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Drawknife 01-28-2008 09:25 AM

Heat Pump Troubleshooting (Advice/Help)

I need some heat pump/hvac help - advice. Let me preface this by saying I know very little about HVAC stuff, esp heat pumps/ac.

Trane WeatherTron xe800 air-source heat pump. 9-SEER ?-HSPF

A few times this month the outdoor unit fan has stopped rotating and there is just a humming sound. The "porcupine" coils inside the unit would get warm, but the compressor isn't running (or doesn't seem like it is).

I took it apart cleaned the debri out and it "magically" start working again. Well, it happened again yesterday. We noticed the inside of the house getting cool and sure enough the outside condensor fan had quit. I flipped the breaker off - checked some things - the coils were hot, plus steam was coming off the unit.

I flipped the breaker back on and just started humming again, so I gave the fan a manual turn and it started working. The compressor kicked on, the fan spun up to speed and the big line going in to the house warmed up. It worked the remainder of the day and was still going when I left for work this morning.

Any idea what might be going on? - The fan going bad, bad connections, I guess I was really surprise that the condesor fan somehow also controls the compressor?

The unit is 21 y/o, so I know its on its last legs, but I'd like to try and get by the rest of the winter, thats another expense I DON'T need.

What is a rough price for new replacement?

I think the EPA (yea for our govt) says swap-outs have to be 12SEER, so I guess I may have to swap the indoor evap coil also?

If I have to replace more that just the outdoor unit, what other companies are good (York, Carrier, Rheem, Goodman).

It's my understanding that it isn't good idea to mix different types of indoor & outdoor units - York outdoor & GE/Trane indoor (I assume they mean the evap coil is the indoor unit)

Any help would be appreciated!!

redline 01-28-2008 12:36 PM

The motor for the fan may be nearing its life.

bigMikeB 01-29-2008 04:25 PM

Time to think about replacement. Trane has dropped their wholesale prices alot in the last year or so, you should be bale to get a good deal on a new system from them, through a stocking dealer.

undone 01-29-2008 10:15 PM

Like bigMike said, consider upgrade. But in the mean time, replaced the fan capacitor.

hoistdoctor 01-30-2008 06:29 PM

If you are catching the heat pump in defrost mode (outdoor coils are hot) the fan shouldn't be running, only the compressor. But if the fan is hard to start when it's supposed to run, either the bearings are dry or the capacitor is going south. Many times the capacitor will bulge on the top and, in time, disconnect itself inside to keep from exploding.

TobyU 02-01-2008 02:41 AM

See if the fan spins freely by hand. See if it has oil plugs at each end near the bearing shaft. If no plugs, you can oil the shaft a bit and try to get the oil to run into the bearing. Just a few drops.
Replace the fan capacitor. They are cheap.
Get the numbers off the old one and get in the phone book. Yo should find one local for less than 10.00.
Disconnect power to unit before doing this and never touch the terminals of a capacitor until you discharge it by shorting out the terminals with something metal, like a screwdriver, that you are insulated from.
Capacitors store current. They will shock you if you are what shorts them out.

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