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freezing outside unit .. heat pump  RSS feed

 
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my mind can't quite wrapped around the idea of a heat pump. our outside unit has frost on the inside and is covered in ice. I am told this could be because it is low on refrigerant. can somebody really dumb it down for me and explain how a heat pump works?
 
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its like a refrigerator only in reverse. it uses lyquid trying to become gass, for convection .


is your unit clean dirt helps ice to form faster

also i was told put black rock sand around them . helps them find heat
 
Leah Sattler
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so helping to generate and retain some heat around the outside unit could increase efficiency? we are going to have the service guys back out (already here once for other puproses) to check it out with this new symptom. i just hate to be completely in the dark about things and I feel pretty stupid about heat pumps.
 
charles c. johnson
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Leah Sattler wrote:
...and I feel pretty stupid about heat pumps.



D'ya know why you feel pretty stupid about heat pumps? Because they are pretty stupid! So sayeth dh, HVAC installer for 30+ years.

When it's 10 degrees and you'd really like a little supplemental heat...a heat pump won't get the job done. All it will do is create a drafty feeling by constantly blowing cool air thru the vent & into your room. AND it runs up your electric bill because the damn blower motor runs so much. Phooey!
 
charles c. johnson
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if you can put one in a well they work pretty good kinda like geo thermal in colder places they stink
 
Gwen Lynn
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That's exactly my dh's point. For this part of the country...they pretty much stink! It just gets too cold here to make it worthwhile.
 
charles c. johnson
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insulated a basement room and reverse it for walk in cooler ??
 
Leah Sattler
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oh whymust it be so complicated?

so we are 'using' the heat pump on mild days. which is stupid and means it really doesn' get used. if its 50* out I don't care if the house is heated I'll just put on a sweater! when it gets cold we are using the gas heaters combined with the 'emergency heat' setting on the furnace, which just turns it to a regular electric furnace. so much for the days of 'set it and forget it' with the thermostat.
 
Gwen Lynn
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We don't have a heat pump. Dh doesn't install them regularly in his work. Only when people request them, and he thinks...what a "good" salesman someone was. Sold them something they don't really need!

The previous owners designed and built your house, right? I guess they were thinking they did the right thing.

Yes, you are right, you are "using" the heat pump on mild days, when you basically don't even need it.
 
Leah Sattler
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i don't know what posessed them to put a heat pump in. I suppose they had some justification in mind or someone...as you said....was a good salesman. the gas heaters are ok I am just not so sure about them running all the time even though they are up to spec from what info I can find. the fireplace is vented and has a blower and it is set up to run on a thermostat. I will feel better about using that for heat once it is fixed . 
 
charles c. johnson
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you would think that part of the heat pump would be best in  the attic taking risen heat and pumping it back down stairs
 
Leah Sattler
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you're right. the whole thing seems poorly thought out. it would make so much more sense to use some system that captures some of the escaping heat to re-use. I wish we could have built our own. sigh. I like our house but some parts are just plain dumb.
 
Gwen Lynn
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Every time there's a winter power outage threat, I wish our set-up was different. Yeah, we have gas heat, but it depends on electricity to run. So basically...it won't work. At least we can light our stove top by hand if we need to, but not the oven. We just need to get back to a more normal winter pattern. This one has been over the top, to say the least...and it ain't over yet! 
 
                          
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Location: Alaska
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What if you installed one in an attached solarium?  I've been thinking about it..Advice?
 
                        
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Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
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This is the kind of stuff I studied in getting my Home Energy Rating System (HERS) certification.  The heat pump needs to be outside the building envelope.  If the attic is part of the building envelope, then you certainly don't want it there.

In my zone (5, bordering on 6) most heat pumps are dual-system, combination gas heat and heat pump.
 
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