Design Problem with my Geothermal Heat Pump

knoto55July 31, 2005

I moved into my new home last March (05). We had a contractor install a DX Geothermal System with the SuperExchanger. The SuperExchanger helps heat your hot water.

Our System was made by Advanced Geothermal of Reading Penneslyvania.

Everything was going fine until early July. At that point our compressor kept getting knocked out. I called the HVAC folks and they told me to reset the compressor until they could come out. That worked, but the compressor kept getting knocked out. It was frustrating. They also said it was a known problem with the hot water option - the superexchanger. So I emailed Advanced Geothermal and asked them about it.

Finally the HVAC guy came. He was here for a couple of hours finetuning the system. He didn't mention the "known" problem - he said the system wasn't set up correctly. I told him that it was his techs that set it up.

After he left we had our A/C and hot water again. It was fine for about 10 days. Then the compressor began going out again. The HVAC couldn't send a the main tech out for another day so I had to keep hitting the compressor reset button whenever the compressor got knocked out.

Finally their Tech came and tested everything out. He said the problem originated because the pressure switch was located too close to the compressor. When the system reversed itself to go into hot water mode, then shut off, it would leave a small bit of freon in the pipe between the accumulator and the compressor. So when the system reveresed itself again to go into A/C mode, it sensed the extra freon and that would trip the pressure switch. I asked if it was a design problem. He was hesitent to reply and said it was - more or less. Since he didn't have the equipment to do a fix - installing a length of pipe to move the pressure switch, he turned off the hot water option and reconnected the bottom element in my hot water heater.

The tech came back two days later to do the fix. He said I was the last person to get the hot water option. And that he had four more homes to fix. Mine was the second one he ws fixing.

Well, he ended up being here from 8:30 AM until 5:30 PM. He had problems with leakage - and had to go out and buy a different metal switch. The brass switch would not seal up properly with the copper pipe. I could tell he was getting extremely frustrated as the day wore on. But he told me that if he didn't fix it today, he would not be able to be back for a week. And with the hot weather -we'd be screwed.

But he fixed it - and it's working properly for now. I'll be keeping an eye on it.

Just know that if you have an Advanced Geothermal System (Reading PA) and you have the hot water option - the superexchanger - you may also experience the system triggering the pressure switch when the systems turns over from hot water heat mode to A/C mode.

Also - I was unable to get the folks at Advanced Geothermal to admit it was a design problem.

I do love the system - it has saved me money -and when my heating bills come, I'm sure it will show additional savings. And next year when residential electricity is deregulated here in Maryland - I know the electric costs are going to go sky high. So, I hope to be using my Advanced Geothermal DX unit to save me a lot of electrical costs.

Good luck!


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Ken: Thanks so much for the information. I live in McLean, VA and am planning on having a geothermal heat pump installed. Who was your contractor? Whittman Mechanical was recommended to me by the people at Blueberry Hill, a cohousing community in Vienna, VA. Do you know anything about the various brands of equipment?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 2:24PM
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