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Heat Pump on the Fritz

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Dennis on the line who’s calling with a heat pump issue. Tell us what’s going on with it.

    DENNIS: Hi, Leslie. I don’t know. I’m having problems. It’ll cut out about every third day and all of a sudden we’ll look and the temperature will be up to 80, 81, 82. Sometimes we can get it started again; sometimes we can’t. We had to go out and buy a portable air conditioner just to keep us going one night.

    TOM: Do you have your heat pump on any kind of a green switch where it’s wired into the power company grid and you give them the right to …

    LESLIE: Reduce your power usage? (chuckles)

    TOM: Yeah, basically; balance the load.

    DENNIS: I don’t know. (Leslie chuckles) I don’t know that much about it. My problem is I can’t get out there and look at it. And I went out Saturday and bought another thermostat, thinking that might be the problem, and they said it would just plug right back in where the old one was.

    TOM: Right.

    DENNIS: And now they say, [“You’ve got to rewire those eight little wires.”] (ph)

    TOM: Yeah, it’s not that easy.

    DENNIS: So, be hard for me to stand there and do that, so …

    TOM: Well look, this is not a job for a do-it-yourselfer; it’s a job for an HVAC professional. But the one thing I would check – because when you say that the heat pump goes off at various times, many power companies across the country have what’s called a green switch. And basically, generally there’s a program where they offer some sort of inducement to allow them to wire in this switch into the HVAC system so that, in certain times of the day, they can turn off the power when they need to balance the load across the entire grid.

    LESLIE: To reduce the chance of outages.

    TOM: Right. And if you have that, it may not be set right. So I think that you need to call an HVAC contractor and have them take a look at it; figure out what’s going on. It’s not a thermostat. It’s something with the control circuit that’s doing this and if you got a green switch, that could be the solution.

    DENNIS: Well, it all started with a power outage and it wouldn’t come back on again.

    TOM: Hmm. Yeah, I wonder if – I think it’s something with the control circuit. I just want to make sure you don’t have the green switch and that’ll help you get to the bottom of it.

    DENNIS: Well, that’s great. I’ll tell them to look for that. They did put a new capacitor in it. That didn’t seem to work, so maybe that’s looking for the green switch.

    TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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