Heat Pump Issues

Last Friday, we discovered that our heat pump was not circulating air through the house and there was a hot electrical odor.  We turned the heat pump off and got our auxiliary heating source going – our fireplace, which has an insert with fan.

We were able to get a technician to come out on Saturday, but when he turned the unit on, everything worked properly and none of his measurements on the circuits turned up a problem.  He did discover that the ducting on the outlet of the unit had become partially disconnected, so we were losing heat under the house.  He fixed that, which made a huge improvement on airflow.

Around 4 PM today, Karen noticed that there was no air coming out of the duct under her work table while the heat pump was running.  Before turning the unit off, I wanted to check it a little closer to have more info for the tech.  I also took the following video to show what it’s not doing.

The fan that circulates air through the house wasn’t working.  The arrow in the image below, from the video, points to the stationary fan blades.  If the motor was working, the blades would have been a blur.

fan

We’re in a very cold period, that’s going to be a bit colder later in the week.  While the fan does work after the system has been off for a while, we’re not going to leave it running in auto when we’re asleep or away, so we’re hoping the tech will have a replacement motor tomorrow, before the really cold air gets here.

Isn’t amazing how things will start acting up when you really need them?

around home, life, video

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  • Hilary Jan 6, 2015

    Hi Mike – yes – things go wrong when we least need them to .. but at least there’s an engineer in the house to clarify matters … indecisive problems are never easy – let’s hope that’s it and it is fixed before the cold sets in. Good luck … Hilary
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    • Mike Jan 6, 2015

      Thanks, Hilary. The failure is an intermittent one. After the heat pump was off for several hours, I turned it on — and everything worked the way it’s supposed to. We didn’t leave it on after we went to bed — don’t want to take the chance of a hot motor catching fire — but both of us were up during the night at least once and turned it on til the house was warmed back up. The fan motor is a couple of hundred dollars, but the last service call was half that without anything major getting fixed.
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  • Cheerful Monk Jan 6, 2015

    Good luck! Intermittent failures are the worst. You’re smart to try to document it.
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    • Mike Jan 7, 2015

      When the technicians showed up, I showed them the video. One of them was the (young) guy who came out on Saturday. The other had been out earlier in the year on a different issue. They smiled when I showed the video as it showed them there was a problem and what it likely was. I told them that if they couldn’t find anything that I would like them to go ahead and replace the fan motor and start capacitor. They did exactly that and were done and gone in just under an hour — and the cost was less than I expected.
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