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Old 01-05-2010, 03:53 PM   #1
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Heatpump can't keep up


I built a new home last year in North GA. My dad and I did all the electrical and HVAC work. He is a competent electrician and also has heating and air experience. We put in an all ecectrical heat pump(split unit).

This is my second winter in the house and I find that I am having to run several electrical heaters (and one kerosene heater just to keep it from gettin really cold in the home. Here's an example, on Sunday when we got back from church, the temp in the house was 61 degrees and falling. Auxheat was running and it still didn't help out. The outside temp was between 25 and 30 degrees. The air blowing out from my vents seemed cold. I've got to get a thermometer to check actual temp from the vents.

I know that heat pumps are not very efficient in really cold weather, but it seems to me that it should be doing a little better than its been doing. I spent a ton of money on spray foam insulation, so I don't think that the home is simply under-insulated.

Any suggestions or areas to look at?

As a side question, can my HVAC system be easily retrofitted to use propane or NG?



Thanks,
Chris

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Old 01-05-2010, 03:54 PM   #2
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Heatpump can't keep up


By the way, I"m a south Georgia transplant...we all had electric heat pumps down there....though they would be fine in north Ga. I guess I should have researched better...

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Old 01-05-2010, 04:09 PM   #3
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Heatpump can't keep up


They work fine here in PA.

How did it do in the summer cooling wise?
Did it maintain a 20 or more differential when it was 95 or hotter outside?
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Old 01-05-2010, 04:10 PM   #4
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Heatpump can't keep up


Sounds like the electric strip heat is not working or undersized. Heat pumps are usually sized based on the air conditioning load and the heat strips are sized base on the heating load, so they should heat the house if the heat pump is on the fritz. Some will take the heat pump capacity at 17 degrees and size the heat strip for the differance between the heat pump capacity and the house heat loss. If that is the case then the heat pump could also be the problem. They put out more heat at that temperature than it would seem because air below 98.6 degrees, our body heat, seems cold to us.
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Old 01-05-2010, 04:26 PM   #5
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Heatpump can't keep up


Hi Chris,

I can't help with your question but thought I'd share some info.

I live in NC and also use a heat pump. Current outside temperature is 31 degrees. At the air return, the air temp. is 69 degrees. The air temp. at the closest room air vent off the air handler is 85 degrees.

So, all I am getting is a 16 degree temperature differential. That is probably not much of a difference, and yes, the air does feel a bit cool once you back away from the vent.

My problem is a poor duct system. R-4.2 ducts running through the unconditioned crawlspace and attic. I actually have some ducting running through the roof rafters and up against the roof decking.

I'm working to correct these issues and am confident they will help resolve my air temp problems.

Last edited by Earnie; 01-05-2010 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 01-05-2010, 04:47 PM   #6
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Heatpump can't keep up


A properly sized and set up heat pump should be able to maintain the temp in the house even when it's in the teens outside. With the back up elements on the air should not have been cool coming out of the registers. I would guess the thermostat may have been calling for aux heat but the strips were not on. Have your dad double check the wiring and verify that the elements are working. Also have him recheck the cfm and refridgerant charge while he's there.
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:11 PM   #7
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Heatpump can't keep up


Marty,

How do you verify the thermostat is telling the strips to turn on?

I don't ever recall seeing the Heat2 indication on the thermostat, unless I force the strips to turn on by manually raising the set point on the thermostat.

The heat pump runs a lot but very slowey raises the house temp. If I manually raise the set point from say, 68 degrees to 71 degrees, the Heat 2 indicator shows the strips are now On.

Is it that as long as the heat pump/thermostat are seeing a temperature rise, even very, very slowy, the Heat 2 stips will never turn On?
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:15 PM   #8
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Heatpump can't keep up


How the strips are controlled is determined by the thermostat.

Post brand and model of thermostat.
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:19 PM   #9
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Heatpump can't keep up


RightTemp 8082C.

Didn't mean to hijack the post.

Last edited by Earnie; 01-05-2010 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:33 PM   #10
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Heatpump can't keep up


Not familar with that model.
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:44 PM   #11
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Heatpump can't keep up


By the manual, all the jumpers and switches are in the correct position. Maybe its time to change that item also!
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Old 01-05-2010, 06:25 PM   #12
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Heatpump can't keep up


Don't know about that brand ernie. Some will run the heat pump for a set time then kick the back up on. Others will run the HP if the temp falls 1 degree below the setting and bring on the backup if there's a 2 degree difference. The no timer is the best choice for energy savings.

To answer your question- to test the elements you put an amp meter around one of the wires feeding each element.
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Old 01-05-2010, 06:32 PM   #13
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Heatpump can't keep up


I know the strips do turn On when I force them buy changing the thermostat. I can feel the increase in air temperature and the variable speed air handler increase its speed.

I was just curious why the strips won't turn On automatically. I guess this issue may require a service tech.

Thanks Marty.
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Old 01-05-2010, 06:48 PM   #14
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Heatpump can't keep up


Maybe yours needs 3 degrees to turn on the elements (68-71). If that's the case and the HP keeps up to within 2 degrees of the setting then the elements wont come on unless the HP goes in defrost.
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Old 01-05-2010, 09:19 PM   #15
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Heatpump can't keep up


Quote:
Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
How the strips are controlled is determined by the thermostat.

Post brand and model of thermostat.
The thermostat is a Venstar T1900 Platinum series.

By the way, the unit is a Grandiare system.

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