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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help

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George Marsh

06-25-2014 18:29:52
50.121.46.97



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Your little unit is the first one I've seen. What did it cost? Who sells it? The compressor doesn't look more than a half to 3/4 horse. In Indiana I have 2 dehumidifiers in my basement to keep the humidity to 60% during my worst days. This looks like a small A/c or dehumidifier where they are running the hot gas through a water heater. I've always thought about doing the same thing to a refrig and my centeral A/C. Never considered using a dehumidifier. Very interesting idea, not a new idea, just interesting.

The silver cap on the left is very common, could mostlikely get one off ebay for around $10.

The black one on the right is very unusual. I've seen ones used in ceiling fans. Frankly I've never seen one used for HVAC applciations, however it should work. First use an ohm meter and measure the resistance between the twe terminals on the left. I'm going to guess they are connected togethr, close to zero ohms. Then measure the resistance between the two terminals on the right. Again there should be zero resistance, because they are connected together.

Finally use ohmmeter and like all caps you should find there is close to infinate resistance between both terminals on the left and the terminals on the right.

If you put take an short extension cord, put wire connectors on cord, put power to one end of cap and neutral to the other end, apply power to cap for a few seconds. Then unplug power and short out the ends of power cord, there may be a small spark when you discharge cap. A 15 mic won't make a big spark, but there should be something depending when you remove the power.

Put an ammeter to the wires going to cap when powered up and it will show a very small current if your ammprobe can measure it.

So what makes you think your old cap is bad? Is the compressor locked up? Not starting? If compressor is locked, have you tried a hard start kit? They are about as cheap as the 15 mic cap. You can find them on ebay. They come in about 3 different sizes.

Your pic is worth a 1000 words.

Good luck.

Hope I've helped. Any HVAC person should be able to get it going or replace compressor if bad. George

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VaTom

06-25-2014 20:31:06
70.32.219.33



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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to George Marsh, 06-25-2014 18:29:52  
Hi George,

The silver capacitor is new from McMaster-Carr, yup <$10. The black one (that confused me) came with the heat pump, actually both heat pumps.

They were bought off ebay, obsolete at the time. My heat pump melted that capacitor (one spade fell off), had been working fine this year as usual. The one in the photo didn't completely melt because I turned the switch off before it was gone. It is disfigured, you can make out the bulge in the photo. Tomorrow I can get out a VOM, but the new capacitor didn't get the compressor to start. You can see it hanging out of the heat pump, wired but not fully installed.

I replaced my HPWH with the one in the photo, identical, bought at the same time. It had never been used, a friend let it sit those 13 years. It doesn't start.

"Hard start kit" I know nothing about. Please explain a little more so I can find one.

The factory tech, who had never seen one of these, could only tell me the compressor was bad (did not start even with a new capacitor wired correctly). This unit says Crispaire, but the company is now called Marvair, still in Cordele, Ga.

These were sold simply as heat pump water heaters. On installation I discovered that wonderful byproduct and utilized it. That's when I started recommending HPWHs, don't know how many I got purchased over the past decade.

I've mentioned that I consult on this type of passive heating/cooling housing, not only in the US.

When I briefly searched, I only found tank HPWHs, don't know if anybody still manufactures add-on units. The reason my friend never used this one was they don't conveniently hook into the electronic controls of the tank heaters he and I bought. Mine was to replace a leaky tank heater, I was motivated to figure out how to make it work. Too much benefit to abandon.

T_Bone helped me with that, how we became friends. Required an extra switch and some creative wiring, worked great all those years. Before that, the Crispaire tech conferred with a Whirlpool tech and they concluded it was a mismatch and could not work.

You have far more faith than I have seen justified in HVAC people. If I knew of a competent one, a repair or compressor replacement would be ideal. These now obsolete TACO pumps were the weak part but I stocked up on re-build kits. With a spare HPWH unit, I figured I was all set.

Far as I was concerned, what I had was excellent. Any time you can reduce the need for one dehumidifier, that's a good thing. Even better when you get cheap hot water in the bargain.

Appreciate the help.

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George Marsh

06-26-2014 04:38:51
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to VaTom, 06-25-2014 20:31:06  
VA Tom,
I'm a little slow picking up on that you're from another country. That explains why I've never seen our HPWH and your black cap.

I've only seen the silver capacitor. If your wires and connector are black because of heat stress, replace the ends on the wires.

I grew up in a family that repaired A/C's. 50 years ago some A/C came wired from the factory with a second start cap wired in with a relay, so the start cap was only used for a second or two to help get compressor going. It was wired in parallel to the run cap just like my friends 5 hp air compressor motor came with a start and run cap.

Well about 40 years ago someone invented a simpler way to add a start capacitor to an air conditioner compressor. All you do is put the hard start kit in parallel with the run cap. Like I said they come in about 3 or 4 diffrent sizes, meaning the capacitor inside the HS kit might start out around 200 MFD and the larger one were around 500 MFD.

If you have a used start capacitor from another motor just wire it in parallel with the run capacitor, apply power for a second or two and see if compressor starts. If it does, you may want to order a HS kit. If it doesn't try a larger start cap.

Did you measure the internal resistance of compressor? There should be a small resistance between the common and run terminal on compressor, between the common and start and between start and run. There should be infinate resistance between all the terminals and the metal frame of compressor.

Let me know what is happening. Does the compressor hum when you apply power? Just won't start up?
Good luck.
George

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VaTom

06-26-2014 05:34:21
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to George Marsh, 06-26-2014 04:38:51  
George, sorry about the confusion but I'm all-American. Was raised in Arizona on the Sonoran desert and now live on a small mountain in Virginia. We experimented with living overseas briefly, but life in the US worked better for us.

My house was written up from emails a guy exchanged with me. Made me a little famous on the internet. A guy in France latched onto the concept and decided it was a key part to his grand scheme of revolutionizing first French, and then US, housing.

He didn't get very far, but it was an interesting ride. Mostly I just talk to individuals who discover my expertise. I started with a concept, Passive Annual Heat Storage, published in 1983. Curiosity pushed me to learn exactly how and why it worked. Something the originator never did. I can now tweak the concept for any climate, even those that have zero heating degree-days. Almost completely independent of any particular architecture.

Opposite of you, I know almost nothing of compressors. Far prefer housing that needs no ac. That's after growing up with the transition in Arizona from swamp coolers to ac. Before ac, August was pretty miserable there. And yes, I remember the promise that nuclear power would end electric utility bills because it was so cheap.

Everything you say about testing a compressor is new to me. That's why I started this thread, total ignorance on my part. My preference is decidedly not "throw it away". Recycling is far better. Repairing these heat pumps would be excellent.

That black capacitor was installed in Cordele, Georgia. The units were shipped to Florida where they sat in a warehouse until someone discovered them and sold this pair on ebay in 2001. Nothing foreign that I am aware of. Like you, never saw a capacitor like that before. I do have an (ancient) electronic background.

I've got at least one substantial run capacitor in my shop that's doing nothing. I'll get it out today. Most of my machinery is 3Φ. I like large. Smaller 3Φ tools are run on a phase converter, for large ones I start a 3Φ generator.

If you can lead me through diagnosis maybe I can find someone competent to repair. These things don't come with OBD II unfortunately, you have to know what you're doing. I do not.

The compressor hums, without starting. The one I removed, melted the black capacitor. Was running fine until my wife smelled the smoke. Fortunate she was home, and that we have an air system that replaces the house air frequently. Is that compressor locked up? I'll measure resistance on both.

I had originally thought the black capacitor was a run capacitor for the pump, wiring diagram is difficult to read and I hadn't bothered. I figured the TACO pump needed another rebuild, until I took it apart. Then I took the black capacitor from the spare heat pump and put it in the installed heat pump. It immediately started to smoke.

That's when I installed my spare heat pump, bought a pair of new (silver) capacitors, and discovered it didn't work either.

I wouldn't have put so much time and effort into this if it wasn't well worth it. If you can lead me through this, fantastic. How do I know which hard start kit is appropriate?

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JMOR

06-26-2014 09:33:21
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to VaTom, 06-26-2014 05:34:21  
How about posting the hard to read wiring diagram? Maybe someone can read it? That 15 microfarad cap can't transmit enough current to burn terminals/connectors/wires at only 3/4 of an amp. There is more to this story.



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VaTom

06-26-2014 10:32:55
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to JMOR, 06-26-2014 09:33:21  
All help is most welcome JMOR. I found an enlarged diagram in my files. Each copy comes out a little fuzzier, but larger helps. I was able to trace where the wires went, that's how I learned the capacitor had nothing to do with the pump. Connected only to the compressor meant I was beyond my knowledge.

Sure would like to learn the remainder of the story. Resistance tests on the black capacitor confirmed George's belief that the pairs of spades on each side are connected. There is no difference between the new and old capacitors. I haven't yet tested the old one for spark, but a new capacitor wasn't able to get the compressor to start.

My assumption was that the compressor that fried the capacitor drew too much current. No? The compressor that's now installed doesn't do anything to the capacitor, simply refuses to start.

Rummaging around my shop I came up with a 4 mfd 370 v. and a 189-227 mfd 125 v. Have not tried a spark test on them.

If we can get that heat pump currently installed to start, and ideally get the old heat pump compressor serviceable, I'll be an ecstatic camper.

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George Marsh

06-26-2014 15:03:02
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to VaTom, 06-26-2014 10:32:55  
VA tom,
Your 189-227 mfd 125 v might work for just a second or two wired in parallel with run cap. If the wiring inside compressor is good between common and run and common and start, then the larger cap should knock it loose.

Try it and post back,

FYI, the average life expendency for a heat pump is less than 15 years. That is the average, not to say some people will have better luck, some not.

In your case, the compressor is used all the time, so your compressor may have used up all it hours.

As for air conditioning, I won't live without one where now in Indiana the dew point temps are around 70. Open up the house and everything will get damp, expecially the basement. Dampness will cause mold and mildew. I have to run the A/c. It really doesn't cost that much. My average 12 mo electric bill last year for a total electric 2000+ sq home, no heat pump, and workshop was only $134/mo. I might be cheap, but I think it's the best money I spent. George

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VaTom

06-27-2014 07:10:11
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to George Marsh, 06-26-2014 15:03:02  
Thanks George. Sometimes it doesn't take much to confuse me.

This did it, came back from my shop with the wires to connect that extra capacitor. Then I looked at the wiring diagram again. The Run wire goes directly to L1, hidden interconnection on the black capacitor. Confirmed that with those resistance measurements you suggested.

Only the Start wire has the benefit of that 15 mfd capacitor. Did you mean in parallel to the Start cap? What you wrote was "wired in parallel with run cap", doesn't appear there is one.

Knowing nothing about these, I'm hesitant to experiment without expert help. Yours is appreciated.

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George Marsh

06-28-2014 11:46:21
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to VaTom, 06-27-2014 07:10:11  
Tom,
Yes, one side of the start cap goes to the start terminal of comp and the other side goes to the run side of comp. That will mean the two capacitors are in parallel. Only power up for a second to two. Compressor should start if it's not locked up or burned up internally. If compressor is good, then order a HS kit from ebay or get from a person in the HVAC business. Doubt if a supply house will sell to you. Wish you had a larger voltage on start cap, so if it doesn't blow you should be good, if not you will have a little excitement.
George

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VaTom

06-26-2014 15:59:54
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to George Marsh, 06-26-2014 15:03:02  
Thanks George. I'll try that in the morning and report. Appreciate your lifespan information. This heatpump was only used when we needed hot water and only for 5 months per year. Run about 300 times per year for a few hours. Run time dependent on interior temperature.

I of course have no idea about the quality of these units, just that they fit into our situation very well.

If this thing is only stuck from sitting so long, fantastic! Though I'd still like to pursue repair of the other one. I mentioned finding comfort with spares, of almost everything.

We completely agree on dehumidification, but not ac. If your ac is primarily dehumidification, the only complaint I'd have is the initial cost of it.

That's exactly the case of the other PAHS just down the road here. His house temps are the same as mine, his ac is primarily a dehumidifier. He needed that initial expense to get a mortgage. I didn't. I've never paid more than $50 for a dehumidifier. Cheap, I understand.

A passive dehumidifier would be ideal, but the closest I've found are "air wells". Haven't tried one yet. Interest in them is getting water in arid places, but what they do is condense water out of the air. That's dehumidification.

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George Marsh

06-26-2014 18:05:23
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to VaTom, 06-26-2014 15:59:54  
VaTom,
You have no idea how much water my two dehumidifiers in the basement and my Centeral air removes form my house.

One time my condensation pump on a/c failed and I put the water in a 30 gallon plastic trash can. It didn't take very long to fill the can.

I know cheap elderly people who don't air condition. Their house smell from moldy carpet, furniture, beds. You can call it indoor air polution. No thanks.

I worked on commercial furnaces and large chillers at Bethleham steel Burns harbor, In. Paid my way trough college doing that. I learned if you have a well built home, Air conditioning is very cheap.
George

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VaTom

06-27-2014 04:48:19
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to George Marsh, 06-26-2014 18:05:23  
Actually George, I have a very good idea. You keep talking about it. I also deal with folks in a wide variety of climates, from arid to extremely humid, beyond Indiana.

A good approach would be to examine where your excess humidity comes from. Is it air changes bringing in outside humidity? You know what happens to rh when you bring hot air to a cooler environment. Is it water put into the air by your house and/or occupants? Take a look at the source(s) and you may be surprised.

We agree, dehumidification is critical, ac can be and often is used for that. The cost is always higher than simple dehumidification. With both, it only makes sense to examine the need and try to reduce it. Depending on your house configuration, you might find ROI on a heat pump water heater very short. Combination units (with tank) are widely available. I fault the manufacturers for not stressing that free byproduct (cool dry air) we find so beneficial.

We accomplish a total air change every 2 hours. I bring in dehumidified air this time of year. My house is slightly pressurized, air leaks go out. We're also careful about adding humidity from the way we live here. Our house doesn't add any water to the air, but that is a common problem.

You're confusing your elderly acquaintance's problems with lack of dehumidification. Controlling the temperature with ac is not the same.

Go one step farther George, consider how an even better designed building doesn't need air conditioning. There's one in Indiana, Chicago area. Another project waiting for an excavator SE of Terre Haute. As everywhere humid, controlling rh inside is a necessity. An Atlanta house got an interesting combination of systems, but no ac needed or bought.

We go for simpler, maintenance-free (if possible) systems with low upfront cost. Makes for easy living. No worries about a failed condensate pump for instance, if there is none.

The Oklahomans (Tulsa and Norman) found that attractive, almost as much as a house that won't blow away in a tornado.

OK, I'm off my soap box now. Time to get back to my cheap effort to salvage these heat pump water heaters.

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JMOR

06-26-2014 11:19:04
72.181.173.171



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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to VaTom, 06-26-2014 10:32:55  
Can you tell me:

1) what are the 3 devices to right of FAN?

2) what are the 2 rectangular blocks at upper right?

3) where do 3 heavy lines exiting drawing to right go to/come from?

4) 120 0r 240 volt?

5) what is that between upper rt of left block & upper left of right block?
This post was edited by JMOR at 11:29:38 06/26/14.



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VaTom

06-26-2014 12:29:07
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to JMOR, 06-26-2014 11:19:04  
5. Oh, crap. You just found a difference between these two heat pumps. It's a jumper wire, L2 to H1. My original heat pump had that jumper removed as directed in the lower diagram Fast Recovery Hook-up. I didn't notice it was present in the replacement heat pump. Time to try to decipher my notes from 13 years ago when we wired that switch in. Crystal clear at the time, but that wasn't yesterday.

I'll go pull that switch out. I think there're 8 wires going to it. All I did was label carefully, and make notes where each one went. Wasn't looking forward to trying to figure out what we'd done 13 years ago. It worked great, leave it alone.

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VaTom

06-26-2014 12:02:58
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to JMOR, 06-26-2014 11:19:04  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

Anything I can do to help:

1. Closest is labeled LAS, no clue what or where it is. Middle is labeled IL and appears to be the indicator light near the fan outlet that lights up if the pressure switch has been activated. Right of that is the pressure switch with reset. Leaving the heat pump running too long raises the pressure (I guess) until the switch shuts everything down. Then the light stays on until the reset button is pushed. There is a component hanging down behind the coils with wires going to it, may be LAS.

2. Connection blocks with both spade and large wire connection.

3. Lines 1 and 2 and common from my electric panel. L1 goes to the compressor capacitor and the water pump. L2 goes two terminals on the relay (left of the comp cap).
4. 240 is fed into this, but only 120 is apparently used for the compressor. Remember, this was designed as add-on to a standard tank heater and was supposed to use the tank heater control to turn it on and off. As that didn't work with my Whirlpool tank heater, it has been rewired with a separate external switch that T_Bone and I laboriously figured out 13 years ago. The switch is drawn in on the below first diagram (Energy Savings Hook-up), unlabeled, just a circle between L2 and H2.

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JMOR

06-26-2014 12:35:47
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to VaTom, 06-26-2014 12:02:58  
OK, I'm coming along. I added a #5 question later. Take a look at it. Also, when you try to start it & compressor only humms, does the fan & pump run?
On the cap, one side should have the red wire from the L1 terminal AND the red/run wire from the compressor on it and the other side of cap, only the yellow/start wire to compressor.

Is that the way you have it?

My opinion is that this all runs off 240v. I see no NEUTRAL & fan, pump, compressor are seeing L1 to L2. Relay is switching L2.
I see no thermostat? What turns it on & off?

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VaTom

06-26-2014 14:07:08
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to JMOR, 06-26-2014 12:35:47  
"I see no thermostat? What turns it on & off?"

Sorry, I wasn't clear. That is the switch T_Bone and I added, in the photo on the right of the heat pump. My lovely wife hasn't complained all these years of not having automatic hot water.

It was only when I replaced a leaky tank heater that I discovered the mismatch between components (heat pump and new tank heater). With a new tank heater just installed I preferred not to remove it and buy another one with a different control.

Which probably is why manufacturers now mostly (only?) only sell tank heat pump water heaters, not add-ons. I wouldn't mind IF the tanks lasted like the ones of old. I got 13 years out of the heat pump, haven't had a tank last that long recently.

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VaTom

06-26-2014 13:46:40
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to JMOR, 06-26-2014 12:35:47  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

I expect you've seen my later answer to 5. This is gonna strain my brain. Lots of wires, turns out there were two jumper wires between L2 and H1, the old heat pump was missing only one of them.

As this all started with a dripping/smoking capacitor, it was only connected to L1, along with comp Run. Yes, L1 and comp Run were connected to the same cap terminal. Yellow (comp Start) went to the other side of the capacitor as the diagram shows. I just checked the defunct heat pump, the wires aren't long enough to do anything else.
Both fan and pump make noises, but don't stay running without the compressor starting.

I got the wiring diagram from the relay. Not helping me. The terminals are not numbered. Whatever the box between 0 and 1 is, it's intact on both, 39 Ω.

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JMOR

06-26-2014 14:08:12
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to VaTom, 06-26-2014 13:46:40  
OK, I understand the relay, but not what is controlling it. What is the source of the pressure switch that the pressure switch is monitoring? Is it a freon line (large/suction , small/high pressure or water pressure? Did you just turn it on and let it run continuously or is there something that automatically cycles the thing?
I am about to send you a re-draw of the diagram that a human can actually read. My e-mail is open in MODERN VIEW & if you would like to chat, send me a phone number & I will call you.

[URL=http://s192.photobucket.com/user/JMOR_photo/media/Other/heat_pumpH2O_heater.jpg.html][/URL]
This post was edited by JMOR at 14:27:44 06/26/14.

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VaTom

06-26-2014 14:48:07
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to JMOR, 06-26-2014 14:08:12  
The relay is a mystery to me.

The tiny copper line to the pressure switch goes to the same place as a similar line that goes to the coils. I guess that's freon.

If we left it running continuously, the pressure switch would turn it off. That made me nervous, so we measured water temperature at a faucet and turned it off around 120. Bit of an inconvenience, but we aren't people who need everything done for us.

It is annoying if the first showerer doesn't remember to turn on the heat pump. Only a short delay every summer until we get into the swing of things.

Dehumidification in the house isn't automatic either. We measure it constantly, turn on dehumidifier(s) as needed. Had one die this year, grabbed one of my spares a friend had given me. He'd said it worked great, until the control failed. Bought another control which failed soon after. He gave up and bought a different brand.

I wired around the control, bypassing it entirely. Now it's on or off, only on high. Works perfectly for us, my wife's delighted. Far stronger than the one that died.

Heat pump is similar.

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JMOR

06-26-2014 15:02:47
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to VaTom, 06-26-2014 14:48:07  
When you try to start it, you said that fan, pump, compressor try to run, but since compressor won't start, that the fan & pump won't continue to run. What is shutting them OFF? Are you shutting it down manually? Circuit breaker opening? Or what? Circuitry looks like fan & pump would continue to run even if compressor won't start & that compressor's attempt to start would eventually open it's overload protector (that "extra part" you mentioned near compressor "C" terminal.

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VaTom

06-26-2014 15:34:41
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to JMOR, 06-26-2014 15:02:47  
I let it try several cycles before turning the switch (the one we added) off. Circuit breaker has never tripped. The black wire to Fan comes from terminal 4 on the relay. The black wire to Pump comes from terminal 8 on the relay. I guess the relay refuses to latch leaving them cycling?

That's the other component next to "Comp C", it's a relay. Took a headlamp to read it, sorry. Labeled CR on the wiring diagram. Makes sense, compressor relay. Along with the fan and pump. Your 240 v. guess looks better as we go along.

Ooooh, I'm a dummy. The terminals aren't labeled on the relay, but the wiring diagram shows which is which. 1 on the relay goes to H1, 0 goes to pressure switch and indicator light. The other side of the pressure switch goes to H2. Still not sure how it works, but I'm getting closer.

Got lost on your drawing and was just attempting to figure out your open email. Greatly appreciate the offer, I'll figure it out.

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VaTom

06-26-2014 15:40:04
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to VaTom, 06-26-2014 15:34:41  
I failed to find an email address for you JMOR, but I think I just posted mine. I'm getting a little fuzzy myself by now, but sure would like to talk if you have time tomorrow, or soon. No problem for me to make the call.



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VaTom

06-26-2014 11:18:58
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 Re: Heat Pump Water Heater- Need Help in reply to VaTom, 06-26-2014 10:32:55  
Resistance checks on both compressors came in about the same. Common to Run, 10 and 11 Ω. Common to Start both 10 Ω. Start to Run 12 and 16 Ω.

Compressor frame to each wire on both compressors was infinite.

Using a headlamp I did see that the block in the diagram to the left of the compressor capacitor (COMP C), that the compressor common goes to, is indeed a relay. The diagram doesn't tell me anything about what it does, but there is a diagram cast into the plastic housing if that would help anybody.

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