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Old 01-10-2010, 10:42 AM   #1
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Heat Pump Auxiliary


Greetings! First post on this forum, thanks for having me.

When it comes to HVAC, I am definitely a novice. Can someone please explain what the "auxiliary" function of a heat pump is and when it should engage? It seems like mine runs pretty frequently. (most likely related to the below freezing temps here lately?) Also, is the cold air coming from the vents related to the auxiliary function?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 01-10-2010, 11:16 AM   #2
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Heat Pump Auxiliary


Aux is the backup heat source. When it runs depends on what type of thermostat the installer put in and if they used an outdoor stat to lock out the hp at a certain temp. Some have a timer in them and will kick on the aux after a short period (15-17 minutes). Others run the hp untill the temp falls 2-3 degrees below the set point then they turn on the aux, these offer the best energy savings.

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Old 01-11-2010, 08:08 AM   #3
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Heat Pump Auxiliary


Thanks for the reply! I will do some research on my HP and thermostat to figure out what kind of set up I'm running in regards to the auxiliary heat.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:51 AM   #4
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Heat Pump Auxiliary


The cold air is probably due to the fact that a heat pump's capacity drops as the outside temp drops. The air might be 85 to over 100 degrees depending on the outdoor air. But when the air temp drop's below 98.6 degrees it is below our body temperature and feels cold. Register location is more important with heat pumps because of this. Also if the heat strips are smaller than the heat pump capacity, then the heat pump will actually cool the air when in defrost. This is possible in warm climates where the heat strips are sized based on heat loss at moderate outside design temps. IMO better to check that the strips at least have the same capacity as the heat pump at 47 degrees outside temp.
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:34 AM   #5
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Heat Pump Auxiliary


Where would I find the heat strips?
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:42 AM   #6
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Heat Pump Auxiliary


The heat strips can be in the air handler, but usually they are installed in the duct downstream of the heat pump coil.
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Old 01-11-2010, 03:34 PM   #7
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Heat Pump Auxiliary


Most residential air handlers will have the strip heaters installed just above the blower.
On some Rheem/Ruud air handlers. they are inside the blower housing.
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Old 01-11-2010, 03:47 PM   #8
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Heat Pump Auxiliary


Most units I have seen have the blower, then the coil, then the heat strip is mounted downstream of that, usually bolted to the air handler or fan coil unit. The blower is the fan inside of the air handler. But I know some call the entire unit a blower.
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Old 01-11-2010, 03:57 PM   #9
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Heat Pump Auxiliary


What brand and model are these units.
I think First company may have them like you described.

York, Rheem, Trane, Carrier, Lennox, Goodman. All have the set up I described on their residential units.

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