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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    51

    Unhappy

    Hi all,
    I live in CT, which is a chilly 26 degrees tonight. I have a Carrier heat pump which in which the outdoor fan was replaced just over 3 years ago...it had burned out.

    Ok, so I have the thermostat set on 68 and noticed the system is just running and running and running but not getting up to the temp setting. Air is blowing from the registers just fine, so I went outside and checked the outdoor unit and even though the system was running, the fan wasn't turning. That didn't seem right, so I went inside and turned down the thermostat to 66, waited 5-10 minutes and then turning the thermostat back to 68. I rechecked the outside unit and now the fan is running and the air from the registers seems warmer.

    My question is, shouldn't the outdoor fan ALWAYS be running when the system is on? Could it be over heating and my shutting it off for a bit helped to cool it down and then it was working ok again?

    Thanks!
    Lisa

    P.S. I notice a lot of ice build up on the bottom 1/3 of the outdoor unit's compressor (at least that's what I think the part is called). Could that be an indication of a related problem? Or is that normal?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    40
    Im not a technician but when there is ice build-up the unit will run a defrost cycle to melt the ice. During this defrost cycle the fan does not run. Hopefully thats what it was doing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    51

    Defrosting

    There's no frost on the outside of the outdoor unit...the ice is built up only on the bottom 1/3 of what I believe is the compressor INSIDE the bottom of the outdoor unit. Is there a separate defrost cycle for this component? I've only seen it defrosting the outside fins, myself.

    Thanks,
    Lisa G.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    40
    The defrost is for both the coils and fins. You may not have frost on the outside, but the coils could still be frosted a little.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,042
    It might have been defrosting- it does intentionally stop the outdoor fan then (but keeps the compressor and indoor fan going). The defrost cycle should never last for more than about 10 minutes, though, so that fan shouldn't stop for longer than that while you're calling for heat. In some weather conditions a defrost cycle will be accompanied by a steam cloud rising from the heat pump. Unless you're near a lake or the ocean, your heat pump will probably have a defrost cycle each 60-90 minutes of operation. The defrost cycles are also noticeable by a punctuated "whoosh!" from the outdoor unit at the beginning and end of each cycle.

    During the defrost cycle, your thermostat will probably show its "auxiliary heat" indicator. Aside from defrost activity, you shouldn't see much of that indicator unless it's below maybe 35 outside. Suddenly seeing lots of that indicator without a proportionate cold snap to go along with it would indicate that the heat pump isn't putting out as much heat as it should (thereby requiring more heat from the auxiliary system, which is less efficient/affordable to run than the heat pump is).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    51
    Been watching the fan today and it appears to go on only when the system starts up...it runs for a couple of minutes, then shuts off, even though air is still running through the inside system. Doesn't look like it's defrosting and I would think it shouldn't do it that often anyway. The fan isn't spinning as fast as it used to, also.

    I *am* getting some heat, but it's probably all aux heat right now...I'm supplementing with space heaters, so I'm comfortable. I've called my HVAC company to come out and check it, but they probably can't make it today, but can tomorrow. My concern is, am I causing any sort of damage to the system by not turning it on as aux/emergency heat until they can come out and check it?

    Just went outside again to check after the fan stopped running...it sounds like the defroster is kicking in...it's making that sound that usually comes with defrosting, but there's no frost on the outside, still only the bottom of the compressor. I hope I'm not damaging anything by keeping the system running "normally" vs. on aux heat setting.

    Thanks,
    Lisa G.

    [Edited by lisag on 12-05-2006 at 01:00 PM]

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    40
    I would definitely switch to just emergency heat until the tech comes out to take a look.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    51
    Ok...just switched from the Heat setting to the Supp Heat setting (little light went on) and left the fan setting on auto. Outside system is now off, and it appears the inside air handler is cycling on and off properly. Thanks much for the advice!!!

    Lisa

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Emerald Coast, FL 30.1N 85.8W
    Posts
    681

    This question is so easy, a caveman could answer

    Hell, I can answer this one -- there could be other times, but anytime the heat pump is not in the defrost cycle.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    51
    Well, the guys came out and determined that the fan motor was "over amping" and there was a broken mount. They're ordering the parts to replace both the motor and fan blade...the tech said the unit was shaking a bit too much for his liking when the fan was on, indicating the blade may be damaged/bent.

    So, until they get the parts in and installed, I'm on supplemental (emergency) heat. This seems to be working nicely, though I know my electric bill will be higher because of this. It's actually kind of nice that there's sort of a "backup" heating system in a heat pump.

    Anyway, my follow on questions are...
    1) Can supplemental/emergency heat be left on for an extended period with no damage/stress to the system? It's been on for 2 days now and if the parts don't come in tomorrow, it will need to stay on until Monday.

    2) Also, I was supposed to head to my mom's over the weekend (which won't be overly cold) and I don't know if I should be worried about the system being on supplemental/emergency heat without me being around. Am I being silly (be nice!) or should I stay close to home while the system has to remain on this setting until the outdoor unit is fixed?

    Thanks much for any help/advice!
    Lisa G.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    2,651
    it is okay for you to run the system on emergency heat,not a problem....that is what it is for......go to your mom's and don't sweat it....you might consider dropping the stat down some while you are gone(the system will not cycle as much = saving you alittle money......enjoy your weekend

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    51

    Wink

    Thanks TTT! Good to know it's not an issue. As far as having a good weekend, well, it's a 2 1/2 hour drive to get there and then I have to put her Christmas tree up and string it with lights...ugh...I'll still try though!

    Thanks again!
    Lisa G

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    right, here! in the heartland of the homeland!
    Posts
    737

    When in Doubt

    take the yellow pages right out, dont waste time, ur only damaging the system, letting it run like that,
    its like running a car making noises, etc;
    hoping it will last?

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