve, and so the replacement valve was different.
At this point for the first time ever the system was putting out sufficient heat and it appeared that the expansion valve never worked properly from start up. However a few weeks later I had to call him back because it was once again producing too little heat. He checked the system and found yet another leak, this time at a different valve.
Now itÂs 2007, the system has been in for five and a half years and IÂve given up and am replacing it. IÂve spent thousands of dollars on maintenance of the Hydroheat system which the geothermal technician describes as a Âheap of junkÂ. In particular he told me the compressor is about the cheapest available, at the lowest end of the range. Needless to say the replacement is not going to be a Hydroheat unit.
Once the new system is in I will post some comments in terms of comparisons. I would be interested to know if others have experienced similar problems with Hydroheat.