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Old 12-03-2010, 05:12 PM
 
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When I turn my thermostat to "heat" the "AUX" function automatically switch on. Is this normal? Does the heat pump kick in right away when the heat is turned on or is this an indication of malfunction.
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Old 12-03-2010, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zotmeister View Post
When I turn my thermostat to "heat" the "AUX" function automatically switch on. Is this normal? Does the heat pump kick in right away when the heat is turned on or is this an indication of malfunction.
If the heat pump does not need to go into a defrost cycle, and can handle the request immediately, then it will go straight to heat mode. By activating the heat strips the system attempts to provide heat immediately until the heat pump is prepared to handle the request. What you described can be a normal condition as long as the heat strips shut down and the heat pump activates within 5 minutes afterward.
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Old 12-03-2010, 05:31 PM
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
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Usually means that the temperature is to cold for the heat pump alone to provide sufficient heat, so it call for the back-up source.

There is a set temp on the unit that says "Hey- it's friggin cold out here and I need help"
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Old 12-03-2010, 05:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by escanlan View Post
If the heat pump does not need to go into a defrost cycle, and can handle the request immediately, then it will go straight to heat mode. By activating the heat strips the system attempts to provide heat immediately until the heat pump is prepared to handle the request. What you described can be a normal condition as long as the heat strips shut down and the heat pump activates within 5 minutes afterward.
I am still a bit confused. I was told that the furnace should supply heat and the heat pump should only come on in emergency or really cold conditions. When is it really cold conditions such that the heat pump is activated right away when the heat is turned on. I was told that with the heat pump switched on, it uses more energy than the forced air furnace. My heating unit appears to not provide any heat via the forced air furnace....is this normal?? I live in Northern VA and outdoor temp lows are in the 40F now.
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Old 12-03-2010, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Baltimore
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zotmeister View Post
I am still a bit confused. I was told that the furnace should supply heat and the heat pump should only come on in emergency or really cold conditions. When is it really cold conditions such that the heat pump is activated right away when the heat is turned on. I was told that with the heat pump switched on, it uses more energy than the forced air furnace. My heating unit appears to not provide any heat via the forced air furnace....is this normal?? I live in Northern VA and outdoor temp lows are in the 40F now.
I have had a heat pump for the last 20 years, and I live in the same general area (Central Maryland). I think you have it backwards. The heat pump is the primary source of heat and it works in conjunction with the furnace. Once temperatures drop below a certain point the heat pump can't do it alone and the electric auxiliary heat kicks in. It's the electric heat that is really expensive. And as someone else said, if the auxiliary heat is coming on right away when you turn the switch to "heat" it's because the thermostat is set at a much higher temperature than the current temperature in the house, and the heat pump needs help in order to get the temperature up to that level.
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by janetvj View Post
I have had a heat pump for the last 20 years, and I live in the same general area (Central Maryland). I think you have it backwards. The heat pump is the primary source of heat and it works in conjunction with the furnace. Once temperatures drop below a certain point the heat pump can't do it alone and the electric auxiliary heat kicks in. It's the electric heat that is really expensive. And as someone else said, if the auxiliary heat is coming on right away when you turn the switch to "heat" it's because the thermostat is set at a much higher temperature than the current temperature in the house, and the heat pump needs help in order to get the temperature up to that level.

I see. So where is the electric heating coming from? So what is the AC external unit for when the heat kicks it on?? Is that the heat pump. Is the main unit the furnace. I am still confused about the nomenclature here. I was also told to turn the external A/C unit off in the winter as this would kick on if the heat pump is activated. Is this correct as well. I am all new to this coming from CA where heat pumps are just not heard of.

So what is being triggered when the thermostat switches to AUX automatically. Is the AUX the electrical heating you are talking about?? If so, is that supposed to switch on once you set the therm. to heat?
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Baltimore
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Originally Posted by zotmeister View Post
I see. So where is the electric heating coming from? So what is the AC external unit for when the heat kicks it on?? Is that the heat pump. Is the main unit the furnace. I am still confused about the nomenclature here. I was also told to turn the external A/C unit off in the winter as this would kick on if the heat pump is activated. Is this correct as well. I am all new to this coming from CA where heat pumps are just not heard of.

So what is being triggered when the thermostat switches to AUX automatically. Is the AUX the electrical heating you are talking about?? If so, is that supposed to switch on once you set the therm. to heat?
Heat Pumps
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
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Originally Posted by zotmeister View Post
So what is being triggered when the thermostat switches to AUX automatically. Is the AUX the electrical heating you are talking about?? If so, is that supposed to switch on once you set the therm. to heat?
Your heat pump operates by extracting warm air from the outside. Read the link provided to see 'how it works'.

When the outside ambient air temps fall to a point where the heat pump can no longer supply 'heat', then the AUX (auxiliary) heat source takes over to supply 100% of the heat. If you have electricity as your source for AUX heat, think of a giant hairdryer in the air handler inside your home. The elements (or strips) heat up and the air flows by the strips delivering warm air.

Some heat pumps have natural gas or propane as back-up heat..
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Old 12-03-2010, 07:02 PM
 
246 posts, read 796,039 times
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Thanks for the clarification. I had it all backwards. One other question. How does the heat pump work if the fanfrom the outside A/C unit is turned off. I was adviced to do that for the winter by my home inspector. Could this be the reason why the air is not warm when I set the thermostat to heat and the AUX comes on??
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Old 12-03-2010, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Knoxville
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There is really no reason to turn off the outside unit during the winter. Doing so kind of defeats the function of the heat pump, and turns your unit into an electric resistance heater (not as efficient).

The outside unit will run in heat pump mode down to about 32 degrees.
When the temperature drops down to below 32 degrees, the unit needs the aux heat strips to kick in to help the heat pump provide heat.
When the temps get below zero, the outside unit will not run, and you will be on Emergency heart, or just the electric heat strips.
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