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Electric forced air furnace


John Dirks Jr
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I ran across a system that had an AC (not heat pump) unit and an electric furnace. Until this one, all of the systems that I have seen which have electric furnaces, are used in conjunction with heat pumps.

Everything responded to the thermostat. Both the heat and AC worked.

Is this just a first for me or is there something wrong with this, or both?

If it is acceptable, are there still some underlying concerns?

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Around here, I usually only see them in condos and other multi-story applications. I tell folks that an electric furnace is a resistance heating system that works like a huge hair dryer, and that it's a wonderful way to get that little disc-thingy in the electric meter to spin around really fast.

On the positive side, they're pretty simple and rarely need repairs.

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Pretty common here especially in houses built during cheap energy times.

My house had one that was original electric resistance heat with 3 ton a/c. Worked well but 20+ years old and I replaced with a heat pump a couple of years ago. Nothing wrong with it in milder climates except energy concerns. Thermostat and lack of reversing valve are easy clues to identify.

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Around here there are a couple of subdivisions that were built with no natural gas service. These "starter" homes all have electric furnaces. Big maintenance item to point out is the importance of filter cleaning. The electric heating elements rely on proper air flow, or they will heat up to hot, and trip the high limit safety. Unless of course the sensor is jumped or not working properly, then the element could fry itself.

I see them on a lot of rental units as well.

Frank

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Are you 100 % sure it wasn't a heat pump? What method(s) did you use to rule a heat pump out?

Over at the ASHI forums an inspector had to pay for not identifying the system correctly.

The first thing that tipped me off was the lack of a emergency heat function on the T-stat. Then, I went out and looked down into the condenser unit. There was no reversing valve. That is when I concluded it was not a heat pump.

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