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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Central Ohio
    Posts
    2

    Heat Pump Sys: inlet/outlet temp differential

    Newbie here to Hvac-Talk, and have a general question as to whether or not something is normal.

    I've got a 1100sq ft apartment in central Ohio with a Trane 2 stage heat, 1 stage cool system. Outdoor unit is a Trane XE800 and appears to be an older unit, probably a 1-ton.

    I haven't been able to find a model number on the air handler yet. Overall dimensions of the air handler are 20.5x14x43.5 and mfg date is 8/87. Heat strips are Trane BAY96X1406. Blower Motor was recently replaced with a AO Smith F48H15A01 (not sure if that's at all helpful).

    Today with the thermostat set at 70*, the indoor air temp was 65*, inlet air at the air handler was 65*, and the outlet air temp (at the closest vent, about 4ft of ducting away) was 70*. Keep in mind, 50* ambient temp outside today. With the strips on, the outlet temp was around 90*

    I had the apartment complex come look at the system because it ran for four hours straight like this with no temperature increase indoors. I finally boosted the thermostat so that the heat strips would come on. So my question is, is a 5* difference normal in this climate and conditions for an older system?

    I think there may be more going on as there is little to no air coming out of the vents, the air filter is new, and it hasn't run continuously like this before, even when it was colder.

    When maintenance came to check the system all he did was turn up the thermostat high enough for the strips to engage, stick his hand by the closest vent and say, "It's fine," and give me the heat-pumps put out colder air than a gas furnace speech.

    I am mechanically inclined and took some engineering classes before changing majors, so I know how this stuff works, but I though I'd consult some experts to see if they would consider this a normally operating system.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,805
    Something is wrong.

    Shouldn't need the strips to heat with when its 50 outside.
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    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,128
    Even if you're mechanically inclined - don't try and fix this yourself.
    Insist to your apartment complex manager to have the system repaired properly, by a qualified technician.
    You're paying the utility bill and the system should be functioning at it's maximum efficiency.
    And right now it is not.
    "Hey Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort." And he says, "there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice. - Carl Spackler

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Middle of the Oregon Coast
    Posts
    197
    To the OP - Thank You very much for the laughing attack. However, I may have to charge you a cleaning fee for the Mt Dew spray that shot out of my nose when I read about the maintenance man. Quote: ".....all he did was turn up the thermostat high enough for the strips to engage, stick his hand by the closest vent and say, "It's fine," and give me the heat-pumps put out colder air than a gas furnace speech. "

    Now to some information that you can actually use........ The maintenance guy is, undoubtedly, an idiot and should not be allowedto change a light bulb let alone diagnose a heat pump system. Go talk to the managers and "ask" that they bring in a qualified contractor to troubleshoot and repair the system. If they say the maint man will be there shortly, ask then if you can borrow a phone book to look up the phone number to the EPA so you can turn them in. It's a HUGE no no for an unqualified person to deal with referigerant and could cost them a big big fine. Another phone number you want to look up is the main property management head office and/or your local housing authority. Enough said?
    The Lord must love stupid people or he wouldn't have made so many.

    Why is it that when I am in a hurry, everyone else on the road goes 15 MPH under the speed limit?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Central Ohio
    Posts
    2
    I know right? I just smiled and said ok! I tried to ask him if 5* temperature differential between the inlet and outlet was normal in the other units in this warm weather and he goes "Woah, you lost me there. What?" LMAO!!!

    When I said mechanically inclined, I didn't mean try to fix it myself, that's what I pay them for. I just meant I know what's going on inside there and in general, even an older system should be able to function better than this. I just wanted to confirm what I was thinking with some people who know a lot more than I do.

    Anyway, what kind of things can I ask them to check besides the almighty hand test when the strips are on? I will pursue getting an actual HVAC technician out here, but I think I need some "ammunition" first, if you know what I mean.
    Last edited by rambo76098; 11-04-2009 at 12:20 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,805
    He should have checked charge, and for proper refrigerant readings.
    Your system may be low on refrigerant. Or have other problems with how the refrigerant is moving in the system.
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    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

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