Issues with Honeywell TruSteam

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  #41  
Old 01-05-10, 03:41 PM
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My Humidifier Misery

I stumbled on this thread while searching via Google - wish I had seen it some time ago. Here is a summary of my experience(s) and some opinions:

I bought a 5000 sq. ft. home of recent construction in 2007 and hired the HVAC contractor that installed the HVAC for the builder to put in a whole house steam humidifier.

They chose an EWC unit. I have had constant issues with the unit. It has had the board replaced a few times, a whole unit swap, and then the board and heating element again, and it just melted the brand new board last week. I am assured by my HVAC company that they install EWC units by the hundreds and that this is not the norm. Just my luck.

The EWC unit, when running, is able to provide excellent, consistent humidity to the first floor of my home. The second floor is on a separate (attic) air handler. No humidity from the downstairs unit reaches the second floor.

Recently, I had my plumbing contractor install a 9 gallon Honeywell TruSteam unit for the second floor. The unit in located in a closet in the second floor living space, and via a roughly 15 foot long tube it delivers steam to the attic air handler. This is an appropriate installation per Honeywell (they allow for up to 20 ft. of tubing), and the pitch of the tubing is correct. The unit has been run with the delivery tube detached from the duct to verify that it is pumping out steam. It is. With the EWC unit working downstairs (maintaining 40% +/- humidity), the Honeywell runs constantly upstairs, and is unable to raise the humidity a single percentage point. I have multiple hygrometers set up throughout the house to measure the humidity levels.

Now that the EWC has fried another board and is out of service, the Honeywell is so useless that running it actually DROPS the humidity upstairs (why I don't know, but I suspect it is because it is forcing unnecessary air exchange/circulation by running constantly while delivering lackluster moisture.)

So, in summary, one EWC unit (and countless failures and repairs), one Honeywell (running properly, unable to deliver any humidity increase) and I find myself running two Air-O-Swiss room humidifiers, one in the master bedroom, and one next to the grand piano, just to try to comfortably sleep, and to avoid reducing a fine piano to firewood. By the way, the Air-O-Swiss room humidifiers are exceptional. I run them with reverse osmosis water and they run perfectly, can go an entire season without cleaning due to the RO, and have yet to hiccup, never mind fail. Too bad they don't manufacture a whole house unit!
 

Last edited by blindspot; 01-05-10 at 05:24 PM.
  #42  
Old 01-05-10, 09:12 PM
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Blind,

Do you know if your unit upstairs is pulling in fresh air or have an air exchanger system?

Also, are the ducts in the attic sealed? If you have the above, and with the cold snap, that cold air can dry out the house fast!
 
  #43  
Old 01-06-10, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Jay11J View Post
Blind,

Do you know if your unit upstairs is pulling in fresh air or have an air exchanger system?

Also, are the ducts in the attic sealed? If you have the above, and with the cold snap, that cold air can dry out the house fast!
Great questions. I am not sure if there is any air exchange with outside air going on with the upstairs unit - it does not appear to exchange air with the downstairs handler. Regarding the attic, it is an uninsulated attic with open soffit vents and end gable vents - basically the same temperature as the outside air. The ductwork is all insulated. The attic floor is insulated and closed with plywood sub-flooring. I have wondered if the fact that the air handler is exposed to frigid air is the issue. I am considering insulating the entire attic but this would be an expensive undertaking as the attic is about 1800 sq. ft. and some 18+ ft. tall in places.

I have someone from Honeywell coming out here hopefully this week as well as the HVAC contractor to try and figure out where the humidity loss is occurring.

Meanwhile, my HVAC contractor has offered to remove the EWC unit and install a 12 gallon Honeywell on the downstairs unit, but reading this thread has me giving that idea second thoughts - I fear the same issue (running constantly, poor humidity delivery) with the Honeywell downstairs. At least I know that when the EWC works, it really does work and provides humidity. I'm tempted to get a replacement EWC and try again.
 
  #44  
Old 01-06-10, 02:41 PM
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Vacquah and Others with TrueSteam issues,

There is definatelly something off with the TrueSteams and VisionPro IAQ's - Based on my long frustration I think the thermostats software is off and causes problems.

My TrueSteams were running constantly, basically doubling my electric bill. I have 2 12 gallon TrueSteams which should be perfect for the size of my house.

What I've concluded is that, in my case, the FUrnace fans were pulling in way too much dry air through teh ERV's making the TrueSteam play catch up - well it would never catch up. I placed dampers on the ERV's (in / out), stopped the ERV's from running during the night for about 6 hours and I've achieved some sort of a balance that I can somewhat accept. I measure the run time and ONE TrueSteam still runs about 10 hours a day. If it's really cold out (with dry air), they will run quite a bit longer. If the moisture outside is higher, they will naturally run less.

I suggest you look for Air Vents that may be bringing fresh air into the house or another hole that may be causing it. If you have an ERV/HRV they also reduce humidity, in my case they recover 55% of the humidity.

As for the VisionPro: I love the features it allows, but I am fairly certain they need to make some software improvements to it - because in it's attempt to be intelligent - it's consistently inconsistent.

I am on my 3rd TrueSteam : the other have broken for whatever reason, probably due to running constantly. I feel bad for the HoneyWell rep who has really tried to help, but he is stuck with this somewhat faulty equipment.

Feel free to email me through this forum. I'd love to share my experience and learn from yours.

Thanks,
 
  #45  
Old 01-12-10, 10:58 AM
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possibly... hrv ducting system circuit
I have a 3000 sq foot house with a 12 gal true steam with a similar setup , outside temp sensor with the humidistat next to the termostat in the family room.( fun wiring that one) no problem getting up to 45% humidity after initial 24 hour runup.

One item that I changed before installing the unit was the circuit flow pattern for air circulation between the hrv and the furnace. The way the hrv was setup was to take about 30% of the freshly heated ( and now humidified air) and dump it thru the hrv and straight out to the outdoors. The contractor said the hrv was more efficent this way. ----> It was not the recomended way for the hrv to be hooked up in the manual as fresh air was dumped outside.

I changed this ( check the duct section here in diy) so that the hrv drew its load of air from the stale air return duct before entering my furnace . This allowed the freshly heated and humidified air to be completely sent to the house from the furnace and only dumped out from a return duct when the hrv was on.

I don't know if this this reduces my need for heat or humidification because I have used an x10 controller to run the hrv for about 4 hours a day rather then 24/7 as the builder intended. In fact no one in the neighbourhood runs their hrv 24/7 as inteneded. My furnace therefore only gets fresh air 4 hours a day just before we head off to sleep . Maybe this reduces the load of fresh very dry ( I have -30C tempo sometimes) reducing the TS load .. because less fresh dry air is ingested by the furnace.

Just a thought.. seems the contract had put the hrv in backward, d.Rickkraft has a habit of doing this for some reason ..
 

Last edited by geoimpala; 01-12-10 at 12:45 PM.
  #46  
Old 01-13-10, 01:43 PM
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Geoimpala,

It does sounds like your system was installed wrong.

I am curious curious to know where your HRV exaust was installed. Sounds like it was installed on the supply duct not on the return. If you have a picture or similar, I'd love to see it.

Thanks,
 
  #47  
Old 02-04-10, 08:57 AM
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Truesteam Service Codes

After producing steam for about 9 days, the tank emptied and the service light flashes three times. After reseting the fault holding "Go", the unit went back into operation. The next morning the service light was flashing three times again.

Does anyone know the fault for three flashes?
 
  #48  
Old 02-04-10, 09:04 PM
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Did you read the manual?

On page 30 is where they talk about the fault code, and what needs/can be done.
 
  #49  
Old 02-06-10, 08:58 AM
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TrueSteam experience so far

About 6 weeks ago I installed a new TrueSteam, wired to a VisionPRO IAQ system. After weeks of playing with the settings I am reading about some of your troubles. And while I don't have answers I would like to contribute more observations and datapoints.

House: 2600 sq ft. pre-fab/modular home built in 1976. The windows stink (metal casings) and there's not a lot of insulation in the attic.

Area: Evergreen Colorado, which can have a dramatic temperature shift over 24 hrs (i.e. 10F at night, 40F during the day). Colorado is a very dry environment.

Furnace: Amana high efficiency forced air with two stage blower that was retrofitted into the house. Original was electric heat.

Ventilation: None

TrueSteam: 12 gal TrueSteam plumbed remotely into the supply duct just as it leaves the furnace and branches to the house.

Control: VisionPro IAQ with outdoor temp sensor, frost protection enabled, ventilation disabled, set to activate blower fan when the humidifier is called for.

Control Settings: 66F daytime, 63F nighttime, 35% humidity, frost protection 8.

Observations: After installation it took about 1.5 weeks of constant operation to bring humidity from 21% to the set 35%. It was competing with the furnace over some of the coldest weeks of the winter. After the initial run-up, the fan runs almost constantly, with a few hours break during the night. The humidifier probably runs almost as much as the fan, although there are short bursts of time when I catch the fan on and the humidifier off. I find it somewhat frustrating that it is constantly running the fan and wonder if the 12gal is barely sufficient for the house. Last month it tacked on about 500kw of power to my bill (between $50 and $60). So at this point - it is nice to have humidity (my sinuses really agree). But I am concerned that perhaps the poorly insulated attic and the old, not-tight construction are causing the system to really overwork and cost a lot of money throughout the year. We're going to have an energy consultant over soon and maybe we'll get some advice from them.
 
  #50  
Old 02-07-10, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Skiboy10 View Post
House: 2600 sq ft. pre-fab/modular home built in 1976. The windows stink (metal casings) and there's not a lot of insulation in the attic.
Yep, you need to fix the problem above. If you need a remote mount then the TrueSteam is probably your only option.
Get the blower door test done, that will tell you how bad your problem really is.
 
  #51  
Old 02-18-10, 06:17 AM
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OK - referencing my post from 2/6, I'm going after this continually running thing again. We're having an insulator over - our attic is below R19. We are going to R60, which is around another 15" of insulation. We've also put sealed inserts in our can lights. I'm really hoping that this will help reduce the combined run time of the furnace/humidifier.

Second - something weird happened with the IAQ yesterday - I woke up and it was trapped in a different mode - almost like a power up mode; where the date is wrong and the time is off. It was heating continuously (at 70 degrees, I program it for 66) and would not shut off. Yikes. I wonder if the power went out that night. Is there a default startup temperature?
 
  #52  
Old 02-18-10, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Skiboy10 View Post
Second - something weird happened with the IAQ yesterday - I woke up and it was trapped in a different mode - almost like a power up mode; where the date is wrong and the time is off. It was heating continuously (at 70 degrees, I program it for 66) and would not shut off. Yikes. I wonder if the power went out that night. Is there a default startup temperature?
If the power went out, it should go right back to the normal settings. Sounds like something went wrong... If it happens again, I'd contact the dealer, and have it checked and/or replaced under waranty.
 
  #53  
Old 03-04-10, 06:01 AM
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Update on TrueSteam/Furnace/Insulation

Here's an update to below. Still trying to determine why the TrueSteam is running so much.

Getting the attic from <R19 to R60 has made a great improvement in the amount of time our furnace runs. We've also had the furnace cleaned, and the ducts cleaned. It was 3 degrees out last week and the furnace actually started up, got to temperature, and shut off - that never, ever happened before.

The TrueSteam is a different story. It still runs a lot, but certainly less, probably because the furnace is not competing with it as much. But the pattern is strange. In the morning, the house will come up to temp and the furnace shuts off. Then the humidifier kicks in and it seems to be running the majority of the day, and finally shuts off early evening. The temp differential between day and night is 3 degrees. Yesterday I put a hold on the system and kept it at 66 day and night, to see if not requiring a recovery cycle would help. I can't say that it did.

So I'm guessing that it is running about 50% of the time right now - which would equate to about 6 gallons / day. That might be right considering we live in a dry climate. I was putting that through my little holmes room humidifier and never reached 35% humidity. Now that I'm not buying a new filter every 10 days it might be close to break even.

Are there any other things that impact the house's ability to contain/retain humidity?

Originally Posted by Skiboy10 View Post
About 6 weeks ago I installed a new TrueSteam, wired to a VisionPRO IAQ system. After weeks of playing with the settings I am reading about some of your troubles. And while I don't have answers I would like to contribute more observations and datapoints.

House: 2600 sq ft. pre-fab/modular home built in 1976. The windows stink (metal casings) and there's not a lot of insulation in the attic.

Area: Evergreen Colorado, which can have a dramatic temperature shift over 24 hrs (i.e. 10F at night, 40F during the day). Colorado is a very dry environment.

Furnace: Amana high efficiency forced air with two stage blower that was retrofitted into the house. Original was electric heat.

Ventilation: None

TrueSteam: 12 gal TrueSteam plumbed remotely into the supply duct just as it leaves the furnace and branches to the house.

Control: VisionPro IAQ with outdoor temp sensor, frost protection enabled, ventilation disabled, set to activate blower fan when the humidifier is called for.

Control Settings: 66F daytime, 63F nighttime, 35% humidity, frost protection 8.

Observations: After installation it took about 1.5 weeks of constant operation to bring humidity from 21% to the set 35%. It was competing with the furnace over some of the coldest weeks of the winter. After the initial run-up, the fan runs almost constantly, with a few hours break during the night. The humidifier probably runs almost as much as the fan, although there are short bursts of time when I catch the fan on and the humidifier off. I find it somewhat frustrating that it is constantly running the fan and wonder if the 12gal is barely sufficient for the house. Last month it tacked on about 500kw of power to my bill (between $50 and $60). So at this point - it is nice to have humidity (my sinuses really agree). But I am concerned that perhaps the poorly insulated attic and the old, not-tight construction are causing the system to really overwork and cost a lot of money throughout the year. We're going to have an energy consultant over soon and maybe we'll get some advice from them.
 
 

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