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  1. #1

    Help me understand regular vs aux heat...

    I have an issue... I purchased a prefab home and it came with an electric havc system installed... My ac works fine in the summer, but in the winter it appears that it only runs in auxilary heat. The air coming out of the vents is somewhere in the order of 120 degrees, all the time. Even in mild weather - whenever the heat is on. This of course leads to the unit kicking on and off very frequently and high power bills. My thermostat only has a cool, off, and heat setting, unlike the older models I've had that have 4 settings - so I'm lead to assume that the regular and aux heat modes are supposed to be automatic.

    I do know that the outside heat pump/condenser does NOT kick on when the heat is engaged regardless of outside temperature... But since the ac works I'm assuming its wired wrong? The unit is only about 1.5 years old and has done this since day one... I opened the thermostat trying to find the model number, which is 1f86-337, and noticed that the gas/electric switch was turned to gas.... So I turned it to electric but there wasn't a change and the outside unit still did not kick on. Overlooking of this switch tells me the tech had his head up his rear though..

    Any thoughts on it being something simple or will I have to call it in?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Greenwood Indiana (Indianapolis)
    Posts
    420
    Sounds like you don't have a heat pump. Electric heat only. If you were to go to the outdoor unit, look at the freon lines. If you see 3 ports where a tech could hook up the gauges, then its a heat pump. If you only see 2, then its an A/C only, not a heat pump.
    As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another Proverbs 27:17 NIV84

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Mount Holly, NC
    Posts
    3,415
    ok, there are heat pumps, and there are straight a/c condensers. only heat pumps have heat/aux/emergency heat modes.
    straight a/c systems only have a/c and electric or some other type of heat.

    with a heat pump, the thermostat sends a signal to the condenser to switch modes in the unit so it puts out efficient low temp heat, and after a certain set point, the aux heat strips come in to help the heat pump raise the temp in the home.
    the emergency heat position of the thermostat is to disable the heat pump mode for when it's extremely cold outside, or when the condenser has been damaged.
    The TRUE highest cost system is the system not installed properly...
    The three big summer hearththrobs...
    Mel Gibson
    Dwane Johnson
    The A/C repairman

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Weaver View Post
    Sounds like you don't have a heat pump. Electric heat only. If you were to go to the outdoor unit, look at the freon lines. If you see 3 ports where a tech could hook up the gauges, then its a heat pump. If you only see 2, then its an A/C only, not a heat pump.
    Well, it seems you hit the nail on the head.... There is one larger insulated pipe with a hookup, and a smaller pipe with a hookup and that's it... I had incorrectly assume that if you have a condenser it would be a heat pump... That sucks, why do they even sell units that don't have a heat pump?

    What would I need to convert it? A whole new outside unit and an inside coil? R just the outside unit?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Greenwood Indiana (Indianapolis)
    Posts
    420
    Quote Originally Posted by Jparsley View Post
    Well, it seems you hit the nail on the head.... There is one larger insulated pipe with a hookup, and a smaller pipe with a hookup and that's it... I had incorrectly assume that if you have a condenser it would be a heat pump... That sucks, why do they even sell units that don't have a heat pump?

    What would I need to convert it? A whole new outside unit and an inside coil? R just the outside unit?
    You say the unit is not very old so it would be possible to install an outdoor unit and have it work with your existing indoor unit. The thermostat will need to be replaced. There are a lot of variables to your system that I don't know from the limited information I have.
    As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another Proverbs 27:17 NIV84

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Weaver View Post
    You say the unit is not very old so it would be possible to install an outdoor unit and have it work with your existing indoor unit. The thermostat will need to be replaced. There are a lot of variables to your system that I don't know from the limited information I have.
    Yeah I understand... I truelly appreciate you guys' help though. My home is right at around 2000 square foot, what would a typical heat pump swap cost me installed roughly, if you could guess with what you know?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,720
    JParsly you hit the nail on the head when you said "that sucks". You are right straight electrical heat strips do suck and ought to be abolished, they suck up electricity.

  8. #8
    Yeah... The house is actually insulated pretty well... Even with three kids that like to leave lights and TVs on 24 hours a day my power bill rarely goes over about 250... But I would guess a heat pump would pay for itself the first winter... I live in southern wv so the winters are moderate...

    The company the builds these prefab houses can be a little shady... I'm sure they just skimmed some more cash off me by putting this system in instead of a proper heat pump

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,720
    I rarley have seen heat pumps in a mod or trailer so that is par for the coarse.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Atlanta GA area
    Posts
    21,562
    Sorry you are stuck with straight AC and Elec heat... guess whomever approved the system went the cheap route...

    Changing would be on the order of several $K... we are not allowed to do pricing in open forums. Get 3 or 4 folks to come out and bid for you.

    Be SURE they take into account your needs, take time to discuss with them what you want and to listen/answer their questions. You will learn a lot from the folks who come out.
    GA-HVAC-Tech

    Quality work at a fair price with excellent customer service!

    Romans Ch's 5-6-7-8

    2 Chronicles 7:14

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    south louisiana
    Posts
    3,289
    what is brand & model number of condensing unit?
    The cure of the part should not be attempted without the cure of the whole. ~Plato

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Moore, Oklahoma, United States
    Posts
    4,434
    Electric heat instead of heat pump is quire common around here.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Round Rock
    Posts
    3,619
    Quote Originally Posted by Jparsley View Post
    Yeah... The house is actually insulated pretty well... Even with three kids that like to leave lights and TVs on 24 hours a day my power bill rarely goes over about 250... But I would guess a heat pump would pay for itself the first winter... I live in southern wv so the winters are moderate...

    The company the builds these prefab houses can be a little shady... I'm sure they just skimmed some more cash off me by putting this system in instead of a proper heat pump
    I don't think it will pay for itself in the first winter. Maybe a few winters. You're going to pay a few grand, there isn't a trade in value with the unit you have, unless you find a contractor willing to do that. What is your bill in the summertime? That will probably be pretty close to what your bill is in the wintertime with a heat pump, probably a little lower if you have hotter summers and mild winters. Since you'll be heating your house with the same piece of equipment you cool it with.
    I like DIY'ers. They pay better to fix.

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