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AlDente67

The impossible pool heater

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I think I've posted about this before, but....maybe someone ere knows someone,etc....

 

I have a Jandy pool heat pump that I bought and installed about 5 years ago.  Fairly top line scroll compressor.  It wasn't working when I opened the pool this year.  The fan was dead.

 

I called up Jandy for local leads to servicers (it is out of warranty).  They referred me to a list of NJ authorized Jandy contractors, with the largest (and closest) being a large pool store company.  Called them up and we set an appointment a few days later.  The day before, they call me and ask if it was a pool heater or a heat pump?  I said heat pump.  They said they don't touch heat pumps because they are not licensed to handle Freon.  I have to call an HVAC guy.

 

I called about 5 of them near and far, and only one would touch a pool heat pump.  So he came out and found some of the circuit board modules had burned out.  We agreed that I would find the parts (we knew exactly what to get), and he would come back if I needed any help.  He said the freon looked a bit low, but let's fix these issues first.

 

A quick Ebay/Amazon search later, the parts arrived with no issues.  I screwed them in and fired up the unit.  Fan works fine, compressor kicks in, you can feel the cold air blowing normally, then it shuts down and tries again after a few minutes.   No error codes, water pressure is strong, no low freon error.

 

I call back to have him look at it again, and now they say it was a mistake to send out the tech in the first place and that they do not touch anything "dealing with water".

 

So now I am stuck in no man's land.

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I think I've posted about this before, but....maybe someone ere knows someone,etc....

 

I have a Jandy pool heat pump that I bought and installed about 5 years ago. Fairly top line scroll compressor. It wasn't working when I opened the pool this year. The fan was dead.

 

I called up Jandy for local leads to servicers (it is out of warranty). They referred me to a list of NJ authorized Jandy contractors, with the largest (and closest) being a large pool store company. Called them up and we set an appointment a few days later. The day before, they call me and ask if it was a pool heater or a heat pump? I said heat pump. They said they don't touch heat pumps because they are not licensed to handle Freon. I have to call an HVAC guy.

 

I called about 5 of them near and far, and only one would touch a pool heat pump. So he came out and found some of the circuit board modules had burned out. We agreed that I would find the parts (we knew exactly what to get), and he would come back if I needed any help. He said the freon looked a bit low, but let's fix these issues first.

 

A quick Ebay/Amazon search later, the parts arrived with no issues. I screwed them in and fired up the unit. Fan works fine, compressor kicks in, you can feel the cold air blowing normally, then it shuts down and tries again after a few minutes. No error codes, water pressure is strong, no low freon error.

 

I call back to have him look at it again, and now they say it was a mistake to send out the tech in the first place and that they do not touch anything "dealing with water".

 

So now I am stuck in no man's land.

Most condensers have a high and low pressure switch. The only way to tell if it's going off on high or low pressure is to have a Guage set hooked up to the liquid and vapor lines. And only a guy with an EPA certification can do that. If I knew more about them I would help you out. But I don't want to marry myself to a pool heater/heat pump. There's gotta be someone that works on them. I have installed and serviced tons of heat pumps, and quite a few gas fired pool heaters. Being a master plumber and a Master HVAC contractor that's what we do. But I've never seen or touched a heat pump, that has a water heat exchanger before. Sounds scary to me too lol.

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Temperature setpoint or thermistor?

 

Before the problems, was it continuous duty or did it cycle? The fact that it is turning on and off with no error codes, making cold air (working to some extent), and with good flow makes me think it believes it is doing its job. It's job is to control temperature to a setpoint, by manipulation of heat input, using a feedback loop from a thermistor transmitter.

 

I am assuming it is deadset and not PID control.

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Seriously? Every ground (geothermal) or water source heat pump has one.

 

And you can buy a gauge set nearly everywhere.

I have worked on one geothermal system in my career. And installed two with a crew of guys when I worked as an apprentice for someone.

 

Sure you can buy a Guage set anyone can. The act of attaching it to the unit without that card in your wallet for either type 2 or universal EPA 608 certification. Is where the law is being broken. It's a $27K fine from the EPA if caught. The person that turns you in gets a $10K bounty. Plus if you don't know what your looking at, you may as well be trying to read Greek. Not like it's rocket science, but you need to know the super heat scale, to understand what you're looking to achieve. I don't think you would have a hard time understanding it and I could probably explain it to you in about 5 minutes. But your an engineer I'm sure you probably know 85% of what I do in book knowledge anyway. It's also dangerous to mess with Refrigerant that's sitting in the unit at 300+psi. Not too hard to get a really bad burn on your hand in about one second.

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When it used to work,  you would set the desired temp just like a home HVAC unit.  It knows the current temp of the water and should remain condensing until that setpoint is reached.  In other words, when you turn on the water pump, the heat pump unit is hard plumbed into the return line and will measure the water temp going through and compare it to the desired temp.  The fan will engage, followed by the scroll compressor until that point is reached.  

It then cycles off immediately until it detects that the temp has fallen by a degree or so under that temperature setpoint.  Gas heaters will continue to run the fan a few minutes after the burner is off in order to keep venting off the heat, but this one has no need for that and can shut off the compressor and fan at the same time.

 

It then stays in quiet monitoring mode as long as the filter is running.

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What is it doing now? Shutting off before the setpoint is reached?

 

Does it display the measured water temp? If it displays the temp and does not reach the setpoint it could be a bad relay heater or motor thermal over load. That would not create an error code as it is not a fault.

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What is it doing now? Shutting off before the setpoint is reached?

 

Does it display the measured water temp? If it displays the temp and does not reach the setpoint it could be a bad relay heater or motor thermal over load. That would not create an error code as it is not a fault.

It shuts off after about 5 seconds of full operation and then it tries again after 5 minutes (normal timer delay).  Both current temp and set point temp remain the same.

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Given that the tech said the freeon appeared to be low, my guess is it actaully is and the unit is shutting down via the pressure swtich.

 

Exactly what I was thinking.  If I was troubleshooting this, I'd jump out the high and low pressure switches and see if it ran for more than the current 5 seconds.

 

I'm a little confused about what type of heat pump this is.   Is it a water-source evaporator cooling your pool water or is it a water source condenser making cold air for your living space?

 

If it's a making cold air, I can't believe no contractor will touch this.  Water source heat pumps are everywhere in commercial buildings. Maybe you should be looking at commercial contractors - just be willing to have an honest conversation about why you need them and hopefully they'll be honest with you about how much it will cost to pay a guy to work on something odd.

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Exactly what I was thinking. If I was troubleshooting this, I'd jump out the high and low pressure switches and see if it ran for more than the current 5 seconds.

 

I'm a little confused about what type of heat pump this is. Is it a water-source evaporator cooling your pool water or is it a water source condenser making cold air for your living space?

 

If it's a making cold air, I can't believe no contractor will touch this. Water source heat pumps are everywhere in commercial buildings. Maybe you should be looking at commercial contractors - just be willing to have an honest conversation about why you need them and hopefully they'll be honest with you about how much it will cost to pay a guy to work on something odd.

It not making cold air. It basically looks like an outdoor split system condenser, that the compressor runs in reverse. Instead of an A coil inside in an air handler it has a heat exchanging coil inside of the unit the pool water circulates through to absorb the heat. It blows the cold it absorbs from the water, out of the top of the unit via the condenser fan motor. Pretty much the opposite of what a split system cooling condenser would do. Pretty smart way to heat pool water actually. And I was unaware this even existed until I read this thread and began researching them. Seem to be much more popular down south.

 

After looking at all the exploited views of this unit I found online, I'm pretty sure I could work on it. So the magic questions are what type of refrigerant is in it? and are you in N. Jersey above 78, and west of 287? Or close to those borders? If your close, and it just needs a pound of refrigerant (I deal with already) I'll charge it up for you if that's all it needs. I work with R-410A, R-22, R-422B, R-422D, R-12,. I can work with other refrigerants but I don't have any other bottles currently than what I listed above. If you need 2 lbs of R134A or R404B I will have to shell out of pocket to buy a 30lb bottle, that I'm going to be stuck with for a long time. That will cost me more than the service call will make me.

 

Early in the thread you mentioned "freon" so I'm assuming it's R-22 or R-12. The other popular refrigerants listed above aren't Freon's, they're newer type blended refrigerants.

 

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It not making cold air. It basically looks like an outdoor split system condenser, that the compressor runs in reverse. Instead of an A coil inside in an air handler it has a heat exchanging coil inside of the unit the pool water circulates through to absorb the heat. It blows the cold it absorbs from the water, out of the top of the unit via the condenser fan motor. Pretty much the opposite of what a split system cooling condenser would do. Pretty smart way to heat pool water actually. And I was unaware this even existed until I read this thread and began researching them. Seem to be much more popular down south. After looking at all the exploited views of this unit I found online, I'm pretty sure I could work on it. So the magic questions are what type of refrigerant is in it? and are you in N. Jersey above 78, and west of 287? Or close to those borders? If your close, and it just needs a pound of refrigerant (I deal with already) I'll charge it up for you if that's all it needs. I work with R-410A, R-22, R-422B, R-422D, R-12,. I can work with other refrigerants but I don't have any other bottles currently than what I listed above. If you need 2 lbs of R134A or R404B I will have to shell out of pocket to buy a 30lb bottle, that I'm going to be stuck with for a long time. That will cost me more than the service call will make me. Early in the thread you mentioned "freon" so I'm assuming it's R-22 or R-12. The other popular refrigerants listed above aren't Freon's, they're newer type blended refrigerants.

 

I'm in East Windsor, near Mac's house.  I don't care, at this point, what it costs.  I just want to get it running.  Come on down and I'll give you a blank check and my 18-year old daughter as payment.

 

 

 

(and you'll more than likely want to return the daughter fairly quickly)

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