I might be moving back into a 75 unit apartment building. Each apartment in the building has it's own heat pump. There is a big cooling tower outside with a loop running to each apartment's heat pump. I am sure most of you are familiar with this setup because I think it's quite common.
I am in Vermont so sometime in December I always remember the cooling tower shut off (no running water sound coming from the cooling tower). At this point I was told a natural gas furnace kicks on to provide heat for below 0 temps. I realize this system is more efficient since you can move heat from my apartment to another if needed when the cooling tower is operating. It's a 7 story building so I imagine you could have a situation where the 7th floor needs cooling, while the first floor needs heating.
I have since moved into a much smaller building that has individual central air and a building wide boiler. No heat pumps. My electrical bill is actually cheaper with this setup.
Anyway, I am looking to move back into the heat pump building. The issue with that building is that it is ALWAYS very warm. It is all concrete and very well insulated. With appliances, tv and a few people you could easily find yourself needing cooling in the middle of the winter. I also like it very cold when I sleep. Opening the window is not the best option due to outside noise.
So.... in this building if it is below 0 outside, and the cooling tower is not running. What happens when I lower my thermostat and ask for cooling??? I assume it will turn on and dump heat to the loop. Is that a problem? Can I run in cooling mode in that situation? When I lived there I never tired it but if I move back I would like to be able to lower the Tstat at night (65 for example) and have it cool down no matter what the temp outside is. What prevents everyone from doing the same thing?
Also, I noticed that in the summer time the apartment could be at 80 and if I lower the Tstat to 70, it would run for about 10 minutes and shut off. Then turn back on. It seemed like there was a maximum run time. I assume this is to prevent dumping too much heat to the loop. Correct? Wasn't a problem, apartment still got cool, just took longer than conventional central Air. Any help you guys could give me would be appreciated. I want to know what I am getting myself into if I move back in.