Ontario new to geothermal....very challenging..please advise

Discussion in 'Geothermal Heat Pump Testimonials' started by CMC8, Feb 24, 2017.

  1. CMC8

    CMC8 New Member

    hi all,
    just found this forum this morning as I'm in search of expert advice and experiences on geothermal systems.

    near Toronto Ontario Canada
    i moved from a gas furnace home to a geo unit place last December that was equipped with 3 geothermal units. Ranch style home approximately 6000 sqft with an separate indoor swimming pool and room in total 1800 sqft. Main geothermal system (68k BTU) heats/cools the main part of the house. Two separate geo units in the pool room, one for heating the room while the second is a dehumidification/pool water heating system.

    Challenges I'm experiencing is I find the 3 units to be constantly on all the time. My overall hydro bill is about $1200/month which I suspect is primarily driven by the three geo systems and pool pump. I'm trying to see how to reduce the hydro cost but with little experience with Geo I'm not sure if I'm making things worst.
    Temp settings are set constant at 71F house, 79F for pool room, 84F for pool water.

    For house, I'm thinking of closing off air vents to area not normally use. However I read somewhere that it may actually reduce the efficiency geo unit.

    For pool room/water, I'm stuck on what to do. The room furnace seems to be all the time and the water temp seems to always drop which triggers the heating system.

    As I'm new to the Geo concept I am not sure if this is normal or that something is off track. i recognize its winter months and therefore higher costs. Just seems to be so out of what I read about cost efficiency with geo system.

    What am I missing?
    Please advise

  2. CMC8

    CMC8 New Member

    in terms of kwh usage the monthly average is about 7000 kwh which translates to $1200 monthly...
  3. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    One low hanging fruit to go after is having your pool room air temp and water temp the same. This will save a lot of run time/dehumidification demands.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
  4. CMC8

    CMC8 New Member

    reading other threads it may be that my system is using lots of auxillary heat.....reason I mentioned this is that there are numerous days that the pool room air temperature goes down from the setting 79F to actual 73F...a dip of -6F. I assume in order to make up the gap the system goes on auxilliary mode...

    Please let me know if that may be the case......

    If so please advise how best to tackle this problem...is it simply installing a smart thermostat that will gradually up adjust the setting to close the gap in heat loss and thereby reduce the need for auxilliary heat? I understand auxilliary heat is needed when outside temp dips below 20F to avoid damaging the geo unit...

    Please advise...thank you in advance
  5. CMC8

    CMC8 New Member

    are you suggesting bringing the pool room temp to 84F? Would that put a lot of strain to the geo unit at 84F? I was advised by previous owner not to go over 79F
  6. Deuce

    Deuce Member

    I know from where I live on the Virginia Outer Banks that indoor pools have a terribly high cost with the dehumidification process they require.
  7. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    A room temperature lower than pool temperature is cause for a lot of evaporation. Which in turn causes a lot of pool cooling. You should have air temperature the same or higher by 1 or 2 degrees.
  8. CMC8

    CMC8 New Member

    agree with the high cost indoor pool. just surprise it's this hig
    Please confirm that a temp of 84F would not be a big strain to the geo unit. I'm just following from previous owner who seemed to have a good understanding of this. I also leave cover on when not in use.
  9. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Confirm 84F? No. The temp doesn't matter to me. But I can't agree with the scenario where air temperature is below water temperature. You are likely heating the pool at the same time you are cooling the air (to dehumidify) - a scenario in which nothing shuts off.

    Googling Natatorium Designs or such should get some reference temps.
  10. CMC8

    CMC8 New Member

    I'll look to slowly move the pool room tempetature up to match the water temp.
    Given it's a 5F difference is it best to stagger the 5F over a say a several to so as not to take a big jump in temp change?

    Also can someone advice on the auxilliary heat assumption i had previously indicated where my pool room temp drop by 6F overnight. Can that be a cause of excessive electricity. I sopke with the previous owner and he's not aware of auxiliary heat exist in the geo units. I'm not my does although i assumed that is the case.
  11. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    An increase of 2F generally triggers a next stage of heat. Your electric may be 2nd or 3rd stage in this case. Look at how many breakers you have per heat pump. If you have two breakers, you have auxiliary (electric).

    For the pool, when the temps match you'll get 30-40% less evaporation and you shouldn't see such drastic water temp drops.

    For the house, one unit for a 6000ft2 house in Toronto is too small. Are you zoned between floors? Or have radiant support or such? If you don't then you are also likely using an electric plenum heater to help maintain temps. I can't even see the cfm being enough for air flow in a house that size.
  12. CMC8

    CMC8 New Member

    There are 2 breakers (double switch) per units. I'll call up the hvac installer to confirm auxilliary heat option. If it's the auxiliary heat can that be the main reason for the high electricity usage? I find that during cold night the pool temp drops, the water heater/dehumification runs and cools air temp by 6F which then puts pressure in the pool room heating to run all day. Maybe that includes using auxiliary heat...

    In terms of raising pool room temp, i was told that raising the pool room to match water temp would require lots of usage on tbe geo unit hence i have not done so. I have read other forums on matching or +2F over water. Again not k iwing what works best I stayed with what was working previously.

    The house geo unit is about 68k btu. 6000sqft includes basement and sunroom. I guess the main living area is about 2500-3000 sqft (first level and coupe of bedroom2nd level) the geo installer came by last month and assured unit is sufficient. Unit is about 13yrs old with replaced compressor.
  13. CMC8

    CMC8 New Member

    What is 2nd stage and 3rd stage? I assume one is thd auxilliary heating strip...what's the other?
  14. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

  15. ToolmanJohn

    ToolmanJohn New Member

    I'm no expert, but all the advice given so far sounds good.

    As you are in Canada, I am going to assume that the pool house is EXTRAORDINARILY well insulated. This being the case, I wonder if the pool gets covered with an insulated poll cover after each use? It will help with evaporation and heat loss. Given that your are paying $1200/month, I would recommend a motorized pool cover so it's not a huge inconvenience. Insulation is usually the first-cheapest method to saving on utility bills.
  16. CMC8

    CMC8 New Member

    The pool room is well insulated as far as i can tell.
    I put a cover on when not in usage. During this past weekend i started to move the air temp up to 81F and water down to 82F.

    I had some issue this morning that really need some insights on. This morning when i went to check the t-stat on the pool room the readings were 81F actual vs 81F setting. However the "auxilliary heat on" indicator was on. I also check my hydro meter and looks like i had used 160kw over a 14 hour period up to this morning. Weather was not bitterly cold night. I am told there are no auxiliary heat backup in the pool room heating unit but given the indicator and high hydro usage overnight i think there is.

    Can someone please confirm or give your thoughts on this. What am i missing. This is becoming very frustrating.

    Thank you.
  17. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    You need to do some homework and get some information to us. We're doing a paper exercise here without any details.

    Doc pointed to the list earlier.
  18. CMC8

    CMC8 New Member

    so far this is what I know (very minimal unfortunately); Please explain how I can get the other information that I am missing

    1) Where you live - Burlington Ontario Canada
    2) Heat loss/gain calculations for your home - Don't know (How do I get this)
    3) Brand, size (model) and type of heat pump - Polar Bear Water Source Heat Pumps (independent contractor in Toronto).
    House Geo Unit - model VPR-72D4L1Z67D06P75CX20KT
    Pool Room air heating - Unable to find as it idenfied as unit is stuffed up in the attic (will get from polar bear)
    Pool Room dehumidificaiton/water heater - unknown as unit has no labeling (will get from polar bear)

    4) Type of loop field (open/closed/vertical/horizontal) size and design parameters - Closed loop for all three
    5) Average cost/Kwh of electricity and consumption - $0.13 / KWH (Dec + Jan usage was 15000Kw for entire house)
    6) Entering and leaving air temperatures (EAT, LAT) measured immediately upstream and downstream of the heat pump

    Not sure how to read this. these are number in the unit
    House Geo Unit - 43.3F 39.2F
    Pool Room air heating - Unable to see

    7) Entering and leaving water temperatures (EWT, LWT) measured at the heat pump(s)
    Pool Room dehumidificaiton/water heater - 82.9F 84.6F

    8) Percent of load to be covered by geo and balance point - How do I find this out?
    9) Installers assessment of your systems operation. We inherit this unit from the house...Not sure
    10) Projected operating costs, actual operating cost and previous heating and cooling costs - How do I find this out?
  19. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Damn, now there is a brand I've not heard of before. And they have an almost invisible web presence. I can't find the specifications for those units.

    Are they actually locally made (which is cool) or are they imported and relabeled products from China?
  20. CMC8

    CMC8 New Member

    I believe locally made. Dennis Campbell CEO.

    My t-stat us still stuck on "auxilliary heat on". Should i maybe just turn geo off and back on to see it it reset? Weather not cold.

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