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  1. #1

    Air-source Heat-pump question

    I recently purchased a townhouse with an air-source heat-pump and have 3 main questions. The unit is 22 yrs old (same age as the house).

    1) Now that the cold weather has set in (since +/- November...I live in Montreal), it seems to go through the "defrost" cycle frequently. The first time I heard the valve release "hissing" noise and saw steam come off the outdoor unit, I thought it was blown but now realize it's normal. But how often is "normal" for the unit to go through that cycle each day? Every time the unit turns on/off?

    2) The house also has an electric furnace, which is the "aux" source on the thermostat. During winter months, should I switch it to run off of the furnace instead of the heat-pump? (Note that in Montreal/Quebec, electricity is the main energy source because it is inexpensive).

    3) Is there a limit to the coldest outdoor temperatures where a heat-pump will still be effective? I have noticed since the weather got colder that the air coming out of the registers is never really warm. Is this a physical limit of a heat-pump or just that my unit is old and dying? (I also recently suspect a duct issue in one particular spot but to be investigated)

    4) What are the main regular maintenance items that I need to plan for? (I am a capable handyman but interested to know what I can do myself or if pros are needed)


    Thanks in advance. I appreciate any insights as I am new to heat-pumps.

    James

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    SouthEast NC ICW & Piedmont Foothills
    Posts
    7,635
    1- there should be a defrost control to dictate interval, you may have an issue if it defrost "every time it comes on"

    2- that's always debatable, if electric rate is that low, 30 degree F (0c)

    3-do not ask an engineer that ??, yes there is a point that the HP is upside down_power consumption vs heat out put ( not to mention unnecessary wear & tear

    4- the air filter is the only thing homeowner friendly, regardless of haw handy you may be
    It`s better to be silent and thought the fool; than speak and remove all doubt.

  3. #3
    This is the Ask Our Pro's forum. In order to post a response here, you must have verified qualifications and have been approved by the AOP Committee. You may ask a question by starting a new thread.

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    Last edited by jpsmith1cm; 12-27-2012 at 05:59 PM. Reason: non AOP member

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,671
    steve_mtl

    This is the Ask Our Pro's forum. In order to post a response here, you must have verified qualifications and have been approved by the AOP Committee. You may ask a question by starting a new thread.

    You can find the rules for posting and qualifications here.

    Additional infractions may result in loss of posting privileges.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    south louisiana
    Posts
    3,188
    using electric strip is an expensive use of electricity.
    what is your rate?
    I'm .08 cents per Kwh, and wouldn't ever heat with
    the heat strips. staged them so that only half would
    operate at a time.

    20+ year old heat pump is a long long life.
    planning on replacement in the next couple of years?

    start doing your homework now while you have the
    luxury of time to do so.

    your heat pump is probably about 8 SEER a/c & hspf of about 5.5
    compared to minimum 13 SEER hspf 7.5
    upgrading to that heat pump sweet spot between 15-17 SEER with hspf .85+
    is a decent savings for the upcharge.

    I agree that changing the filter is very do-able..LOL!
    lots of folks buy spray cleaner for coils..but have your
    hvac guy show you how and recommend a cleaner for you.
    you could do some minor duct sealing with paint on mastics
    or mastic tapes.foil & duct tapes fail quickly and are not worth the
    effort.
    any mechanical stuff..leave it alone.
    we make good money off handyman diy. seriously.

    best of luck
    The cure of the part should not be attempted without the cure of the whole. ~Plato

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