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  1. #1

    Confused breaker/wire size for heat pump

    I just had a 2-ton Rheem heat pump and air handler installed, to replace a Carrier 2-ton that was not working. The installer, a Rheem authorized installation company, moved the location of the hp and the disconnect box. A retired electrician friend of mine was looking at it all after installation and said that the info. printed on the hp called for 25 amp minimum, but that my heat pump was connected to a 20 amp breaker (using the existing 12-gauge wire). He thinks this is wrong, but when I asked the installer about it, he said he had connected "many" of these heat pumps to 20-amp breakers and that "they do just fine."

    My electrician friend thinks the hp should have a 10-gauge wire/30-amp breaker. My lights are dimming momentarily when the heat pump comes on. I would appreciate any advice on this. (I'd like to talk to Rheem directly, but apparently you can only talk to the people in your area who install their equipment...). Thanks for any advice you can give me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Chillicothe, Ohio
    Posts
    19
    The manufacturers put those tags on for a reason... Minimum means minimum.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    551
    as long as the breaker doesn't trip, there isn't really any safety issue. Odds are, it is going to be really close to tripping during harsh start-ups and the breaker tripping could damage the compressor in some way.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    New Orleans
    Posts
    1,012
    I would defenetly upgrade to the 10 gauge wire and 30 amp breaker.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Albuquerque NM
    Posts
    2,485
    Quote Originally Posted by LJZ View Post
    I just had a 2-ton Rheem heat pump and air handler installed, to replace a Carrier 2-ton that was not working. The installer, a Rheem authorized installation company, moved the location of the hp and the disconnect box. A retired electrician friend of mine was looking at it all after installation and said that the info. printed on the hp called for 25 amp minimum, but that my heat pump was connected to a 20 amp breaker (using the existing 12-gauge wire). He thinks this is wrong, but when I asked the installer about it, he said he had connected "many" of these heat pumps to 20-amp breakers and that "they do just fine."

    My electrician friend thinks the hp should have a 10-gauge wire/30-amp breaker. My lights are dimming momentarily when the heat pump comes on. I would appreciate any advice on this. (I'd like to talk to Rheem directly, but apparently you can only talk to the people in your area who install their equipment...). Thanks for any advice you can give me.
    It doesn't matter what your friend "thinks". The manufacturer specs a min and max overcurrent protection for each unit, and that's what needs to go in.
    If you post your model number here maybe someone can look it up for you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Ocean Pines, MD
    Posts
    7,033
    Quote Originally Posted by keeplearnin View Post
    I would defenetly upgrade to the 10 gauge wire and 30 amp breaker.

    Ditto. Or 10ga. and 25A.

  7. #7

    Confused breaker/wire size for heat pump (2)

    I am astonished to get so many quick replies to my question--thank you, all. Here is the heat pump model number:Rheem RPQL024JEZ. The air handler is RHKLHM2417JA.

    The consensus among you all who so kindly took the time to reply seems to be that a 30 amp/10-gauge wire is needed. This is what I would like to see happen. The contract I signed said nothing about electrical work to be done; it said that the heat pump was to be moved to a new location and that the installation would include "one electrical line set at new location of heat pump." Isn't installing the hp according to what the equipment specifications call for part of the job?

    Only a mechanical permit was drawn. I am having the county inspection tomorrow. Will the inspector address this (electrical) issue?

    I hope I am making sense, as I frankly barely understand all this. Once again, thank you very much.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Albuquerque NM
    Posts
    2,485
    Quote Originally Posted by LJZ View Post
    I am astonished to get so many quick replies to my question--thank you, all. Here is the heat pump model number:Rheem RPQL024JEZ. The air handler is RHKLHM2417JA.

    The consensus among you all who so kindly took the time to reply seems to be that a 30 amp/10-gauge wire is needed. This is what I would like to see happen. The contract I signed said nothing about electrical work to be done; it said that the heat pump was to be moved to a new location and that the installation would include "one electrical line set at new location of heat pump." Isn't installing the hp according to what the equipment specifications call for part of the job?

    Only a mechanical permit was drawn. I am having the county inspection tomorrow. Will the inspector address this (electrical) issue?

    I hope I am making sense, as I frankly barely understand all this. Once again, thank you very much.
    I don't think it's reasonable to expect the contractor to upgrade your electrical service if that's not in the contract. On the other hand, they should have looked at your electrical service and told you if you needed something done there. It's not reasonable for them to expect you to do understand that.

    Every contractor I had at my house wanted to check the electrical service to see if it needed anything.

    The manufacturer specs I have list a min 25A and max 30A breaker for the RPQL024JEZ. If your email is in your profile I can email it to you. The circuit needs to be able to supply min 18A.
    Last edited by garya505; 01-04-2011 at 01:42 PM. Reason: added specs

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Lexington, NC
    Posts
    5,193
    It will not pass the mechanical inspection. If it does your county has crap for inspectors or they are being paid off. The manufacturers specs and installation info over ride code. If it says 25 min then it will be 25 minimum or it will not pass the inspection. Electrical or Mechanical. I actually could see the electrical inspection passing before the mechanical, because the wiring is being properly protected by the breaker.
    The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing!

    If "the grass is greener on the other side", it likely has been fertilized with Bull$hit!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    2,989
    Quote Originally Posted by garya505 View Post
    I don't think it's reasonable to expect the contractor to upgrade your electrical service if that's not in the contract. On the other hand, they should have looked at your electrical service and told you if you needed something done there. It's not reasonable for them to expect you to do understand that.

    Every contractor I had at my house wanted to check the electrical service to see if it needed anything.

    The manufacturer specs I have list a min 25A and max 30A breaker for the RPQL024JEZ. If your email is in your profile I can email it to you. The circuit needs to be able to supply 18A.
    I do not know what your licensing requirements are in your state, Where I am at it requires a permit and licensed electrician to move the disconnect box.

    Turn them in!!!!! I absolutely HATE losing jobs when I price a job with all the local codes and requirements taken into account and the homeowner goes with the low bidder!!!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    551
    if they ran a new circuit to the new disconnect and heat pump location, in no way can they justify installing #12 awg wire if they were the providers of the heat pump. It is flat out against the code.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    551
    Quote Originally Posted by nchvac View Post
    It will not pass the mechanical inspection. If it does your county has crap for inspectors or they are being paid off. The manufacturers specs and installation info over ride code. If it says 25 min then it will be 25 minimum or it will not pass the inspection. Electrical or Mechanical. I actually could see the electrical inspection passing before the mechanical, because the wiring is being properly protected by the breaker.
    It won't pass electrical code because the OCPD wasn't sized properly.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Chicago, IL.
    Posts
    135
    Quote Originally Posted by garya505 View Post
    It doesn't matter what your friend "thinks". The manufacturer specs a min and max overcurrent protection for each unit, and that's what needs to go in.
    If you post your model number here maybe someone can look it up for you.
    ???

    His friend is correct.
    Learn to live, so that you may live to learn.

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