View Full Version : Heat Pump - AC works great, Heat doesn't
04-01-2012, 07:18 PM
I just had a house inspected that I am looking to purchase. During the inspection, the AC worked great (pumped out strong, no issues). However, when the inspector tried to switch the heat pump to "Heat" no warm air would come out. He tried at the beginning of the inspection and about 2 hours later. When he would initially switch it over, the fan on the outside compressor would come on for about 15 seconds and then shut back off. No heat could be detected coming out of the vents.
The selling agent agreed to send a licensed HVAC person to look at it. When this person looked, he said everything was fine. However, I am concerned that the agent might just have some sort of deal worked out with this person. (He tried suggesting an inspector he knew but we turned that down... the inspector we obtained on our own knew of the "suggested" inspector and said it was known that he had a deal going with the selling agency). Note - we agreed to allow the sellers to choose the HVAC contractor since they were paying for it.
Is there a legitimate reason why the inspector may have been unable to get the heat to come on? The selling agent said his HVAC person indicated it could have been because the inspector switched the system from AC to heat too quickly, or because of the air temperature outside the day it was inspected (the temp was approx 75). Do any of the reasons given by the HVAC contractor seem probable or should I get a second opinion?
Thanks for any insight!
04-01-2012, 07:34 PM
did the sellers technician put anything in writing?
seeing how I can't tell anything about the system from my recliner, it's hard to say.
I generally have a tainted view of home inspectors-period, I intentionally try to disavow any and everything they write up, and you can rest assured I document!
are home inspectors governed in your state?
04-01-2012, 07:50 PM
Thanks for the quick reply Dandyme,
Yes, inspectors are licensed in my state. The inspector provided a very through (3+hr inspection) while I was onsite with my agent and returned a detailed write-up of everything (which included his license #). He was extremely professional. He was the one who actually recommended that an HVAC contractor look at the heat pump issue further since he admitted he wasn't an expert in that area.. The single paged, handwritten receipt provided by the HVAC person lists a company I can't even find and no address (just a cell number). This just causes me further concern about his legitimacy. The receipt merely states "Inspect HVAC system, everything checks out fine."
for the price of a service call, you should get an answer from any company. Why not call the inspector and ask who he would recommend? I would trust someone working for you rather then someone working for the selling agent. Obviously the unit doesn't check out fine.
04-01-2012, 08:02 PM
Thanks JWB..... I think that will probably be my next step. Unfortunately, the selling agent took so long to get his HVAC contractor's info back to me, that I am down to the wire on the period (due diligence) in which I can still negotiate issues. If I can't get an HVAC person of my choosing in by Tuesday afternoon, I will have to take my chances or back out of the deal (which I really don't want to do as the place is great). I would have been ok with his guy finding nothing wrong if I could actually find a listing for company on the internet or in the phonebook. Just seems a little odd these days to not have some sort of public listing for your company (and I'm not talking about an actual website.... just a listing in some search engine to show you're real).
tinknocker service tech
04-01-2012, 08:19 PM
have your own people look at the system
if cant be done in the time frame have youe attornie hold back some money is essco till it can be seen and or repared
04-01-2012, 08:21 PM
That's a good idea tinknocker. thanks!
04-01-2012, 08:24 PM
Thanks to all who have replied so far with idea on how to proceed. Does anyone though have any thoughts on what could have caused the issue (if, in fact, it truly does work as it should). Could it have been the outside temperature being too high for the heat/compressor to kick on, or perhaps, is their a built-in fail-safe on heat pumps that prohibit them from being switched directly from AC to Heat? I'm trying to give the HVAC guy the benefit of the doubt and finding a legitimate reason would go a long way. Thanks!
04-01-2012, 09:30 PM
does it have a digital thermostat?
usually 3-5 minute delay built into t-stat
unless there is some type of control keeping the heat pump from operating at a pre-determined temperature (don't know why there would be)it should have produced heat.
call you municipality inspection department, they should be able to give you some clue as to the servicing company
"Inspect HVAC system, everything checks out fine." that statement; I regard as useless without proof
just ask the sellers hvac guy to "prove" that statement
04-01-2012, 10:03 PM
Thanks Dandyme. The thermostat is non-digital. I know sometimes municipalities offer customers the option of "load management" where the city can automatically shut-down your system for a certain period of time during peak hours, but I doubt that would be the cause in this instance (since the AC was running fine). I was reading that most digital thermostat have the time delay.... is it possible for such a thing to be added to a system with a non-digital thermostat?
I couldn't agree with you more Dandyme re: the statement of "proof" provided by the HVAC contractor.
Great idea about contacting the city to ask for info on the servicing company - never would have thought of that.
04-02-2012, 12:36 AM
I would make a point that the info provided by the HVAC person is not detailed enough and that, if indeed true, they are not a licensed/credible company and the time frame should be extended to accommodate another detailed and documented inspection.
04-02-2012, 01:49 AM
Thanks for the quick reply Dandyme,
The single paged, handwritten receipt provided by the HVAC person lists a company I can't even find and no address (just a cell number). This just causes me further concern about his legitimacy. The receipt merely states "Inspect HVAC system, everything checks out fine."
This is a huge red flag!!!
I don't think you have a time delay issue, you said the unit came on for 15sec and then quit. Do you have a mercury bulb thermostat? Did the indoor blower come on?
Either way, no way of telling what the problem is from my lazy boy! If you really like this house, it is in your best interest to get a thorough second opinion if the selling agent will agree.
04-03-2012, 06:21 PM
Thanks again to all that replied. Just wanted to provide an update.
Had my own (legitimate) HVAC contractor check out the system. The problem with the heat was caused by a bad defrost board. They also had to add freon and clear the drain lines just to check the system..... makes you wonder how the first guy was able to check it... When the selling agent was contacted with this info, his response was, "Oh, my guy didn't check the heat that day.... it was too hot outside." REALLY?! The heat is what we said needed to be checked because it wasn't working and my people seemed to have no problem checking it under similar weather conditions. Obviously, this HVAC guy didn't even go to the house and has a deal worked out with the selling agent. I am amazed that the selling agent and his crony would risk their licenses to commit such fraud over what amounts to a $ repair (which, the sellers have agreed to fix).
04-03-2012, 08:27 PM
If you have to add refrigerant it could have a leak,did they explain that to you
04-03-2012, 08:40 PM
just got to love it when an informed homeowner bust some jagoff hacks balzzz
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.0 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.