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  1. #1

    Slightly different HP/breaker question

    Hi all,

    I'm sure you have all seen "heat pump trips breaker" questions on here, but I have a slightly different question on the subject.

    We moved into a new house this past summer. It is in a muni electric area in Upstate NY (cheap), so everything in the house is electric. The house was built in 1989. The furnace/air handler and HP are 13 years old. The furnace is a Rheem RHQA-1620J The HP is (I think) a Trane XE1000 with a model number of TWR042C100B2.

    Anyway, here's the scenario... I'm coming from an old one-pipe steam system, so I don't know much about all electric heat pump systems... please bear with me.

    No problems at all through the whole summer. Temps were quite high, and everything performed well.

    When we got into the heating season (September), I noticed that there was (what I thought to be) a louder than normal buzzing coming from the HP. We inherited a well known local company's "Gold Seal" maintenance plan from the previous owners. I have decided to continue with it. Great deal and service. So I called them about the buzzing. They came out and determined that it was a bad coil on the reversing valve. Replaced in November along with the scheduled cleaning and maintenance.

    In December the inside HP breaker started tripping intermittently. Company came out, found that the outside disconnect was broken down, and replaced. Each time they come, they run full diagnostics, and everything is within spec.

    End of December, again, breaker is tripping. Nothing out of spec. I suggested as a long shot, possible weak breaker inside. Replaced. 40 amp breaker, same as before.

    The breaker started tripping again, and I have found another interesting observance... It only seems to trip when the temperature is above freezing, like 35-40F. We have had some long stretches of 0-15F weather over the past few months, and the HP works flawlessly. No odd sounds, very little resistance heat strip use, etc. As long as the temps are below 30F the HP seems to run just fine, for weeks at a time. Now that it has warmed up to about 35-40F, I have reset the inside breaker three times just today.

    I figured I would throw this out to the masses before I call the company again, and have them just tell me that everything is within spec and that the average life of a HP is 12 years in this area.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks for your time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    3,082
    You need to find a friend with a amp meter (who knows how to use it) and have them check the amp draw at the breaker (if they know how to do it) and at the outdoor unit while running. Diagram on the HP tells you how many amps its supposed to be pulling. Your best bet is to call the service tech out.

    Could be as simple as a wire that needs tightening, or contactor going bad, capacitor going bad, compressor going bad, fan motor going bad.

  3. #3
    Thanks Snapper.

    Everytime the company comes out, they clamp on their amp meter, and all components are within spec, even on startup.

    Has anyone ever encountered a HP unit that trips the breaker when the temperature goes from freezing to above freezing? I feel that it has something to do with the temp crossing over the freezing point on the way up. Temps went back down to 15F or so last night, and no problems with the HP.

    It will be interesting to see if once the temps get up above freezing for a longer period if the same thing happens. And whether it does it in cooling mode this summer. There were no problems last summer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4,614
    I suspect that the circuit breaker is to small also suspect that the heat pump mismatched system that you have, has a summer charge and a winter charge , my theory is that when it is cold outside the pressure is lower on your system so it keeps heating when it warms up the compressor either goes into bypass or gets hot and shuts down and you start heating only on heat strips and the breaker being to small trips. Turn the unit to emergency heat and see how long it runs before it trips .

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    SouthEast NC ICW & Piedmont Foothills
    Posts
    7,635
    somebody needs to pop the top on that choo-choo
    It`s better to be silent and thought the fool; than speak and remove all doubt.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Stongsville Oh
    Posts
    893
    These type problems can be tough to trouble shoot. Because it happens when it is warmer ou like someone also mentioned the compresser load may be up but it is at its peak load during the hottest days of summer. Somrthing may be melting and dripping on components causing a ground or short.
    ckartson
    I didn't write the book I just read it!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    1,091
    RHQA? That's an old air handler.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    158

    breaker tripping

    There are 2 common problems with a tripping breaker. One is the breaker is bad and is heating up internally .
    More often then not when i find a tripping breaker the wire lugs on the breaker are loose , this is really common for electric heat.
    And if the unit runs with no problems at times , i would check these 2 problems first.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Zelienople, Pa
    Posts
    2,965
    Mis-matched equipment.
    How tall are you Private???!!!!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by catmanacman View Post
    I suspect that the circuit breaker is to small also suspect that the heat pump mismatched system that you have, has a summer charge and a winter charge , my theory is that when it is cold outside the pressure is lower on your system so it keeps heating when it warms up the compressor either goes into bypass or gets hot and shuts down and you start heating only on heat strips and the breaker being to small trips. Turn the unit to emergency heat and see how long it runs before it trips .
    Can you explain this a little "dumber" for those of us (me), that aren't fluent in HVAC-speak? Also, the HP and the Furnace are on separate breakers. When the HP breaker trips, the furnace goes on Emergency Heat, (although it doesn't always read that it is using "auxillary heat" on the stat), and all works fine. In other words, the furnace strips aren't tripping the furnace breaker.

    I wonder if the stat has anything to do with it? When I put it on EmHeat, it reads "Heat" and then "Auxillary Heat" as well, right above heat. Sometimes when the breaker trips, the stat still only reads "Heat", and some other times it reads "Heat" and "Aux Heat".

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by ckartson View Post
    These type problems can be tough to trouble shoot. Because it happens when it is warmer ou like someone also mentioned the compresser load may be up but it is at its peak load during the hottest days of summer. Somrthing may be melting and dripping on components causing a ground or short.
    I've thought about the dripping idea. How would you track down something like that? Hmmm

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by rickboggs View Post
    RHQA? That's an old air handler.
    The AH and furnace may be original to the house. 1989

    The HP is newer, and is 1998.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by ask_eddie View Post
    There are 2 common problems with a tripping breaker. One is the breaker is bad and is heating up internally .
    More often then not when i find a tripping breaker the wire lugs on the breaker are loose , this is really common for electric heat.
    And if the unit runs with no problems at times , i would check these 2 problems first.
    The breaker has been replaced, and they have checked the wire connections each time, and they are tight. That was my first thought too.

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