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Apollo HydroHeat -- known problems?


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Apollo Hydro Heat sucks! I live in Alabama and I can not keep my house warm during the winter, Ive replaced the coils, ran new lines, spent thousands only to have the company tell me my unit is working fine if the air coming out is 20 degrees warmer than the intake air. It is, but my house will not get above 65 when its freezing outside.

Does anyone have any suggestions? its 2010 and I should not have to freeze in my own home.

I am considering trying to insulate the unit itself, it is in my garage and very cold to the touch, would that help?

Your house is losing heat faster than your heating system is producing heat. Either you need a heating system with more capacity or a house that loses heat more slowly.

No one can tell you anything else that's meaningful unless he knows more about your house and your heating system.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Welcome Dave!

Gas water heaters tend to last a good long time, so don't be surprised if you get another ten years out of the water heaters with very little significant maintenance.

If you aren't disappointed with the whole system's performance, I would just sit back and enjoy until replacement becomes a necessity. That's just my opinion, but if it isn't costly to run and ain't broke, resist the temptation to allegedly "fix it".

Another good reason to ride 'em out - the efficiency of future heating systems will continue to improve exponentially. The longer you wait, the faster the system you finally purchase will pay for itself. In the meantime, keep your ear to the rail regarding heating system technology so you have a good educated idea what direction you wish to go in when the time comes.

Thanks,

Not knowing the system, I was under the impression that it was in need of help. The reason I called the tech out to inspect the sytem is that I just started to have a slight rotten egg (sulfer?) smell coming from the vents. He quickly concluded that my water heater rods (technical name escapes me at the moment) needed replacing. Reading elsewhere on the net, it looks like these rods are a maintenance item and should be replaced every so often based on well or city water (city for me). Quote is $228 for a pair of rods and $490 including the striped regulator.

btw, it has been 10-20 degrees during the day and single digits at night for the past 2 weeks. ZERO problems keeping my home at a comfortable 70 degrees. System is staying!

Dave

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Excellent!

It's hard to imagine any reputable company teeing up a system that isn't thoroughly tested and proven to perform.

In spite of the varying passionate opinions here, it's pretty much a no brainer that those experiencing problems are suffering from a poor installation.

I find it rather depressing to, day after day, see an endless string of careless minor deficiencies that all add up to a poorly performing system. For instance, if I had a nickel for every time I see an air handler that is missing the rubber bushings that surround and seal the opening where the refrigerant line penetrates the coil cabinet, I'd be a millionaire. HVAC contractors will even discount the concern as insignificant. Yet, put a slit in a drinking straw and see how much liquid you get. Air is going to travel the path of least resistance and a hole in the system is an easy path. Nothing like trying to heat or cool your home with crawl space, eave or attic air.

I see this particular condition even when the seller tells me that the HVAC contractor was out the day before to service the system just for the home inspection.

In fact, a few weeks ago a poor seller had their system serviced before the home inspection and the central return duct was detached and laying on the crawl space floor leaving the central return register completely open to the crawl space. It's pretty bewildering.

Usually the problem isn't the mechanics, but the installation (the system doesn't suck, the installer does).

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Ive got energy efficient windows and doors, a very well insulated home, built new in 2004. I went and bought 2 rolls of R-30 insulation, wrapped the return air unit from top to bottom and I was warm last night, finally! Will this affect my heating in the summer? Will insulating the return air cause it to sweat & drip water? Im just happy that my last $30 invenstment actually worked.

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Ive got energy efficient windows and doors, a very well insulated home, built new in 2004. I went and bought 2 rolls of R-30 insulation, wrapped the return air unit from top to bottom and I was warm last night, finally! Will this affect my heating in the summer? Will insulating the return air cause it to sweat & drip water? Im just happy that my last $30 invenstment actually worked.

If the builder neglected to insulate the return air duct, what else did he screw up?

Wrapping the return air duct will only do good things for you in both winter and summer. It will lessen condensation, not increase it.

If it was paper-faced insulation, pull off the paper. That stuff shouldn't be left exposed.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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It is pink insulation with a thin pink paper over the outside, I just left it on there so I wouldnt be touching the insulation directly, will that cause a problem? Ive watched to see if the hot water inlet pipe would melt the plastic cover paper and it has not. Ill take any suggestions as I am just a do-it-yourselfer that has no training in HVAC.

Thanks in advance!

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It is pink insulation with a thin pink paper over the outside, I just left it on there so I wouldnt be touching the insulation directly, will that cause a problem? Ive watched to see if the hot water inlet pipe would melt the plastic cover paper and it has not. Ill take any suggestions as I am just a do-it-yourselfer that has no training in HVAC.

Thanks in advance!

Thin pink paper or thin pink plastic?

Where is this? Is it in an unfinished space such as a garage or attic?

Do you have pictures?

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just had my Apollo replaced - It's an excellent unit - HOWEVER, since its replacement I have been getting MAD condensation on all windows, doors and even the attic access!

Its gotten so bad that I must mop the floors constantly around the doors and the attic access panel.

What could be causing this?

How do I stop it from happening?

How can I reverse the affects?

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It is pink insulation with a thin pink paper over the outside, I just left it on there so I wouldnt be touching the insulation directly, will that cause a problem? Ive watched to see if the hot water inlet pipe would melt the plastic cover paper and it has not. Ill take any suggestions as I am just a do-it-yourselfer that has no training in HVAC.

Thanks in advance!

Thin pink paper or thin pink plastic?

Where is this? Is it in an unfinished space such as a garage or attic?

Do you have pictures?

It sounds like that encapsulated stuff with the micro-thin perforated plastic sheath. That stuff has a pinkish tinge to it, No?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I just had my Apollo replaced - It's an excellent unit - HOWEVER, since its replacement I have been getting MAD condensation on all windows, doors and even the attic access!

Its gotten so bad that I must mop the floors constantly around the doors and the attic access panel.

What could be causing this?

How do I stop it from happening?

How can I reverse the affects?

You're getting condensation because water vapor in the air is coming in contact with a surface whose temperature is below the dewpoint. You need to either lower your indoor humidity levels or move the house to a climate where it does not get so cold. [;)]

Other than replacing the Apollo system, has anything else changed that could be putting more humidity into the air? More people in the house? Longer showers? Different cooking habits? By any chance did the installer add a humidifier when replacing the Apollo system?

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I just had my Apollo replaced - It's an excellent unit - HOWEVER, since its replacement I have been getting MAD condensation on all windows, doors and even the attic access!

Its gotten so bad that I must mop the floors constantly around the doors and the attic access panel.

What could be causing this?

How do I stop it from happening?

How can I reverse the affects?

My first thought is that the new system isn't venting combustion byproducts properly to the exterior. I can't count how many times I've found improperly vented gas appliances have been the cause of major moisture condensing.
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I just had my Apollo replaced - It's an excellent unit - HOWEVER, since its replacement I have been getting MAD condensation on all windows, doors and even the attic access!

Its gotten so bad that I must mop the floors constantly around the doors and the attic access panel.

What could be causing this?

How do I stop it from happening?

How can I reverse the affects?

My first thought is that the new system isn't venting combustion byproducts properly to the exterior. I can't count how many times I've found improperly vented gas appliances have been the cause of major moisture condensing.

Man, what a perfectly logical and sobering thought, which I hate to admit has never automatically come to mind and should. Brilliant!

I did a home a couple of weeks ago with relatively new insulated glass windows. All the ones on the front of the house had excessive condensation because the installer never caulked around any of the windows within the brick veneer openings. But, I never really gave a thought to the source of the moisture beyond normal stuff like cooking and showers. (I honestly don't recall now if it even had gas equipment.)

Nonetheless, that's good thinking, Bill, which I will file away as an automatic top consideration with a sub-conscious red flag attached to it, for the future....

I love TIJ!...

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"I did a home a couple of weeks ago with relatively new insulated glass windows. All the ones on the front of the house had excessive condensation because the installer never caulked around any of the windows within the brick veneer openings."

What you describe will allow a significant amount of humidity to escape to the exterior, actually preventing condensation, and in fact when I see significant condensation on service calls I advise my clients to unlock their windows (increasing the air infiltration rate) until it clears. Of course I run down the cause first, which is usually humidifiers set to nuclear.

" But, I never really gave a thought to the source of the moisture beyond normal stuff like cooking and showers. (I honestly don't recall now if it even had gas equipment.)"

I didn't either until it happened in my own house. Loosely assembled vent pipe and missing screws in the draft hood on my water heater led to the entire stack falling off. I have no idea how long it ran like that, but the result was enough moisture in the house that every window facing north had mad condensation on it.

Tom

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Tom, the thing that had me connecting the condensation and the lack of caulk was that the condensation was only occurring along the outside edges of the panes, which I attributed to cold drafts making the glass surface pretty chilly. It was a pretty cold day and the surfaces around the windows were cold.

And, it only occurred at the windows replaced on the main front of the home, where they were installed within brick veneer openings without any caulk - pretty big gaps too...

Of course, I've always understood that water is a bi-product of fossil fuel exhaust, but I just never logically connected the dots. And, in looking back over 16 years of seminars and conventions attended as a vendor and inspector (maybe 55 of them?), I don't recall any speaker ever teeing up the possibility either.

It'll be consideration #1 now, though.

Good stuff.

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I have an Apollo Hydroheat system that has never worked very well, but this might be in part due to poor ductwork-- several rooms of my 1500sqft townhome can barely feel any airflow from the vents when the fan is running.

Anyhow, now the motor on my unit appears to be dying. When it turns on, I can hear it humming, and often it tries to spin the blower, before it grinds again to a halt, still humming, trying to make it turn. The first few times it happened, i manually spun the fan and it then resumed operation as normal.

I got the run capacitor checked, and it is within normal limits, and the guy at store said the motor was bad. I then took the unit to several HVAC vendors in town, and all said i have nothing that small here. The final guy I took the motor to actually called up his supplier, who said that because Apollo was out of business, it would be impossible to replace, and that there wasn't any proper substitute for this motor. In part, it seems they thought that the built-in bracket on the motor would be hard to match.

In examining the motor and blower, it seems as though a larger motor would fit in squirrel cage, and that the cage has holes for mounting a different kind of bracket, if need be. Therefore, my question is--- should I try a different motor model in my unit? How can I be sure the electricity requirements are acceptable? Are electricity, bracket-mounting, and size of motor the 3 main concerns?

Here are the details of my current motor:

Make: GE

Model: 5KCP29JK4850S (the # 4850 is also stamped on the unit elsewhere)

V. 115, RPM 1075, Hz. 60, Amps 4.06, Hp 1/4, Cap. 10.0mfd/370V, Ph.1

Diameter of motor is 5", diameter of the "hole" of the squirrel cage is 8", or so.

If this unit seems to be non-replaceable, can anyone advise just how much of my unit will need to be replaced? Can I just replace the cage/blower/fan, or will I have to do more of that because of the electric requirements? Other parts in this system in include a Grundfos unit, and Taco pump, and condensor coils (i think?).

I saw a rubber tube coming out of the motor, and squirted some WD-40 in there, hoping to help things, but that didn't seem to do much. The fan seems to turn easily when the motor is shut off.

Thanks in advance for any replies! I have several pictures of the unit if those would facilitate things.

-Mat

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Graingers probably has a motor that will fit that blower, but it would surprise me if they didn't have that exact model. They sell wholesale, so you may not be able to buy directly from them but their site is searchable. If that fails you could always have your motor rebuilt. Find an electric shop that specializes in industrial or construction equipment, or a shop that rebuilds automotive electrics like starter motors. It may take a few days but rebuilding is often less expensive than replacing, and Durham is usually warm enough to go a few days without heat although you wouldn't know it from this winter.

Tom

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Thanks for the reply, Tom!

I think I'd prefer to replace the motor entirely,

I couldn't find my model at Graingers, but there were a couple similar GE ones, notably missing the welded-on brackets that my model has. The unit they have is also a wider diameter (5 5/8), though I don't know if that is crucial. My cage seems like it could handle that size well enough.

The shaft diameter seems pretty key, but I haven't measured mine. If the shaft diameter matches up, are there any specific electric parameters I need to be aware of? Any other parameters as I try to find a 'good-enough' replacement? The one I'm looking at on Grainger has these specs:

Direct Drive Blower Motor, Permanent Split Capacitor, Open Air-Over, 1/4 HP, Nameplate RPM 1075, Voltage 115, Full Load Amps 4.2, 60 Hz, 1 Phase

They seem pretty similar to mine, but maybe I'm missing some crucial point here. Assuming I can find a way to mount it to my cage, will it be as simple as wiring up the white/black/red cables as on my current setup, and getting the capacitor in place?

Thanks!

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Besides the shaft size and mounting considerations you will want to closely match the RPM. Spin too fast and the coils will cool too quickly or the air will move too fast to gain heat as it passes the coil and it could be noisy, too slow and you will not move a sufficient volume of air to heat the house.

Also if given a choice, take a more powerful motor. 1/4 HP is probably fine, but 3/8 or 1/2 will last longer and comparably priced.

Tom

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Take it to an electric motor shop. Those guys usually have every kind of motor imaginable. Back in '73 I did a short stint as a maintenance guy in a factory in Torrington, CT and we were constantly replacing electric motors or getting them rebuilt and I often visited a local electric motor shop. Bet they can help.

I once picked up a really old chest freezer that somone had kicked to the curb. I took it home, plugged it in and discovered that the motor was burned out. I removed the motor, drove downtown to an electric motor shop and asked 'em what it would cost to rewind the motor. They guy glanced at it, said, "No need, I've got a half dozen of those around here someplace," and disappeared into a back room stacked floor to ceiling with electric motors. About five minutes later he emerged with an exact match. He sold it to me for $15 'cuz he'd never had a call for one, and I installed it in that freezer. I kept that danged thing for years and finally gave it away to another GI.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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  • 2 weeks later...

My service technician discovered that the electrically operated hot water valve had failed and was allowing hot water in the airhandler during the cooling season. He pointed out a manual valve for me to shut off during the cooling season.

Interesting, did he mention whether this is a frequent issue with these Appolo units?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

I am currently having the same problem as Iggy Dalrymple. An HVAC person told me that the solinoid valve is not working in my unit. Currently I have heat but no A/C. The problem is I can't find anyone capable of working on the system and no one can seem to order the replacement part. I'm in Santa Clara, CA. Any recommendations for how to order the part and who I can get to work on my system is greatly appreciated.

Natalie

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  • 2 weeks later...

So, I woke up Friday with no hot water...and no heat! My 14 year old Apollo water heater bit the dust--or, rather, the burner assembly did. A drain leak managed to somehow pool in the bottom of the drip pan before the leak was caught, and, presto, rust formed and put a hole in the gas line of the burner assembly.

Does anybody know where I can find a replacement burner assembly (650,000 BTUs)? I need to replace the whole water heater, but I'm told it will cost upwards of $4000! Can I use a regular water heater?

Thanks to anybody who can point me in the right direction...the weather will be getting cold again by the end of the week!

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So, I woke up Friday with no hot water...and no heat! My 14 year old Apollo water heater bit the dust--or, rather, the burner assembly did. A drain leak managed to somehow pool in the bottom of the drip pan before the leak was caught, and, presto, rust formed and put a hole in the gas line of the burner assembly.

Does anybody know where I can find a replacement burner assembly (650,000 BTUs)? I need to replace the whole water heater, but I'm told it will cost upwards of $4000! Can I use a regular water heater?

Thanks to anybody who can point me in the right direction...the weather will be getting cold again by the end of the week!

I'd like to see a 650,000 btu/hr water heater.

Are you sure it isn't 65,000 btu?

Shop around, you'll find someone with a decent unit for less than $4,000.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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