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Old 08-22-15, 06:25 PM   #1
TechShop
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Default 4-ton GSHP - Hydronic conversion

I'm fairly new to this site, but I've been very impressed with the depth of the knowledge and the level of projects I've seen here so far.


I am at the mid-way point in my project and thought I would share some of it thus far.

In the spring of 2014 I poured a 40' x 62' slab on grade foundation over some XPS-250 foam. The concrete is 6" thick 4000 PSI with fiberglass with one layer of 6" square re-mesh and way too much #4 re-bar. On 12" centers I ran 1/2" O2 barrier PEX tubing for hydronic / radiant floor heating. There are a total of 10 circuits each approximately 225 feet in length, all branching from a single 12 port manifold (2 spare circuit ports).

During the summer I erected a 40' x 62' x 18' steel framed metal building with R13 and R19 Insulation on the concrete slab. Inside the shop, last fall I framed up a 1500 sqft two-level apartment which is just about ready for insulation and drywall.

A few months ago I picked up a pre-owned but never installed Carrier (MFG'd by Climate Master) 4-ton ground source heat pump for a great price. This GSHP is the compressor/condenser side of a split system. It was designed to be used with a fan-coil unit, but I plan to convert it into a hydronic system.

Here are some photos of the shop, I'll start detail the GSHP hydronic conversion in a following post to this thread.

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Last edited by TechShop; 09-05-15 at 01:11 AM..
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Old 08-22-15, 06:27 PM   #2
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Old 08-22-15, 06:33 PM   #3
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Here is the Carrier GSHP (Model# 50YDS049NCD311) as I received it. In the back of the cabinet are a pair of Koax 24 KBTUH coaxial heat exchangers plumbed in parallel to make the 48 KBTUH total. Those are for the ground-sourced water. On the left is the Copeland 2-stage compressor and on the right is the TACO 006 pump for the domestic hot water circuit and the refrigerant ports intended to connect to the air-handler. below is the cabinet with the control boards, connections, contactor for the compressor, capacitors and pump relays, etc.

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Old 08-22-15, 06:44 PM   #4
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On to my build... I did a bunch of research and measuring and head scratching, then started collecting components. As you can see in the next photo, I constructed a frame that sits on top of the GSHP using some pre-punched steel angle and square tubing. On that frame is a pair of TurboTec 48 KBTU coaxial heat exchangers. These HX came with insulation wrapped on them, so I left that alone. I simply spaced them 4" apart with some foam and plumbed them in parallel with 1" (nominal) copper for the water connections. On the input side, I have soldered a pair of isolator flanges and installed a TACO 007 circulator pump. This pump should keep plenty of water flowing between the HX assembly and my hydronic system.

On to the refrigerant side of the system, The liquid line is 3/8 (OD) and the vapor line is 7/8 (OD) as per Carrier's installation manual for the heat pump system. The TXV is a Sporlan CBBIZE-4-GA which is what the Carrier fan-coil unit would have used. I opted for a Sporlan sight glass in the liquid line just before the TXV. Finally I placed a 1/4" Flare access port just after the TXV and on the vapor line just after the HX. The TXV bulb is not yet attached to the vapor line, however the balance port is brazed in place.

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Since I'm sure it looks like that heavy pump is just hanging off in space supported by only the copper, here's a close-up of how I supported the pump. The semi-rigid plastic will allow a small amount of vibration damping as well as thermal isolation. Everything will be wrapped in insulation when I'm done, plus I'll insulate the cabinet.

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Last edited by TechShop; 09-05-15 at 01:17 AM..
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Old 08-22-15, 06:54 PM   #5
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One last picture for now. Since this is my first refrigeration project that I'm actually cutting and brazing my own system, I had to come up with some tools and equipment. I bought a small Nitrogen bottle at the local welding supply and connected the Argon flow-regulator from my TIG welder to the bottle. I used a fitting from an old Argon hose and brazed a 1/4" flare fitting onto a brass hose-nipple. That allows me to adapt the flow-regulator to my HVAC gauge set. All of my brazing is happening under positive Nitrogen flow. This sure works well for keeping the interior of the lines shiny clean. Here's a close-up of the 3/4" to 7/8" bullhead tee on my vapor line. I'm very pleased with the result from my DIY Nitrogen kit.

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Old 08-22-15, 07:01 PM   #6
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At this point I am ready to finalize construction of my hydronic cabinet including upper frame, HX brackets, insulation and some sheet metal work. When that is completed I'll form up some 3/8" and 7/8" copper to connect this "water-handler" to the GSHP below. The final step will be wiring the circulator pump and some temperature sensors into one of these Omron Zen PLC units and then integrating that into the GSHP unit below.
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Old 08-24-15, 08:39 AM   #7
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Looks like a great project. Is there such a thing as too much rebar? What are your plans for the Ground Source part of it?
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Old 08-25-15, 01:18 PM   #8
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Honestly I don't think there's any way to have too much re-bar either.

For the winter, I will be running open loop. I have access to an endless supply of good clean water from a well on the property. The well is among some artesian springs which flow down into my pond. I will give that well water a detour through my heat pump and out to the pond.

While I was building, I spent the last winter in a motorhome. As an experiment, I converted a 5000 BTU/H window A/C into a small open-loop geothermal heat pump. It sure worked well and saved me the trouble of filling propane every week during the cold months. My incoming water temps never dipped below 49 degrees F.

Last fall I dug a couple of trenches and installed some 1-1/4" HDPE irrigation pipe. I have a total of 450 feet of trench with 900 feet of pipe buried. I realize that isn't enough to satisfy a 4-ton system, but I will use these loops to test the ground here this winter. Next spring I will either dig more horizontal loops, or bore some holes depending on the results of my tests. I am leaning toward the vertical loops.
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Old 08-27-15, 10:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TechShop View Post
Last fall I dug a couple of trenches and installed some 1-1/4" HDPE irrigation pipe. I have a total of 450 feet of trench with 900 feet of pipe buried. I realize that isn't enough to satisfy a 4-ton system, but I will use these loops to test the ground here this winter. Next spring I will either dig more horizontal loops, or bore some holes depending on the results of my tests. I am leaning toward the vertical loops.
I was talking to the tech that helped install my geothermal systems A few years ago, he came by at the end of winter after a few years operation to test loop temp. He told me that after a couple years the horizontal system's loops are consistently 2-3 deg Celsius warmer than the vertical systems. He also said they only do vertical systems now, mostly because they work with a drilling company that's just as cheap as doing horizontal and there's less mess...
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Old 08-28-15, 02:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mechanic View Post
I was talking to the tech that helped install my geothermal systems A few years ago, he came by at the end of winter after a few years operation to test loop temp. He told me that after a couple years the horizontal system's loops are consistently 2-3 deg Celsius warmer than the vertical systems. He also said they only do vertical systems now, mostly because they work with a drilling company that's just as cheap as doing horizontal and there's less mess...

That's good info to know.

I have plenty of land to dig horizontal, but am mostly leaning toward vertical bores because of the flexibility it leaves me. The south half of my land is a motocross track that I ride in the winter. If I dig in a bunch of horizontal pipes, I'm stuck with the lay of the land for fear of damaging the loops with a dozer. I like to change up the track layout every couple of years, and I would hate to stress out over the pipes. The bore holes can be placed fairly close to the building too.

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