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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    7
    I have 2 Trane XR12 Heat Pumps (a 3 Ton and a 2 Ton) each controlled by Honeywell RTH8500D 'Vision' digital programmable thermostats. I have the thermostats Locked In 24x7 at 69 degrees downstairs and 70 degrees upstairs. (I have no programed features active at the moment until I get this all sorted out and know HPs don't like to keep moving temps up and down)

    We just moved in December and got a high elec. bill after 22 days. I decided to watch the meter and noticed that we were using a lot of electricity and noticed that the "AUX HEAT" was running a lot more than I thought it should.

    I came home yesterday around 2pm. The outside temp was 60 degrees. I have my thermostats set at 69. When I went upstairs, the first floor unit was not running. Both ambient and setpoint temps were at 69. When I came down, ambient temp was 69, setpoint temp was 69, and the "AUX HEAT ON" indicator was on and the unit was running (of course).

    I know that the AUX HEAT should not be kicking on and I'm sure it was not defrosting. I called the HVAC installers and had them take a look at it. They, of course, blamed the thermostats (since I requested to have them put in - they had the old ugly manual ones originally) and then the builder. "Digital thermostats never work right!", and the builder didn't put enough insulation on the kneewall under the house. He categorically told me that *both* digital thermostats were defective and I should replace them with good 'ol manual ones.

    Now, what he said may be true, but it's also just what I'd expect him to say - just like I'd expect the builder to blame Honeywell and the HVAC installer and I'd expect Honeywell to blame the HVAC installer and builder. It's a vicious cycle of CYA.

    How can I tell what's the problem? I see a lot of pros on this board who seem to like the digital stats. Our old house had Honeywell digital (non-programmable) stats, and we never had a problem staying comfortable or having a high bill.

    Any ideas how I sort out what's really wrong?

    Thanks,

    Duane

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    7,680
    The thermostat itlef is not the probelm, the configuration and wiring are probably suspect but no one here will know for sure without looking at it, there are umpteen million ways it could be screwed up.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    North Richland Hills, Texas
    Posts
    14,914
    If the installer is so in the stone age that he puts manual thermostats on by default, and recommends them over digitals, I highly suspect that he didn't get the thermostats configured properly. They could also be wired incorrectly.

    Do your outdoor units run in the heating mode? If not, he may have just slapped them on the wall and left the default setup options in place. The thermostat has to be configured for the type of system it is running, I think there are something like 11 system type options...
    If more government is the answer, then it's a really stupid question.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL.
    Posts
    4,313
    Whoever that stone-age A/C contractor is didn't configure the too-technical-for-him t-stats right.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    cocoa fl
    Posts
    143

    Red face

    wow..can't wire a t-stat,let me guess lowest bid ????

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    265
    I would have to agree with the doctor and beiser.
    Check to make sure the outside unit is running when the thermostat is set one degree above inside ambient temperature in heat mode. At this setting only the heatpump should be running and no aux heat.
    If the outside unit does not come on but the aux heat does and/or the heatpump comes on along with the aux heat then I would say it is a wiring or set up problem with the thermostat due to improper installation by the installer, especially if both systems have the same trouble.
    Call out another contractor that is not afraid to read the instructions that came with the stats.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    7
    You're all echoing my sentiments to a tee! The service dude had a thing against Digital stats from the very beginning. The very first words out of his mouth when he saw them were negative. I expect them to blame anything but their install, but he was relentless. Anything that happened out of the ordinary all afternoon pointed to the "finicky", "erratic" behavior of Digital Stats.

    The contractor is who the builder chose as installer. We came along a little too late and the house was already standing. My wife loved it and the location, so you know the rest of the story.

    While he was here, I had him pull the stat so we could check the wiring. According to the 'colors' and the install manual, the wiring is correct. These guys have been in business a long time, so I would ASSume the wiring at the HP is correct - at this point, anyway.

    I've also dug around a little and found some programming info for the Honeywell Vision Touchscreen (RTH8500D) and it doesn't seem there's much to configure. It appears in the "Installer Setup", you can select date/time, type of system, changeover mode, Temp display (C/F), Daylight Savings, Filter change reminder, Adaptive Intelligent Recovery, and 12/24 hour time format. That seems to be an all-inclusive list for this model. I've checked the settings and they seem to be ok as far as I can tell.

    ----New Info----
    This bit of may make a difference, but I don't know how significant it is given the problem at hand. In talking with the service dude after his checkup, he mentioned that the heatpumps were "slightly" overcharged. I asked him if that would make a difference and he said that it would cut down on the efficiency, but shouldn't produce the AUX HEAT problems I've been having. Anyone have a different take on that?
    ----------------

    Now, to answer Chilledcool, the thermostat does kick heat on when set to one degree above ambient. Here's a breakdown of how it seems to work as I observed specifically today.

    Setpoint = 0 (same as ambient) - unit sometimes kicks on - I'm assuming that may be the result of fractions of degrees? Perhaps it shouldn't kick on at all - that threw the service dude for a loop and added fuel to his "Get rid of Digital stats" fire.

    Setpoint = +1 - after a few seconds, heat kicks on

    Setpoint = +2 - Heat kicks on or stays on

    Setpoint = +3 - AUX HEAT kicks on


    If we go back to yesterday, however, I had the AUX HEAT indicator on when BOTH ambient and setpoints were at 69 - and it was 60 degrees outside. What might cause that if we ASSume the stat is wired and configured correctly?

    As far as I know from the service dude, the Tranes are running as they should. He supposedly checked everything at the outside unit and it was ok. He recovered "some" freon from each of the units to bring them down to the recommended levels according to the paperwork inside the unit panel.

    If Heat Pumps and stats are A-OK, what's next?

    Thanks again!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    7
    For what it's worth, here are the exact words the service guy used on the work order to describe his findings.


    "Evaluated system. Checked refrigerant level, a little overcharged. Recovered some freon. T/Stat does not work same all time. Heat strips comes [SIC] on at times when both ambient and set point are same. Recommend close vents in crawl space, all are open. Knee wall is not insulated. Temp is cold under house. Recommend replace those t/stats w/ Trane manual ones."


    NOTE: Today, here in NC, it was almost 70 degrees. The vents are automatic, which is why they were open on a warm day. It was cold under the house in comparison to the sunny 70 degree day outside. He is correct in that a knee wall is not insulated. Our house is hardiplank and stone, so there is a block footer and about a 3 foot kneewall on top of that before you get to the sill plate on 2 sides of the house. The floor is insulated, however, and it looks to be about 6-8 inches of insulation - I couldn't tell for sure and couldn't find an R value anywhere.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    7,680
    I havent used them much but from reading here, those a great thermostat. Sometehing isnt right here, Im not sure what tho.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    340
    Originally posted by adcgroup
    Any ideas how I sort out what's really wrong?
    I'm surprised that your builder / contractor installed the Vision Pro retail version as opposed to the trade version. Did they buy it at Home Depot?

    Anyway, check and make sure that Adaptive Intelligent Recovery option is set ON (see p.36 of your Owner's Manual - installer option 0530=1). If that isn't the problem, then there are a number of Trane system options that could be configured wrong, and you'll need to get a cooperative, professional contractor to fix it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    7
    Well, they had originally installed manual stats. My wife didn't like the way they looked and I really wanted something that I could program to save elec costs. I asked the builder to have the HVAC contractor to change them out and they didn't want to, so we finally settled on me picking out what stats I wanted and they would do the install. I did my homework and came up with a lot of kudos for the Visions. I called the HVAC contractor and asked if there would be any problem with them. The guy I talked to there said that they could install anything I picked out as long as it was compatible with a heat pump. I asked if they could get them at a better price than I could, and he said I would probably do just as well picking them up at Lowes or Home Depot. So, I went to one of them and picked up a couple retail models and they installed them.

    As far as the A.I.R., that option is set to ON.

    When you say "Trane system options", are you talking about settings in the stat, or at the Trane unit itself?

    My challenge, should I not be able to figure this out, is finding a "_Cooperative_, professional contractor" to look at it

    Thanks

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    340
    Other than Adaptive Recovery and the System type selection (option 0170=7) there aren't any other options on the 'stat to configure. There are some wiring and configuration options on the Trane systems that affect the way the heat strips work, but they are not user configurable.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Dothan, Al
    Posts
    3,453

    adcgroup

    Are you sure these are heat pump thermostats??
    Did not find where you said anything about an emergency heat mode?? Which takes two-stage thermostat for heat.
    Some of the programmable thermostats have an adjustable differential setting. Maybe this one has been programmed for a tight differential between the first stage heat & the second stage heat ?

    Just a thought

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