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  1. #1

    Confused Compressor heating element

    I recently had a breaker to my outside unit trip (a Trane XL1400 heat pump, just turned 10 yrs old) and figured it was a blown compressor. The service guy came out and luckily it was just a shorted heating element that sits at the bottom of the can. He explained this is always "on", which explains why the breaker would trip when it wasn't even calling for AC. He said it wasn't really necessary and just removed the connections to the heating element and all is working fine again.

    I assume the element is in place to keep the oil in the compressor fluid when it's cold outside. Or some other purpose? My question is... should I have this element replaced anyway? What's the downside to "not" having it? Could I have harder starts or lessen the life of the compressor without this? I'm in the mid-atlantic area... not real harsh winters but do get down to single digits in the winter.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,411
    Replace it or replace the compressor this winter.

    It will work just fine as an AC unit, but this winter, nasty stuff will happen inside that machine when it gets cold. When it starts, you will hear a loud rattle and have a collection of nice shattered compressor parts to show your friends.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    92
    replace it

  4. #4
    Thanks guys... that's what I was thinking after he left. Didn't make sense to me that he said he'd replace it if it were just an AC unit, but wouldn't bother since it was a Heat Pump and would be running year round anyway.

    I figure if they engineered it to have one, it must serve a purpose! I'll get it replaced....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Souderton, PA
    Posts
    14
    It isn't necessary on just an AC unit, but absolutely critical on a heat pump IMO. Listen to richvacr.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    138
    Quote Originally Posted by richvacr View Post
    replace it
    +1

    The heater keeps the liquid refrigerant from migrating to the compressor in the winter. If the compressor starts and has liquid refrigerant in it, it will kill the compressor. NOT GOOD!

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