New Installation in Maryland

Discussion in 'Geothermal Heat Pump Testimonials' started by WhiteRabbit, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. WhiteRabbit

    WhiteRabbit New Member

    We just replaced a 19 year old forced hot air boiler and Carrier AC outside unit with a 3 Ton Climatemaster Tranquility 27 geothermal unit and Rinnai propane hot water heater. We live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland called the Delmarva Peninsula, and our home is a 2500 square foot, two story, well insulated home with storm windows. The well driller posts on this forum and drilled three 200 foot wells with two loops per well for a total of 1200 feet of tubing. The soil is almost 100% sand. The only comment I have on the installation is that I had to purchase a dump truck load of top soil to cover the left over grout and mud, but other than that, it went very well.

    The installer is a great guy and has been in business here on Delmarva for many years; however he does not seem familiar with the newer Climatemaster Blower Units. Having been accustomed to Oil Heat for 35 years, the adjustment to the geothermal unit is taking some time. I was told the backup electric heat should not come on often and only in extremely cold weather, but after 1 week of temperatures in the 20 to 30 degree range, I have noted that the electric heat has cycled on and off several times. The system utilizes a Climatemaster programmable thermostat controller which defaults to a proportional Integral algorithm to adjust the heating and air conditioning values so that the outputs “de-stage” as the demand is being satisfied. There is an alternative setting which uses temperature differential only to determine the heating and air conditioning stages; however the installer claims that the first algorithm will normally maintain the temperature much closer to the set point, and is more efficient.

    The system runs much more than I expected to maintain a 68 degree temperature throughout the house, and I need to keep the thermostat at 71 degrees to maintain 68 on the second floor and our first floor master suite. The other issue I have is a vibration noise from the scroll compressor which the installer has diligently attempted to eliminate with extra insulation, vibration control springs, an acoustic pad under the compressor unit, and several discussions with Climatemaster. He has succeeded in diminishing the noise, but not eliminating it and we are becoming accustomed to the sound. He is also coming back to adjust the blower speed and check other operational parameters to insure that the system is working properly.

    As far as efficiency, I expect to save about $2000 per year with this unit, which will be an 8 year payback. Our previous oil bill was $3500 annually (now eliminated), and checking our electric meter daily indicates that our electric bill will increase about $100.00 per month, plus one tank of propane for the Rinnai hot water unit.

    I am fascinated with the Web Energy Logger ( in order to monitor my installation, and note that numerous geothermal users show that their units run 16 to 20 hours a day in colder weather in order to maintain 68 to 70 degree temperatures.

    I have never been a tree hugging, Al Gore type of guy, but utilize passive solar to partially heat my home, and previously used wood stoves when I was younger. Any comments would be appreciated on how to maintain or adjust my unit for better performance and I will post more data as the winter progresses.

    W Deckert
    Salisbury, Maryland
  2. Palace GeoThermal

    Palace GeoThermal Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Welcome to the forums.

    Thanks for sharing your info.

    A WEL unit will help you know what your system is doing. I have several installed on jobs we have completed.
  3. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Mr. Deckert,

    I am happy that you are pleased with our work, grout is a evil we all must endure. If you have any questions please feel free to send me a message, or call the office. Thank you for your business and testimonial.
  4. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Good Job Eric

    Nice work. We are heading to DC with the motor home to spend Christmas with our daughter. Got any time? Coffee or Beer meet in the Middle?

    Mark and Stephanie
  5. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Hi Mark,
    When will you be in the land of deception? My drill schedule is getting unmanageable with Christmas coming and my vacation looming. Would love to knock back a few.
  6. WhiteRabbit

    WhiteRabbit New Member

    Ultra cheap temperature monitoring

    Well, my wife needed another Xmas suggestion from me so I ordered the ENVI Energy Monitoring System and will hook it up to Google Power Meter to monitor my power usage. Then I needed a method to monitor my temperatures and found the TOPFIN Digital Aquarium Therometers (which have a probe) at Petsmart for $10.00.

    Here is how they look when clamped to my entering water valve from the loop and exeting water valve back to the loop.

    Granted I am not able to log these little gadgets, but for $20 I can at least know that I am extracting heat from my loop properly. I plan to purchase two more for the output air and return air vents on my blower to monitor those two parameters also. If you try this method, be sure to place your digital thermometers in a glass of water together to see that they are matched (calibrated the same) and test it with a bulb thermometer to check accuracy. I found these to be within one-tenth of a degree to each other and within one-half degree of my test bulb thermometer.

    White Rabbit
    W. Deckert
    Salisbury, Maryland
  7. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Great Idea

    ^^^^^runs off to the pet store.
  8. zach

    zach Member Forum Leader

    I'll be stopping at Petsmart on the way home from the office.

  9. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Way cool!

    How skinny are the probes? Do they easily slide into Pete's Ports?
  10. WhiteRabbit

    WhiteRabbit New Member


    The probes are about 1/8 inch in diameter and of course are waterproof because they are made for a fish tank. I would not estimate a guess whether they would fit into the ports. I am super glad I attached these because I woke up at 5:00 AM this morning and the house was at 50 degrees, No warm air at all from my new system. Inlet and outlet loop temps were both stuck at 67 degrees. I recycled the thermostat and the system came back on after the normal 5 minute delay and the temps returned to normal levels with some heat. I have called my installer, who will be out this AM. He is a great guy and gives good service so far. I have no idea why my system just stopped in the middle of the night, but it has run 24/7 for the last two days. I have a feeling it is in the thermostat, but I have read the manual over and over and over and have set everything on permanant hold at 70 degrees with the programmed daily settings turned off. This should keep my house comfortable, but it is damn cold right now.
  11. zach

    zach Member Forum Leader


    I do not think these woutd fit in the p/t port. Maybe the probe woud fit, but I would not attempt it. I simply slid my pair of probes inside the insulation of the respective HDPE pipes. The lead on the probe is at least two feet long, maybe longer.

    At ten dollars a piece these are a bargain. I am saving to buy a WEL but these will do the job until I get one.

    WhiteRabbit, thanks for the tip.

    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010
  12. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I would be interested to know if there were any significant temp differance between your reading on the hdpe vs. a reading taken on the metal of the unit adapter, or inside the unit on the ends of the in and out of the coil?
  13. WhiteRabbit

    WhiteRabbit New Member


    I imagine there would be temperature fluctuations if the probes were closer to the coil loop, but these are just inexpensive digital thermometers and a way to monitor without much effort or cost. I have no idea whether they tell me what I really need to know or not since I am not going to open the compressor box myselft and touch anything.

    Technician just left. He found that there needed to be a jumper between two terminals on my system board to avoid a freeze lock (my system locked last night), which he fixed as well as adjusting a second floor control valve which was not fully opened to allow air flow to my second floor.

    The other area that the technician is going to look into is that my Climatmaster system has "smart mode" which when "on" allows gradual (adjusted modes) to keep the temperature "constant" at the setting of the thermometer and be more efficient. However when it is set to "ON" it is actually off and when I set my thermostat setting in Smart Mode to "OFF" the unit goes into smart mode, "wierd or wired backwards?"

    We are also trying to determine why my system never turns off. If you set the thermostat at 68 degrees, the system runs constantly keeping the house at 67. If you set it to 69 degrees, the system will increase the house temperature to 68 but never 69 and if set at 70, the thermostat will show 69. It never seems to reach the set temperature, therefore the system is running constantly in either stage 1 or 2 all day and night.

    Will keep everyone advised as testing continues.

    White Rabbit
    Salisbury, Md.
  14. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    value priced or not I think those temp gauges are the "bees knees". The only thing that matters generally is the split between the two readings. We have discussed here before about where to take the best external temp reading and how, and after a lot of "fiddling around" we determined that on the hdpe pipe was one of the worst places.

    I recently was at another new install where the unit was wired "wierd" and never went into second stage. when we identified that as a malfunction and corected it, the unit cycled on and off and the comfort level in the home was satisfied.

    hope this helps.

  15. zach

    zach Member Forum Leader


    Just got back from a day of shopping for needy families. I'll move the probes down inside the unit onto the copper and under the insulation. I am comfortable with doing so as I have set my two WEL sensors there already.

    I'll report back tonight.

  16. WhiteRabbit

    WhiteRabbit New Member

    Wednesday PM update

    FINALLY! I think we have the thermostat and system bugs almost worked out. The system is finally reaching 71 degrees (thermostat is set at 70) and turning off for about an hour. The temp then falls to 69 and the first phase kicks in. After 20 minutes the second phase kicks in and runs until the house is back up to one degree above the set point? I will play with the settings some more to find out why the thermostat has to go to 71 before turning off when it is set to 70, but that is a minor point. Third stage only kicked in for about 20 minutes the whole afternoon. Temps are in the high 20s to low 30s. It takes about an hour to raise the thermostat temp 2 degrees, so the system looks like it is on for one hour and off for one hour. I can live with that I think.

    As far as the $10 temperature gauges, they seem to do the job I want them to. I see constant changes, but the LWT is almost always 8 to 10 degrees below the EWT and EWT stays about 43 to 45 degrees. Also I like that they have an on/off switch to conserve the batteries. As soon as you turn them on, they record the temps.

    The only thing left may be to play with the fan speed, but setting it too high will just cool off the air, and setting it lower than what it is now would not put out much air at all on low speed, so I think I will not request that it be changed.

    I am looking forward to getting my ENVI Home Energy Monitor hooked up and posted to Google Power Meter to log and graph my energy usage. I now realize that my winter savings will be minimal, but my summer savings I am hoping will offset this and make the system cost effective on an annual basis. I never was looking for a quick payback anyway, just a reduction in total costs over my old oil boiler and standard AC system.

    Happy and "Warm" Holiday Greetings to Everyone
    Thanks for the kind welcome to the board and the advice.

    White Rabbit
    W. Deckert
    Salisbury, Maryland
  17. geome

    geome Member Forum Leader

    Curt, what was your recommendations again for mounting the sensors? I recall it involved foil. I'll put the information to good use along with the aquarium temperature sensors. Thanks!
  18. zach

    zach Member Forum Leader


    On the HPDE last night I got:
    EWT: 42.7
    LWT: 39.6

    Tonight on the copper on the inside of the machine:
    EWT: 42.9
    LWT: 37.2

    Both measurements were after the machine was running a bit. The readings bounce around after the decimal. I would say the copper is a better measurement as it conducts better and is closer to the action. I hope a nearly 6* delta T is good. Heat and electric use says it is.

    The measurements are close; maybe I did not have good pipe contact on the HDPE LWT line?

    I did calibrate both thermometers in a ice water bath (dead on) and checked the temp with my trusty analog chef's pocket thermometer.


  19. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Puts on his foil hat

    and awaits a repley.
  20. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I would never have guessed that the temps would be that simmilar between the reading on the hdpe and the bare coil. The differance in the temp split between the two prolly does not matter as there are to many variables to guesstimate the cause.

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