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Heat pump inspection in summer


twendorff
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I have been told that I should not fire up the furnace in the summer. I have recently found from a realtor that inspectors in my area have been firing them up.

What is the general opinion of this?

Thank you.

Who told you that you shouldn't fire up a furnace in the summer? Did they give you a reason?

I'm unable to imagine why you wouldn't want to run a furnace during an inspection in the summer.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I usually save the heating cycle for last in summer; that way I avoid working in an overheated environment.

Other than that, fire it up for sure. Check air flow and everything else on the cooling cycle; only get the heat running long enough to make sure it's working correctly.

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only get the heat running long enough to make sure it's working correctly.

That's precisely what we do. I'll fire it just before I'm going into the crawlspace and run it only long enough to make sure that it works and won't short-cycle. Then I shut it down and switch it over to fan mode to cool it down while I'm down in the crawlspace. If I'm working alone that day, I'll ask the client to walk through the home and check to ensure there is air kicking out of all registers; if Yung is with me, she'll do that while I'm doing the crawl. By the time I come up through that crawl hatch the exchanger, and the house as well to a certain extent, has cooled down.

The hardest ones for me to do are the radiant heating, hot water and steam systems. These take a while to come up to temp and stay warm for a long time after you shut them down. They have to be hell in the summertime for folks who live in those climes where they are the norm and FHA is the exception.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I do not believe you should run a heat pump in the heating cycle above a certain degrees.

Hi,

I've heard that and it seems to make sense to me; although I know next-to-nothing about heat pumps. I didn't even bring up heat pumps because the OP's question was about "firing" up "furnaces". I kind of expanded that logic to include boilers because they also burn fossil fuel to produce heat and aren't powered solely by electricity as electric heaters, electric central heating systems and heat pumps are.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I do not believe you should run a heat pump in the heating cycle above a certain degrees.

I don't follow the logic. A heat pump is a split AC with a reversing valve to switch the coil functions back and forth. While it would certainly make sense not to run the cooling cycle in winter, I don't see the harm in running the heating cycle in summer, the loads are going to be very similar. I think it would be wise to allow the system to "cool down" between cycles rather than slam it from cool to heat and back again. It's easy to imagine a scenario where the system is in cooling mode all day and switches to heat mode over night, especially with the crummy summer we're having.

Tom

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The hardest ones for me to do are the radiant heating, hot water and steam systems. These take a while to come up to temp and stay warm for a long time after you shut them down. They have to be hell in the summertime for folks who live in those climes where they are the norm and FHA is the exception.

When you get your IR camera, verifying operation of radiant heating systems will be a piece of cake. You'll be able to detect that their working, even how the coils are laid out, before you can feel any heat with your hand.

Chris, Oregon

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I have been told that I should not fire up a heat pump in the summer. I have recently found from a realtor that inspectors in my area have been firing them up.

What is the general opinion of this?

Thank you.

Well, now a heat pump is a different story. If it's too hot outside and you try running it in the heating mode, it can develop high head pressures. If it's a good unit, its high pressure switch will pop and the unit will shut down. If it's a cheap unit, it'll just keep running, albiet unhappily. My own opinion is that this is less of a problem with units that have scroll compressors. I wouldn't hesitate to run those in warm weather.

The larger issue is that there's really no reason to run a heat pump in warm weather. You can learn everything you need to learn about the system by running it in the cooling mode. In fact, it's usually easier to evaluate a heat pump in the cooling mode because you don't have to worry about the auxiliary heat coming on and messing up your readings.

If you're worried about the real estate agents, ask them to produce the operating instructions. Most manufacturers will include a printed prohibition against running the system in the heating mode above a certain temperature -- I seem to recall about 80 degrees.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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