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Old 06-08-2020, 04:52 PM   #1
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Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


Hello all.

I'm new to this forum and DIY in general. My wife and I live in Washington State in a rural area. Two years ago we had a brand new Trane 18i XL heat pump and Trane furnace (propane) installed.

About three weeks ago, the heat pump stopped turning on. I started the diagnosis process at the thermostat. I cranked the temp down to 65 degrees to force the air to turn on. Nothing. I went to the control unit in the Furnace and it had a perfect 26 volts going to the solenoid at the heat pump. I then opened up the panel on the heat pump to find a squirrel nest. The squirrels had chewed through about 5-6 of the low voltage wires. Problem found.

I called a repair person to come fix it (same company that installed everything 2 years before). He came out and after about an hour said we need to replace multiple control boards inside the unit because the exposed low voltage wires might have fried something. These needed to be ordered. I had to keep calling to get the updated status as to where these parts were. He estimated they would be here in a week. Finally after two weeks the parts came in and we scheduled a follow up appointment. Today he came back out (same guy) ready to fix everything. In the two weeks since he left, the squirrel has also chewed through the wires to pressure switches and the fan motor (our unit is two stage). We are now told that the entire motor needs to be replaced because wire nuts cause to much resistance in such a sensitive variable speed motor. I mentioned it wasn't variable, it was two stage. He said that's the same thing. Thus, another factory order and who knows how long. In the mean time, the temps outside are starting to go up and our house has a southern exposure.

What should I do? Anyone have any suggestions? Can't these things just be wired temporarily to allow the heat pump to function? Any help is much appreciated. Does this seem reasonable? There is a round hole in the wall of the control board compartment with no wires going through it. Why would this exist? It's the perfect way for critters to enter and do some damage.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

Kind regards,
-NewGTGuy

Last edited by NewGTGuy; 06-08-2020 at 04:58 PM. Reason: Spelling and add more detail.
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Old 06-08-2020, 05:07 PM   #2
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


You're being fed bs.

Outdoor unit parts only need to be changed if they're bad.

Re-joining wires going to a motor is no big deal at all and the resistance is only a problem if the connections aren't done right.

They should deal with the wiring and see if the machine runs, if anything got cooked.

(often higher end 2-stage units use variable speed condenser fan motor for better efficiency when on low)
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Old 06-08-2020, 05:14 PM   #3
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


Hi GT Guy, I can't help on the repair, but I do recognize the run-around. Take many pictures, some for the forum to see but most to be able to support your concerns.

Is this guy a repair employee or the owner? If just an employee then you have the option of talking to the boss. If he is the owner then you need to keep good notes.

As for the hole, who created it? Critters getting inside is something they should have prevented.

As for repairs, I have repaired a LOT of wiring and the excuse that the motor is too sensitive for wirenuts is BS He has you between the rock and a squirrel and he seems to be milking you for everything he can.

Pay with a credit card as those charges can be disputed, but call the owner and talk.

And take notes.

The ac pros will be along.

Bud

oops already here
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Old 06-08-2020, 06:07 PM   #4
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


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Originally Posted by user_12345a View Post
You're being fed bs.

Outdoor unit parts only need to be changed if they're bad.

Re-joining wires going to a motor is no big deal at all and the resistance is only a problem if the connections aren't done right.

They should deal with the wiring and see if the machine runs, if anything got cooked.

(often higher end 2-stage units use variable speed condenser fan motor for better efficiency when on low)
Thanks user_12345a. I'm glad you chimed in. It sure did sound fishy. The unit itself is a wonderful Unit. Ever since we replaced our old one with the 2 stage tech, the monthly power bills have decreased enough to notice. I'm definitely a fan of the Trane product-line. We will see if we can't repair some of the wires and keep the resistance low enough to get things going again.

Thanks again!
-Newgtguy...
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Old 06-08-2020, 06:12 PM   #5
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


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Originally Posted by Bud9051 View Post
Hi GT Guy, I can't help on the repair, but I do recognize the run-around. Take many pictures, some for the forum to see but most to be able to support your concerns.

Is this guy a repair employee or the owner? If just an employee then you have the option of talking to the boss. If he is the owner then you need to keep good notes.

As for the hole, who created it? Critters getting inside is something they should have prevented.

As for repairs, I have repaired a LOT of wiring and the excuse that the motor is too sensitive for wirenuts is BS He has you between the rock and a squirrel and he seems to be milking you for everything he can.

Pay with a credit card as those charges can be disputed, but call the owner and talk.

And take notes.

The ac pros will be along.

Bud

oops already here
Thanks Bud. I'll get the camera going and get some pics up shortly. Really appreciate your reply sir.. We are dealing with a young guy who is an employee. The company is a decent size. They are the official Trane dealer for our area. The guys does seem to need to call the office a lot before communicating the game plan to us.

I will speak with the management as well. Great call. So far, we've only paid $150 to diagnose the issue. Not too bad yet.

Regarding the hole, it's a round hole in the wall of the compartment (behind a corner panel) that houses the control boards in the unit itself. It looks like perhaps it was a knockout or something for them to run the 240volt line in that they maybe didn't use. I'll get a pic and include it as well.

Thanks again Bud...

Take care!
-Newgtguy
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Old 06-08-2020, 06:30 PM   #6
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


Usually when a control board gets fried then a fuse in it blows. Or it blows one in the furnace. High end Tranes should have a fuse on the board or mini circuit breaker.

I suspect he is young and in-experienced and there is NO way he can say multiple boards need replacing. Unless they have a black burn mark where they smoked then it may be as simple as just replacing the few chewed wires.

In theory a wire can get chewed thru and hang in mid air and not short anything.

I would ask to talk to the service manager and say we should start with replacing the wires and go from there and ask him to come down and look at it. I have gone on service calls with my manager if the customer was suspicious or to finish another tech's job.

The bit about wire resistance is baloney.

If the squirrels are a ongoing problem then check with a exterminator to see if there is a repellent that can be sprayed on the unit or inside to scare them off. Something noxious like cat pee which has ammonia in it type of repellant.
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Last edited by yuri; 06-08-2020 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 06-08-2020, 08:13 PM   #7
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


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Usually when a control board gets fried then a fuse in it blows. Or it blows one in the furnace. High end Tranes should have a fuse on the board or mini circuit breaker.

I suspect he is young and in-experienced and there is NO way he can say multiple boards need replacing. Unless they have a black burn mark where they smoked then it may be as simple as just replacing the few chewed wires.

In theory a wire can get chewed thru and hang in mid air and not short anything.

I would ask to talk to the service manager and say we should start with replacing the wires and go from there and ask him to come down and look at it. I have gone on service calls with my manager if the customer was suspicious or to finish another tech's job.

The bit about wire resistance is baloney.

If the squirrels are a ongoing problem then check with a exterminator to see if there is a repellent that can be sprayed on the unit or inside to scare them off. Something noxious like cat pee which has ammonia in it type of repellant.
Thanks Yuri. I will follow your advise. Much appreciated sir!

Regards,
-Newgtguy
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Old 06-08-2020, 08:44 PM   #8
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


The repair will be made and everything will be working fine.

But I would contract Trane and let them know what this dealer is doing.
And I wonder how a squirrel can get inside the outdoor unit?

And the "nothing can stop a Trane" line is apparently a load of crap.
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Old 06-08-2020, 09:09 PM   #9
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


I'm thinking it may have been a vole, which is a fancy name for what I always called a field mouse. Squirrels are too big to get through a KO on an A/C.
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Old 06-08-2020, 09:22 PM   #10
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


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I'm thinking it may have been a vole, which is a fancy name for what I always called a field mouse..
Voles are nearly blind since they generally live underground their vision is poor. The also have a hard "nose" more like a beak for digging.
And they are also very territorial and nasty.....despite their tiny size.
But they aren't chewers.....it's mice or pack rats.
Pack rats seem to love wiring.
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Old 06-09-2020, 01:50 AM   #11
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


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Voles are nearly blind since they generally live underground their vision is poor. The also have a hard "nose" more like a beak for digging.
And they are also very territorial and nasty.....despite their tiny size.
But they aren't chewers.....it's mice or pack rats.
Pack rats seem to love wiring.
You guys are correct. I misspoke. It's not a squirrel. Rather it's a chipmunk.

Here is exactly what he looks like. He's in there now. The tech actually took a picture of him. He is very aggressive. He was fighting with the tech (according to him). We believe he (er...she) has babies in there someplace.

This is exactly what she looks like:
http://unisci24.com/data_images/wlls...6-chipmunk.jpg

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Old 06-09-2020, 05:11 AM   #12
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


No use repairing it. Until the chipmunk and its nest are removed from the unit. Or else you'll be having the same damage done again.
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Old 06-09-2020, 07:34 AM   #13
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


Why is the animal being left to live in there and possibly cause more damage? Get rid of it, or the damage will return.
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Old 06-09-2020, 07:36 AM   #14
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Why is the animal being left to live in there and possibly cause more damage? Get rid of it, or the damage will return.
I fully agree. I asked the tech that exact question. He said, he "tried" to get it out and it attacked him (guy looks like he's about 21 years old - ah that generation). Anyway, I'll do it myself today. Or, we have an pest control company on retainer. I'll call them and have the professionals TCB.

Thanks for the replies every one!

-Newgtguy
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Old 06-09-2020, 07:52 AM   #15
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Re: Heat Pump Repair - Validate that I'm not getting ripped off


Mice will get inside units and I have removed quite a few roasted and toasted ones from contactors if they sit flat and not vertical.

I would get the service manager to come down and calmly assess the minimum repairs needed. If they are reputable then they should just replace the wires and see if it works.

It may have a blown board but lets start with the basics.

You need some repellent sprayed inside to keep the critters out and find out how they get in. A mouse has a soft body and squeezes in a 1" hole or smaller.

Make sure all the electrical knockouts are plugged and if one is open get a metal or plastic plug from HDpot or online or use silver foil tape.
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