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  1. #1

    Heat pump breaker tripping

    I have a Heil 2.5 ton heat pump and the breaker for the outside unit keeps tripping. (air handler not tripping out) The unit was installed in November 2001. Currently, the breaker for the heat pump kicks out shortly after reseting the breaker. I notice that the fan on the heat pump does start turning, but then stops once the breaker trips.

    I will mention that we have had freezing rain/ice a few days ago, but the unit doesn't appear to have a large buildup of ice. Also, it just started tripping out last night, so it has been operating since the storm a few days ago.

    I will mention that since I have lived in the house for 3 years now, I have had problems with the breaker tripping sporatically. (maybe 4-5 times a year), but never just keep tripping out once I reset it.

    Does that mean my compressor is shot/locked up? I know that will be big $$, and just wanted to get some opinions before the local hvac repair guy comes and feeds me a line about needing a new heat pump when I may not be true. Could low refrigerant cause this? I did have some freon added this summer because it was low.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,764
    doubt that its a freon issue. could be a quick easy fix or it could be bad news, to foggy out to see from here........


    leave breaker OFF and run on emergency heat until it can be checked, you could do more damage.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    in my lumpy chair
    Posts
    1,952
    save yourself the headaches of DIY call a pro
    I dont warranty Tinkeritus

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    443
    Explain it to your tech just like you did here. (except for that last sentence) Could be an easy fix or could not be. You have an ongoing problem that SHOULD have been addressed a couple of years ago. There is alway's a reason when a breaker trip's. One reset I can see, but more than that & you know you have a problem so why abuse your equipment?

    Should you end up with a compressor problem you should know that it most likely could have been avoided by simply calling a service tech & explaining that the breaker had tripped for the second time in a year. Alway's explain everything that is happening with your system to your tech & if he isn't listening get another one. What's happening today isn't good enough, we need to know the history & that will save you & us a lot of headaches & $$$.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    18951
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    1,593
    If the unit makes a loud hum and trips the breaker, the compressor may be bad.

    If the guy who added freon last summer didn't find and repair a leak, then don't call that guy back.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,635
    As has been stated, you're really at the mercy of the technician. It can be very simple or horrendously expensive. It's pretty easy to make the former look like the latter, especially when it comes to bad capacitors (cheap) that are made to look like bad compressors.

    The only thing I can add is: Did you call just anyone? I personally would rather learn to live by a camp fire the rest of my days than trust the hype of a yellow pages ad. You need someone both honest and competent. You'll never know that about them except maybe through referrals and secondly through personal experience. Otherwise, if the news is real bad then a second opinion may be in order just to make sure.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Cincinnati,Ohio
    Posts
    21
    A good tech could isolate the problem quickly. I wouldn't keep reseting it,I would call for Service

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,769
    Quote Originally Posted by Mrfixit39 View Post
    check , this will isolate ur problem
    Why do you keep on giving DIY advise to home owners.
    When its against the rules.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,769
    Quote Originally Posted by bobb25 View Post

    If the guy who added freon last summer didn't find and repair a leak, then don't call that guy back.
    Maybe the OP didn't want to spend the money on a leak check.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    18951
    Posts
    1,593
    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    Maybe the OP didn't want to spend the money on a leak check.
    Do you give people that option? I pretty much just tell them I have to find and repair the leak. If I've never been there before, and it's just slightly under, then I usually just take a quick check at the outside unit unless it's a York or Goodman. (Not trying to badmouth either, just going by experience.)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Suppy NC
    Posts
    4,516
    the homeowner has the option of a leak check or not. Our option is to charge it up or not. We can not force them to find a leak.

  12. #12
    Thanks for all the advice. And no, to answer your questions, I wasn't trying to DIY. All I wanted is some guidance on some of the possibilities of my problem to compare with what the service tech may offer. I don't have the tools or equipment to check what was mentioned. It was good background info.

    Last fall I "interviewed" 5 different HVAC contractors in providing a quote to replace my upstairs heat pump. (different system) I decided to wait until this spring to replace my other unit, but did use the company that I will likely use for my replacement to do the repair yesterday. I did find him to be very knowledgeable and helpful. (22 years experience with the same company) He quickly identified the problem as a bad capacitor and had it back up and running quickly. He also checked my charge and said it appeared OK, or maybe slightly overcharged. He recommended checking it again in the summer when it is easier to correcly identify if it is has the proper charge.

    Thanks for your help, and I was glad it wasn't a bad compressor. (at least not yet)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    18951
    Posts
    1,593
    Quote Originally Posted by tinknocker service tech View Post
    the homeowner has the option of a leak check or not. Our option is to charge it up or not. We can not force them to find a leak.
    Maybe I'm mistaken, because it's been a long time, but in EPA certification class, I thought the instructor said that if you suspect a leak, you give the option to the customer, or have them sign something saying they know they have a leak. Is that incorrect?

    I get a lot of calls from people wanting me to come out and add freon, and they tell me techs have been adding freon to their system once a year for years.

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