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Old 12-13-2013, 09:52 AM   #1
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Default Heater being weird in my new house

So I have finally switched on the heat in my new house. It was last tested back at the beginning of April and it worked fine then. I have a Honeywell Thermostat that I pulled off the wall while painting the inside. After reattaching it to the backplate with the wires when I turn on the heat after about a minute it clicks again and the thermostat says "Auxiliary Heat On".



I turned the heater on Monday afternoon. Inside temps were about 61 degrees with the thermostat set to 64. When I left the house several hours later temps were up to 63 and aux Heat was still on. When I got back to the house Thursday temps inside were 57 with the aux heat still on. With having the system set to heat the big heat pump fan out back turns on and off. If I change the System to "EmHeat" aux heat turns off and it just says heat, but the fan on the heat pump out back turns off and does not turn back on. If you goto any of the air vents in the house when the system is "running" I do not fell any air coming out of them.

Here are pictures of the heat pump out back.



Here is a picture of the heater/AC thing inside the house. This thing does not make any noise. Nor does it have any lights or switches to let me know if it is working or doing anything. Running into it is a copper line that gets semi warm to the touch.


There are these switch boxes both inside and outside next to the appliances. I made sure both had the little square metal bracket thing in the "on" position, but yet again I have no clue if it is doing anything or not. Switch it to off does not seem to change anything.



At this point I would rather not call out a heater guy if there are things I can check and try myself. So if anyone has an suggestions of what to start checking it would be greatly appreciated.

Edit: I talked to the building maintenance guy at my work. He told me I need to turn the fan to on to see if the inside fan is turning on or off. I know I did not hear it turn on when I was out there and had it set to auto. So I will be testing that tomorrow when I am out at the house.
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Heater being weird in my new house-dt57p3h.jpg  

Last edited by shuiend; 12-13-2013 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 12-13-2013, 10:45 AM   #2
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we put the heater at 78 in our house last night.
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:01 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
we put the heater at 78 in our house last night.


I hate having to set ours to 67. Before my son, I set it at 63.
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:31 PM   #4
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you say that you dont feel any air moving in your vents, I would guess that the problem is with the fan in your air handler, or your Tstat is not activating your air handler.

I dont know how familiar you are with heat pumps, this is my limited knowledge:

Tstat- controls the system

heat pump- (essentailly and AC compressor running backwards)

air handler- circuilates air inside your house

auxilary heater- resistive heating element inside air handler. helps generate heat when the heat pump cant keep up.


The EMheat you mention is "emergency heat" it is a way to heat your home if your compressor has failed, and heat soley on the auxilary resistive heater. When you say the compressor turns off when this mode is selected, that is normal and as designed.


What I think is happening is this: tstat thinks that air is cold and the tells the air handler to circuilate air and compressor to start spinning. The compressor spins and sends warm refridgerant to the air handler, but the air handler is not sending air to the rest of the house. the Tstat notices that the house is not heating up and turns on the auxilary heater to help things. but this still does not heat the house because the air handler is not moving air.

What are the outdoor ambient temps?

Alternative explanation would be a broken auxilary heater: tstat turns on compressor to heat house, but it is so cold ouside that the heat pump cannot produce enough heat to warm up the house reasonably. When you switch to "EMHEAT" the compressor turns off and with the broken aux heater, no warm air is moving.

Can you confirm if the air handler fan turns on or not? that would help with troubleshooting. Its hard to tell from your description. Also, what Tstat wiring diagram did you follow in the manual?

Last edited by Davezorz; 12-13-2013 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:07 PM   #5
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Have you checked the grounds?
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:43 PM   #6
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I hate having to set ours to 67. Before my son, I set it at 63.
high efficiency carrier natural gas furnace like a boss.
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:47 PM   #7
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Central heating and air is overrated. Even in Alabama with humid 100 degree summers and pretty cold winters, I've been getting by with the gas floor furnace, and a wall unit a/c and ceiling fans. Can keep the whole house in the 62-74 range with minimal cost. We have a central unit, but it hasn't worked right in years. The a/c does still work and it gets turned on only on the hottest of summer days. Otherwise, it's off.
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Old 12-13-2013, 02:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davezorz View Post
you say that you dont feel any air moving in your vents, I would guess that the problem is with the fan in your air handler, or your Tstat is not activating your air handler.

I dont know how familiar you are with heat pumps, this is my limited knowledge:

Tstat- controls the system

heat pump- (essentailly and AC compressor running backwards)

air handler- circuilates air inside your house

auxilary heater- resistive heating element inside air handler. helps generate heat when the heat pump cant keep up.


The EMheat you mention is "emergency heat" it is a way to heat your home if your compressor has failed, and heat soley on the auxilary resistive heater. When you say the compressor turns off when this mode is selected, that is normal and as designed.


What I think is happening is this: tstat thinks that air is cold and the tells the air handler to circuilate air and compressor to start spinning. The compressor spins and sends warm refridgerant to the air handler, but the air handler is not sending air to the rest of the house. the Tstat notices that the house is not heating up and turns on the auxilary heater to help things. but this still does not heat the house because the air handler is not moving air.

What are the outdoor ambient temps?

Alternative explanation would be a broken auxilary heater: tstat turns on compressor to heat house, but it is so cold ouside that the heat pump cannot produce enough heat to warm up the house reasonably. When you switch to "EMHEAT" the compressor turns off and with the broken aux heater, no warm air is moving.

Can you confirm if the air handler fan turns on or not? that would help with troubleshooting. Its hard to tell from your description. Also, what Tstat wiring diagram did you follow in the manual?
Thanks for this post. So far I have not done any trouble shooting. Tomorrow I will be back at the house with a multimeter to check on things.

I think you are correct about the fan in my air handler not turning on. That is the main thing I will be looking at tomorrow. Outdoor temps when I have turned on the heater were withing 5 degrees of what I set the indoor temp at. I think it was like 59 out Monday with the thermostat set at 64.

I did not actually undo the wiring to the tstat. I simply unhooked the front part from the backing plate that is bolted to the wall. I will take a picture tomorrow of the wiring for the tstat.
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Old 12-13-2013, 02:53 PM   #9
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I saw you were from SC, and I didnt think it got that cold, but I have been wrong before.

for 59, you should not need the auxilary heater unless the compressor ices up and cannot flow air. In fact, if that is as cold as it gets, they might not have installed one at all. The Thermostat does not know if it is there or not, it just opens and closes contacts without any feedback from the HVAC system.

If you manually connect the R and G wire, this should force the air handler fan to start. If the fan starts when you do this, Then the Tstat is bad. There is 24 volts on the R wire, which shouldnt really hurt you unless you are taking a saltwater shower while you do this, but be aware.

Per the manual for your thermostat, there is a test mode that will close all of the contacts and run everything, which would also be helpful for troubleshooting.
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Old 12-13-2013, 04:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davezorz View Post
I saw you were from SC, and I didnt think it got that cold, but I have been wrong before.

for 59, you should not need the auxilary heater unless the compressor ices up and cannot flow air. In fact, if that is as cold as it gets, they might not have installed one at all. The Thermostat does not know if it is there or not, it just opens and closes contacts without any feedback from the HVAC system.

If you manually connect the R and G wire, this should force the air handler fan to start. If the fan starts when you do this, Then the Tstat is bad. There is 24 volts on the R wire, which shouldnt really hurt you unless you are taking a saltwater shower while you do this, but be aware.

Per the manual for your thermostat, there is a test mode that will close all of the contacts and run everything, which would also be helpful for troubleshooting.
Occasionally it gets a bit chilly here, but nothing to to bad. I think we average about 30 days a year where I need to scrape frost off my windows int he morning.

I printed out the manual for the thermostat. I will take that out with me tomorrow. The auxiliary heat thing is what really confused me because I did not think that it was cold enough outside to justify needing anything additional on top of normal heater.

Once I get back to the house I will do some tests and hopefully figure something out. Hopefully it is something reasonably cheap to get it all working again.
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Old 12-15-2013, 10:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davezorz View Post
If you manually connect the R and G wire, this should force the air handler fan to start. If the fan starts when you do this, Then the Tstat is bad. There is 24 volts on the R wire, which shouldnt really hurt you unless you are taking a saltwater shower while you do this, but be aware.
So I got out to the house this morning. I pulled off the tstat cover to touch R and G. That's when I noticed the G wire had come out of the connector. I touched R and G just to test and the air handler fan came on. So I reattached the green wire to the tstat and it all seems to be working now. Thanks for the help.


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Old 12-15-2013, 11:32 AM   #12
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Have you checked the grounds?
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Old 12-15-2013, 02:22 PM   #13
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You are welcome.
I guess G could stand for ground, I was thinking it stood for green. I was thinking automotive world where blacks are normally grounds. Thanks for the advice also then. Now that the heater is fixed it is time to do more painting.
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Old 12-15-2013, 02:54 PM   #14
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I guess G could stand for ground, I was thinking it stood for green.
It does. I was being a smart ***.
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:08 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by rleete View Post
You are welcome.
a broken clock is right twice a day right?

Normally in US AC power applications, green is ground. In this control wiring, this is not the case. There is in fact not a true ground in that circuit at all.



Quote:
I was thinking automotive world where blacks are normally grounds
This can be very dangerous thinking for wiring your house, in AC Power, black is line voltage. hence the phrase "black on brass saves your ***" reminding electricians to put the black wire on the brass colored screw.


Glad it was an easy fix though
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davezorz View Post
Normally in US AC power applications, green is ground. In this control wiring, this is not the case. There is in fact not a true ground in that circuit at all.
*bing*

Thermostat wiring is kind of weird and nonintuative if you're accustomed to automotive circuits. It runs off 24VAC, and is floating with regard to ground. There is not a distinction between "hot" and "neutral", either. The closest thing you'll find is the 24v Common wire, which is typically blue in most systems, but black in some.

This, of course, creates an amusing conundrum for the EE types. In the US, black is typically the "hot" wire for phase 1. In Europe, blue is the neutral.
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