Hydroheat Geothermal Heatpump Experiences

jon_hApril 5, 2007

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 My contractor had given me a five year warranty but because heÂd gone out of business it was no longer valid, and the distributor refused to honor it.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.

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Have no experience with hydroheat, but I have had a FHP (Florida Heat Pump) Geothermal groundwater heat pump in my house for over 11 years. It has worked great for me.

The dealer I deal with here in Northern Minnesota has a good reputation and is very knowledgable. Burned out a fan once, but that was about it for problems. I think you have to have the right unit to avoid problems. There was another dealer selling a different brand in this area a few years ago (sorry, I can't remember what brand), and people had lots of problems with them. He went out of business after a couple of years.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 6:27PM
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what type of system is this - ie - dx or regular loop?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 12:48AM
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It's a regular loop system.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 3:48PM
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We are currently having "issues" with our Hydroheat geothermal heat pump - not sure if it is the unit or the contractor who installed it...

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 11:29PM
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Wow, I thought maybe somebody was coping our story with Hydroheat when I read jon h's letter. We have had our Hydroheat Mega Tec system since 2002. We had problems with the thermostat, which in turn burned up the service board, which had to be replaced. We also had both of the compressors replaced. Not to forget the 3 water heaters that had to be replaced. All this was done within the 5 year warranty time. In 2009 the water heater went out again. Called the contractor, but he too had went out of business. He referred us to a local heating and plumbing business. The water heater was replaced for large price. Here it is May 2011, and again problems. After turning the air conditioner on, we started noticing that we had very little hot water. We turn the unit off at the circuit breaker, waited then turn it back on. You could hear the water heater kick on and start making hot water. 24 hours later we had to do it again. After the 5th day we called another local heating and plumbing contractor who deals with another brand of geothermal units, but has been working on Hydoheat Units for the past few years. He said that the unit sends out a gas through the system to check on it. When it returns to the board it is registering too hot so the water heater shuts down. He added some freon. Knock on wood, it's been 2 days and we still have hot water. We're still waiting on that bill. During that time our air conditioner has been running off the wall. So I'll be curious to see the electic bill. I'm with you jon h, can't take much more of this. It has become very costly to run this, and will be looking into a different brand if it continues. Let alone the closest licensed service technician that is authorized to work on Hydoheat Geothermal Systems is 4 hours away.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 7:03PM
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Does your desuperheater go directly into an active hot water tank or is there a buffer tank between the desuperheater and the (powered) hot water tank?


    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 12:23AM
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Our Hydroheat geothermal heat pump is just 5 years old. I the last 3 months we had to replace the coils ($850) and now the compressor needs to be replaced ($2500). We are considering the best thing is to replace it at a cost of $7500 because we are told the company does not stand behind it. The people who installed the system choose not to install these any longer. What a disappointment!! Don't get this brand!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 10:11PM
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