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Apollo HydroHeat -- known problems?


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Hey all. I'm having a problem with a leak coming from the condenser drainage pan of my Apollo AC system. The leak occurs when the AC has been running long enough for the pan to fill up completely. At this point it seems to spill over at a very slow trickle from the top of what I am assuming is the primary drain pipe. There is a second pipe set to the left and slightly above the main pipe, and I am assuming this is an emergency/overflow drain. If I turn the AC off when the pan is full/leaking, then the water will recede to the level of the bottom lip of the left (overflow?) pipe and stop. At this point there is no more leak, but the remaining water in the pan will not drain.

My questions: Do I have the mechanics of this system correct? Is the right-side pipe blocked in some way that is preventing drainage? If so, is there anything I can do to fix the problem?

Thanks for any help you guys can offer. I will include some pictures of the pipes below.

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That's a lousy install. The copper drain lines intrude into the space provided for the air filter and copper is a lousy choice for 3/4" condensate drain lines because the lines need to be removed occasionally for cleaning. I'd say your primary drain line is clogged and the emergency overflow has been effectively draining the pan for so long that now it's becoming clogged too. You might have a dirty evaporator (cooling) coil or Apollo heat exchanger. That would clog them right quick.

Remove both drain lines and clear them. Give the evaporator coil/heat exchanger a visual inspection. You shouldn't attempt to remove the drain lines yourself because the pan might be corroded to the point where the connection to the drain line will simply snap off like popcorn once you torque the drain connection. Replacing that pan is often times a pain-in-the-neck, involving the recovery of the refrigerant and removal of the evaporator coil/heat exchanger.

Marc

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We replaced our Apollo with a State water heater. And, yes, the cold water issue was only in the tub/showers where there were single handle faucets. We've been renovating and that was the only place we still had water available so, after we drained the water heater, we had no water at all. Everything's installed and working fine now. Thanks for the input!

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  • 5 months later...

This is the most comprehensive forum I found for Apollo Hydroheat which leads me to question Apollo Hydroheat: is it that most people never have problems or are these systems just very rare?

Anyway, I'm looking to purchase a forclosed home in Northern IL with Apollo Hydroheat. We could not inspect the furnace since the Apollo water heater failed to start: light ignites but fails to stay on. Judging from the shape of the control panel it is a power direct vented gas model. I believe the error code means 'there are flammable gasses in the area'. The water heater is from 2009 so I'm hoping that's an easy fix.

The furnace, which is in the ceiling, on the other hand, is probably originally installed when the town home was built in 1994.

My main question is: how much does it cost to replace this type of hydro air furnace (installed)? Since I don't know if it works, I'm just going to budget for worst case scenario and assume it's broken. I guess Apollo is no longer in business, are there any good substitutes that will go in the ceiling?

Btw, the town home does not have traditional duct work, duct is formed by framing and drywall. It is 980 sq ft, and has a separate regular ac (mfg date 2007).

I'm at my wits end.

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This is the most comprehensive forum I found for Apollo Hydroheat which leads me to question Apollo Hydroheat: is it that most people never have problems or are these systems just very rare?

They were quite common and, for the most part, worked well with few problems.

Anyway, I'm looking to purchase a forclosed home in Northern IL with Apollo Hydroheat. We could not inspect the furnace since the Apollo water heater failed to start: light ignites but fails to stay on. Judging from the shape of the control panel it is a power direct vented gas model. I believe the error code means 'there are flammable gasses in the area'. The water heater is from 2009 so I'm hoping that's an easy fix.

Probably.

The furnace, which is in the ceiling, on the other hand, is probably originally installed when the town home was built in 1994.

My main question is: how much does it cost to replace this type of hydro air furnace (installed)? Since I don't know if it works, I'm just going to budget for worst case scenario and assume it's broken. I guess Apollo is no longer in business, are there any good substitutes that will go in the ceiling?

A hydro air furnace is nothing more than a box with a blower and a coil. There's not much to go bad and most of the stuff that can go bad can be replaced with off the shelf parts. First Co and State make replacement parts and new units. I don't know what they sell for.

Btw, the town home does not have traditional duct work, duct is formed by framing and drywall. It is 980 sq ft, and has a separate regular ac (mfg date 2007).

I'm at my wits end.

It sounds like it won't take much to get the system up and running again.

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Hello,

My wife and I have an apollo hydro heat system in our 1235 sq ft townhome. The past winter our apollo water heater developed a leak and had to be replaced. The weather started to get colder so we turned on our heat and it was not working. I have had several people come out to look at the unit. One person said that the water heater temp is not high enough. I turned it up, but still doesn't work. Another person came out and said the heat pump needed to be replaced. When he came to replace it, he said that the bolts on the heat pump were very rusty and could not take off the bolts. He recommended another person who could solder out the old heat pump and put a new one in. I just had a hvac guy go out to our house and he said heat pump is fine, but water is not hot enough. HVAC also mentioned that unit is on its last leg and needs to be replaced. We can't afford a new unit and I don't think we will get approved for financing. Not a good experience with this Apollo unit.

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Hello,

My wife and I have an apollo hydro heat system in our 1235 sq ft townhome. The past winter our apollo water heater developed a leak and had to be replaced. The weather started to get colder so we turned on our heat and it was not working. I have had several people come out to look at the unit. One person said that the water heater temp is not high enough. I turned it up, but still doesn't work. Another person came out and said the heat pump needed to be replaced. When he came to replace it, he said that the bolts on the heat pump were very rusty and could not take off the bolts. He recommended another person who could solder out the old heat pump and put a new one in. I just had a hvac guy go out to our house and he said heat pump is fine, but water is not hot enough. HVAC also mentioned that unit is on its last leg and needs to be replaced. We can't afford a new unit and I don't think we will get approved for financing. Not a good experience with this Apollo unit.

How did the system work before the water heater was replaced?

How hot is the hot water?

Do you have a tempering valve on the system to provide potable hot water at a different temperature than the heating hot water? If so, what is the temperature of each?

Is the unit not heating at all, or is it just not heating enough?

Is your air filter clean?

Is your hydro coil clean?

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  • 2 weeks later...

If Jim Katen does decide to start a pay site for Apollo, I'd join in a heartbeat. I am heating (attempting to heat is more accurate) a 5,000 square foot home with a 20 year old Apollo system we bought after viewing it at a home show. The tank is 100 gallons and we have 3 zones, each with their separate air handler. The boiler is fueled by oil.

Without the pellet stove we would have frozen to death on numerous occasions for all the reasons previous posters have indicated.

We have what appears to be small white and green material clogging faucet filters which require cleaning monthly. Today, with the temp near freezing the main unit is not putting out warm air. The other zones, bonus room and upstairs which have been used less are working. After reading years of your postings, it appears that i have a clog somewhere, most likely in a coil. I have never drained the water heater.

I'm handy but not sure I want to start tearing apart the air handlers or water heater if there isn't a relatively easy DYI fix. Looking for any input or suggestions.

JL

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If Jim Katen does decide to start a pay site for Apollo, I'd join in a heartbeat. I am heating (attempting to heat is more accurate) a 5,000 square foot home with a 20 year old Apollo system we bought after viewing it at a home show. The tank is 100 gallons and we have 3 zones, each with their separate air handler. The boiler is fueled by oil.

Without the pellet stove we would have frozen to death on numerous occasions for all the reasons previous posters have indicated.

We have what appears to be small white and green material clogging faucet filters which require cleaning monthly. Today, with the temp near freezing the main unit is not putting out warm air. The other zones, bonus room and upstairs which have been used less are working. After reading years of your postings, it appears that i have a clog somewhere, most likely in a coil. I have never drained the water heater.

I'm handy but not sure I want to start tearing apart the air handlers or water heater if there isn't a relatively easy DYI fix. Looking for any input or suggestions.

JL

The white and green stuff clogging your faucets is almost certainly bits and pieces of your water heater's dip tube that has disintegrated. This tube is supposed to direct incoming cold water to the the bottom of the water tank. Now that it has disappeared, the cold water enters the top of the tank, instantly diluting the hot water and destroying the efficiency of the system. You need to install a new dip tube and clean out the system.

Try calling Robben & Sons Heating. http://www.robbenandsons.com I've seen several hydro-air systems that they've installed, one was a zoned system on a very large house that might be similar to yours. It worked quite well.

Jim Katen

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  • 1 month later...

sorry if i am posting this again but something happened and what i was typing disappeared.

I came to this forum while googling.

I had a hydroheat recently installed. trane air handler, trane hydrocoil and trane outdoor system. I always had hydroheat- apollo. i replaced it simply because it was 18 yrs old and wanted to be proactive

My problem is how frequently the new system cycles- about 9-10 mts off and 10mts on.I can;t recall the old system doing this.

I have a new state water heater- 75 gallons.

There are very intelligent people here and hope to get some help

The installers are nice but this proving too difficult fro them. i went with one of big stores thinking the installers would have been checked out.

I am totally disappointed

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I am wondering why no one has answered me.Should I post it elsewhere.

Hope i will have a response soon

Your post has likely been viewed by many members by now. Perhaps no one has an answer. Plus, today is a holiday. Stick around a little longer.

I'm not familiar enough with radiant heating to answer it myself.

Marc

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sorry if i am posting this again but something happened and what i was typing disappeared.

I came to this forum while googling.

I had a hydroheat recently installed. trane air handler, trane hydrocoil and trane outdoor system. I always had hydroheat- apollo. i replaced it simply because it was 18 yrs old and wanted to be proactive

My problem is how frequently the new system cycles- about 9-10 mts off and 10mts on.I can;t recall the old system doing this.

I have a new state water heater- 75 gallons.

You are describing a problem with short cycling. Two things can cause it:

1: The system is overheating and shutting itself down on high limit before the thermostat is satisfied. This is highly unlikely with a hydro air system.

2: The thermostat is not set properly. Its cycles per hour (CPH) might be set too high or, if you have an old thermostat, the heat anticipator might be messed up.

Did they also install a new thermostat? If so, I suspect a problem with it. Spend some time with the manual and you might discover the problem.

i went with one of big stores thinking the installers would have been checked out.

I am totally disappointed

Well, the big stores tend to make arrangements with low bidders. On the other hand, you shouldn't be "totally disappointed" yet. Mention the thermostat thing to them and give them a chance to make improvements.

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Thank you. i will ask about the thermostat. it is new and is trane digital.

So many things have gone wrong that may be the wiring is wrong. however, they keep telling me it is fine and it is supposed to cycle like that!.

I am thinking of getting a second opinion.

another question

it is very cold in Va now, rather unusual. My home is about 2600 sq ft. I was told this produces 50,000BTU. Is this sufficient to maintain a temp of 70 degrees. i find that in this extreme cold, it cannot go higher than 66-68.

I never really noticed this in all these years i lived here

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Thank you. i will ask about the thermostat. it is new and is trane digital.

So many things have gone wrong that may be the wiring is wrong. however, they keep telling me it is fine and it is supposed to cycle like that!.

I am thinking of getting a second opinion.

another question it is very cold in Va now, rather unusual. My home is about 2600 sq ft. I was told this produces 50,000BTU. Is this sufficient to maintain a temp of 70 degrees. i find that in this extreme cold, it cannot go higher than 66-68.

I never really noticed this in all these years i lived here

Ideally, the system will run continuously on the coldest day of the year to maintain a set temperature. The overwhelming majority of heating systems out there are too large.

If your system is maintaining 66-68 degrees with the weather that you guys have been getting, I'd say it's adequately sized.

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I have an Apollo HydroHeat MA45H (45000 BTU) system connected to a bradfordwhite water heater (75gal / 76000 BTU input). We have a 2 story 1450 sf house (1000 dn, 450 up), 1 zone. Water heater was just replaced this last summer. Water heater and HydroHeat system are separated by 25'. Heat Exchange water lines run in the crawlspace but are insulated with pipe foam. Duct system for the lower story runs in the crawlspace via insulated flex duct. Air filter is brand new. Floor joists in crawlspace are insulated. Duct vent perimeter is sealed from colder crawlspace air where it comes up through the floor.

The issue I am having is very little air flow coming out of the vents - nothing like other forced air systems I've had in the past. I've inspected the crawl space and find no gaps, disconnected or kinked duct lines. All of the ducts have about the same amount of air flow which seems to suggest the fan just isn't very good at moving the air. Fan motor is rated at 1/2 hp. Temporarily removing the air filter made no difference in air flow at the vents.

It took about 4 hours today to move the temp from 65 to 68 with an outside temp between 38 & 44 during that same period. When outside temp is below freezing it really struggles to keep the house at 68. It's an older home so I'm sure I have insufficient insulation but regardless of that my question is more directed at the amount of air flow (or lack thereof).

Is the air flow typically lower on these types of systems?

Is there anything I can look at to help identify why I have such low air flow?

Thanks in advance

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There's probably at least a dozen possibilities that could come into play, including the one that says the air flow is normal.

More info is needed to even have a go at it. A professional onsite might be best.

Marc

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  • 4 months later...

Hello!

Does anyone have experience connecting high-efficiency (R410A) air conditioning units to Apollo Hydro Heat split system units?

I'm getting bids from A/C contractors to install a new A/C unit and connect it to the coolant coil in a (circa 1990) Apollo Hydro Heat split system in a house that has never been air conditioned before.

For some reason, the HVAC contractors take one look and say that my hydronic Apollo system is incompatible with newer (R410A) units and that if I want one, I will have to buy a new furnace. They also say that Apollo Hydro Heat IS compatible with old (R22) A/C units.

Have they got it right? Or it just a matter of finding the right refrigerant metering device?

Anyone know what type of refrigerant metering device is used in the Apollo Hydro Heat system? Is it a hydrostatic expansion valve? Is it compatible with R410A refrigerant and high efficiency (and quiet) condensers?

Thanks!

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They have it right. Except that I don't see why you need a new furnace. If it's electric heat then you do need a new air handler/heater because the evaporator coil is inside of it, but on gas heating the evap coil is in a separate cabinet.

Unless the label on the evaporator coil (cooling coil) specifies dual compatibility on both R22 and R410A, don't use it for R410A. The compressor oil used with R410A has no compatibility whatsoever with mineral oil which is what R22 systems use. If the coil is indeed labeled in such manner, then a thorough cleaning is needed to remove all traces of mineral oil before charging with R410A. Some guys don't do it. I wouldn't dare do otherwise.

To mix these two is a death sentence to your new AC system.

Marc

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Thanks for your reply, Marc.

The coolant coil has never been used, (either for R22 OR 410A), because the previous (and original) owner never installed air conditioning.

The Apollo Hydro Heat system in question, however, dates to 1990, so it is unlikely that it will be labeled as compatible with 410A, which didn't come along until later(?).

A neighbor with the same Apollo system installed a Puron-based high efficiency Carrier AC unit about 10 years ago and it's working fine.

If the coolant coil is clean (virgin) what are the other obstacles to installing a high-efficiency (R410A) unit?

Thanks again!!!

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If the coolant coil is clean (virgin) what are the other obstacles to installing a high-efficiency (R410A) unit?

Thanks again!!!

That coil wasn't engineered for a higher pressure refrigerant like R410A.

Using that coil for R 410A would be absolutely foolish.

Marc

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BTW, it's gas heat (hot water from gas water heater flows through Apollo heating coil.)

Then I don't see why you cannot simply insert an evaporator coil cabinet into the system.

Lotsa AC contractors are the type that would rather have the convenience of a 'clean slate' by just ripping everything out and starting over with a new system. Easier for the contractor but wasteful of the homeowner's money.

Marc

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