Homeowner Q: why are ONLY heat strips working?
Apologies if you have answered this a 1000 times.
--I live in NC.
--I have two 30 yr old heat pumps.
--I keep at 80 or higher in summer, 62-68 in winter. My summer bills are traditionally lower, even this yr with over 90 days when temps went over 100 degrees.
--For the last mo, it's been cold enough to want heat but not cold enough to freeze my annuals, or for properly-working heat pumps to kick into auxillary upon starting.
--They worked fine on AC right up through Sept. (then didn't need ac or heat for awhile)
--It seems heat strips come one INSTEAD of regular heat, for both units. (I can tell by what's coming out the registers--I've been in house 22 years so I know)
--Heat strips seem to come on EVERY time the heat comes on, even if it's 60 outside and set the temp inside at 62.
--I can hear fans on outside unit running when this happens.
--It does not run continuously, only when temp inside starts to drop.
--The blue lights on t-stat does NOT comes on. However, they do work--they will light up if I set t-stat at 80+
--Fact that it works well on AC seems to indicate it is not a leak issue.
--No problems for 10 years or more
--In 2005, I had a job away from home, came home to find something on circuit breaker under house near air handler had melted. Repair guy No. 1 fixed it.
--He also replaced the downstairs thermostat. NOTE--this might be important--the new t-stat had one less wire than old one. That might have to do with auxillary? Since then, the temp it reads is completely off--it will say it's 60 when every thermometer says 65, etc. So we just adjust heat settings accordingly. Upstairs t-stat was not changed and seems to work more or less normally.
--It then cooled better. Later found it didn't work well on heat (heat strips coming on). Later figured out upstairs unit ran constantly on ac, heat strips on heat.
--Repair guy No 2 said lower unit had leak, put in freon (more than unit holds--I found the tag later). It seemed to work better but as it was spring, couldn't really tell. He said upstairs unit had a problem in attic but refused to go in attic to look.
--Repair guy No 3 found leak on upstairs unit right at outside unit, fixed, added very small amount of freon. Still ran constantly.
--Repair guy No 4--ME and friend--found relay/contactor on upstairs unit was clearly bad, replaced.
--Both units then ran well on ac all summer.
--Now neither are working properly in heat mode
I work for nonprofits, my total income this past year was about $7k and $400 of it has already gone to heat pump repairs (another big chunk to electric bills), so I want to see what I can do myself, or at least use a repair person's time more efficiently.
The repairmen seem to come look for the quickest, most obvious thing, fix that, and leave. I feel it must be partly my own fault for not asking the right questions are demanding a guarantee that it will work properly or they come back and fix without another service call fee. I want to be a better consumer but also fix things myself if I can.
So can you all help me figure this out? Thanks!!!!!
Last edited by MomNextDoor; 12-07-2007 at 01:42 PM.
A few questions first:
1. HOW do you know the heat strips ONLY are coming on? Are you getting a light on your thermostat? (if it has one) If the light isn't coming on, as you say, it shouldn't be calling for strip heaters.
2. Is the vapor line (the large one) coming out of the outdoor unit and going into the indoor unit hot to the touch when the outdoor units are running? Be careful, they can get hot enough to give a mild burn if you keep your finger on it. Obviously, make sure you're touching the copper tube, not the insulation.
3. Did anyone recently replace a thermostat(s) or other electrical hardware for this thing?
If the answer to #2 is yes, it's working properly. If the answer to #2 is no, something's wrong, probably in the controls, possibly a bad reversing valve if indeed the charge is right and the compressor is running.
If the answer to #3 is yes, something's miswired.
In the end, you'll probably need to call a pro.
Originally Posted by MomNextDoor
Sounds like whoever touches those old units is going to be married to them.
30 years for heat pumps? You've gotten 2X the life of most out of them.
Get a real job that pays money and replace them unless you like trying to plug holes in a sinking ship.
How tall are you Private???!!!!
Originally Posted by MomNextDoor
Sure. If you're making 7k a yr you damn sure can't afford internet service, let alone repairs on a 30 yr old heatpump. You might as well burn your money for heat. Since we can't give DIY advice, we can't guide you to anything except the yellow pages. There you should find a contractor to fix your heatpump(should be replaced unless it's a one in a billion one). BTW, contractors can't adjust their prices according to your income, as that's what you choose to work for. Best wishes.
If everything was always done "by the book"....the book would never change.
for the record
Yeah, I hear yah. Nonprofits run many of the programs offered to war vets, as well as (other) drug users and homeless people (including many vets), victims of domestic violence and post traumatic stress, environmental organizations, national park related groups, churches and schools and pet adoption agencies. I've done all that and more (to include helping to throw crooked politicians in jail and getting better laws to protect us from them). When are you all going to start paying the true value of THOSE services??? YOU make me sick.
After three heat pump guys couldn't figure out how to fix my units, I fixed it myself. And I intend to do the same now. (When it's just me here, I don't use the heat at all. But there are others here and I provide it for them. ) I also fixed my washer, dryer, dishwasher, electrical appliances and lights and have kept a car running at 197k--while running entire state organizations and raising kids alone. In other words, a repairman's job plus two more.
And I do darn well on my income--except when I get ripped off my repairmen. My internet service is $10/mo--why does anyone need more than that? I've never had cable tv (PAY for something that rots the brain???), a fuel-guzzling car, a cell phone, or all the other materialistic nonsense people think they need. What do I have to show for it? two college graduates and one still in school--all with high IQ's, dean's list and contributing to their communities (rather than ripping them off). Oh yeah, I also protected them from a man who tried to kill me and was , hell-bent on hurting them (did you know we could get rid of 90% of the violence in the world if we got rid of just one gene--yeah you guessed it.)
We live simply but well--but some of you seem to think that I should work harder so you could rip me off??? Well, I've already reported at least one of you to the attorney general's office, and another will be reported to IRS for being paid under the table.
And I think I'll just go to community college to learn this crap. After all, it isn't even close to as difficult as some of the work I've done (to include nuclear power work).
Originally Posted by MomNextDoor
You have proven your point...be it wrong or not. So with that we all wish you a wonderful New Year and thank you. Goodnight.