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Heat strip heat, first timer, is it supposed to work this poorly?

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Heat strip heat, first timer, is it supposed to work this poorly?

Old 01-19-2014, 09:12 AM
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Default Heat strip heat, first timer, is it supposed to work this poorly?

Another hvac question, sorry guys.

We recently moved and the new house is all electric. That means heat strips, which we have never had to deal with before.

It seems like they rarely put out warm air. Like its warmer than outside air, but not "hot". It reaches the set temperature, but seems to kick on more often than I would expect it to. Also, trunk line runs in the attic, return runs in crawlspace if that makes a difference. Duct work is in good shape.

And the darn things run constantly it seems. We aren't crazy with temps, 65 in the day, 63 at night.

So far the bill hasn't broken $200 (2300 sf single story ranch) which is good, but I've only seen one month of close to constant use so far.

Its a brand new furnace and a brand new condenser as of april 2013.
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:17 AM
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When you say "heat strips" I'm thinking under the carpet heating elements. I'm missing something.
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:21 AM
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OK Found this. Hope this helps

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Old 01-19-2014, 09:23 AM
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They never blow hot air unless the "emergency" strips turn on. This occurs when it is extremely cold. I can only speak from my experience as I'm not an hvac expert but I live in SC and these are common systems. If those emergency strips cut on, they use a lot more electricity.

Sounds like yours is running as designed but I did have a similar issue once (seemingly run it all the time) and didn't think anything was wrong until the summer. Once I kicked on the ac, it wasn't cooling the house. Repair man found a freon leak and indicated that the system needs freon in winter too. I never knew that but turns out, that's why it ran constantly the previous winter.
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:43 AM
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All the freon was checked and replaced as needed.

I know its a common system, but I've also heard plenty of people bitch about it.

I just like to feel hot air blasting out I guess. Sounds like all systems are normal. I try to keep it under $200 summer and winter, so as long as I stay there I guess I should count my blessings and not worry about how much it runs.
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:44 AM
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Heat pump is basically an AC running backwards.
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:53 AM
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Not familiar with heat strips, is there air flow over a coil or fins that should be vacuumed & cleaned annually for max heat transfer?
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by hhi angler View Post
Heat pump is basically an AC running backwards.
Exactly. With the added bonus of having to defrost the outside coils. Heat pumps are much more efficient than heat strips as long as the temp is not too low. I would check and make sure that your outside unit does not have leaves or other crap obstructing it. The heat strips should not cut on unless it is very cold by SC standards. The air from heat pumps is not as hot as from a furnace but it will keep your house warm.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:26 AM
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"heat strips" means just that..resistive heating without a heat pump. Often strips are in 5kw banks, which is about 17,000 btu's each.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:36 AM
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Yes- but I bet he has a heat pump. It would be extremely unusual to have only heat strips around here for heating. Heating is either natural gas or heat pumps (or both) for the most part in this area. The not as hot heating air he is talking about is fairly normal with a heat pump.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:51 AM
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I'm sure he has a heat pump. Straight heat strip systems just dont exist in that part of the world. It was unusually cold back home several times over the past 3 weeks and as everyone knows heat pumps struggle below about 23 degrees- there is just not enough heat outside to pump inside. OP if you are looking for something to " blast hot air" you better switch over to a furnace of some type cause a heat pump is never going to provide it.
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:46 AM
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Heat pumps don't really blow hot air and they have gotten better over the years. The new systems run a lot more than the old ones. But with scroll compressors, 2 stage compressors and other modern technology, they run more often, but not as hard.

What type of system do you have and what is the SEER?

Charleston SC is typical of the zone of using an electric heat pump and electric heat strip back up. IIRC heat pumps are not that efficient under 35 degrees. But Charleston temps spend more time above 35 than they do below 35. So it makes sense.
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Double tyme View Post
All the freon was checked and replaced as needed.

I know its a common system, but I've also heard plenty of people bitch about it.

I just like to feel hot air blasting out I guess. Sounds like all systems are normal. I try to keep it under $200 summer and winter, so as long as I stay there I guess I should count my blessings and not worry about how much it runs.
I didn't read the other responses, I'm kind of in a hurry.

First thing you need to know is that you have a heat pump. While technically the house is "all electric", normally you'd refer to your heating/cooling system as "I have a Heat Pump". Most heat pump back up heat is electric (could be anything including gas, oil, wood). When the thermostat calls for heat, that's the first stage (heat pump). If the temperature in the house drops more than 2 degrees below the set point, then the second stage kicks in (electric strips in your case). Sometimes there's a 3rd stage (more strips). If you turn the thermostat up 3 or more degrees, the air out of the registers should be much warmer.

The heat pump only raises the air temp about 20 degrees (this varies). If the house is 65 and the air coming out of the register is 85, that can feel cool if you're in the air stream. Proper duct design and register layout can be tricky. As a Yankee that spent 30 years working with oil heat and over 50 years living with hydronic heat, I find heat pumps uncomfortable.

It really does sound like your system is functioning properly. There may be some design problems that are creating discomfort that you'll probably have to get used to. BTW, under $200 for 2300 sq ft isn't bad.
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Old 01-19-2014, 12:10 PM
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Yeah, I probably do have a heat pump too. Used to have no heat strips, just heat pump on gas, it would work great til it got cold then it would crap out, drove me crazy.

No gas at this house. I have a pretty good handle on almost all the different home elements, but I know very little about hvac.

thanks dave. I was hoping you'd pipe up. I agree under $200 isn't bad. I try to keep it under that threshold summer and winter. We burn wood a fair amount in the winter too, open fireplace though. I've been trying to lobby for a wood stove for years and haven't won that battle yet.
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Old 01-19-2014, 02:55 PM
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Seems like heat pumps have an "emergency" setting on the t'stat,, don't they?

The thermostat should be the tell. That, and if the compressor is running..........
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Old 01-19-2014, 03:49 PM
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Electric heat is known as cold heat. A heat pump will help when it is above 22 degrees outside. When the temp in the house can't be held within 3 degrees of the setting the emergency heat will kick in, that's the coils on the system, it seems also cold. Turn the thermostat up if you what it warmer. Don't worry about the number on the thermostat be happy. I would rather pay $300 and feel happy than pay $200 and be unhappy for the month.
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Old 01-19-2014, 03:56 PM
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Heat pumps in heat mode should be set at your desired temperature and then left alone til summer.
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by JimPend View Post
Electric heat is known as cold heat. A heat pump will help when it is above 22 degrees outside. When the temp in the house can't be held within 3 degrees of the setting the emergency heat will kick in, that's the coils on the system, it seems also cold. Turn the thermostat up if you what it warmer. Don't worry about the number on the thermostat be happy. I would rather pay $300 and feel happy than pay $200 and be unhappy for the month.
Spoken like a guy from Ohio!

My problem is I like to walk around the house in gym shorts and a t shirt year round. To do that in the winter I need to keep heat close to 70. Or wear pants and a long sleeve like a normal person and keep it at 65.

I am willing to make that concession but I absolutely support you keeping your house nice and toasty.
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:22 PM
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You said the new house. New to you or brand new? If you are coming from another type of heat it takes awhile to get used to a Heat Pump. Temps this winter have been below average to extremely below average several times already. 68 degrees is fine for some people but not others. We tell people that every degree above 68 cost about 5 percent increase in the bill. When I first moved into my home coming from a gas furnace we had to keep the thermostat set at 72 to be comfortable in the winter, but slowly over time we have bumped it down till now I can tell the difference between 67 and 68. If you use a programmable thermostat make sure it does not use "anticipation" or make more than a 1 or 2 degree change at a time.
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Old 01-19-2014, 08:18 PM
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So don't jack it down to 63 at night? I simply like the cooler temps at night. I put it to 66 today because I knew I was going to be inside all day watching football.

Is it bad for the system or just costly?

Its not a new house but its a new system, furnace and condenser replaced in april prior to move in. We did extensive renovations prior to moving in.
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