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Fun Weekend, Bad Heat Pump!

The following is a special post written by US Inspect East Coast Regional Director, Bill Conner. Even the pros have weekend mishaps and adventures around the house!

Heat Pumps

Wait a minute! Isn’t a heat pump supposed to pump heat OUT of a house and not IN a house on a hot day in the summer? Of course that’s right! That’s exactly what I was asking myself one recent Sunday afternoon.

I have to admit I had just rolled in from an awesome “annual weekend event” which involved some of the best things in life: riding motorcycles through the mountains and canoeing down a beautiful river with long time friends. Sprinkle that with picking a little music on the river bank and well, you get the picture. This picture was taken during the trip after I got caught in the rain. See how happy I am?


Bill C


When I walked in the door on Sunday afternoon, there stood my wife and daughter. I’m already feeling a little guilty about the great time I just had and what do I hear first?  “Its hot in here. Really hot. Hot as *@#$!" My first thought is something’s wrong with the air conditioning. Well, welcome home!


Being the veteran home inspector that I am, I immediately notice the first floor is indeed warm. A quick check of the thermostat reveals that the system is not even on. No worries. Flip of a switch, system powers up, cool air starts to flow. Life is good! Big Daddy is home again!


Um, not so fast! When I go upstairs, I quickly learn that my wife is right. It is hot as *&#$. This is really bad. I can hardly breathe; it must be over 90 degrees upstairs. So, I check the thermostat. It’s on. I check the outside unit. It’s running. I check the pressure lines. It’s cold. Everything is just as it should be. Hmmm. No, it’s not.


I go back inside to take another look at the thermostat. Somehow it’s now on “heat” and 98 degree air is pouring out the second floor vents.  I think someone is messing with me, so I holler, “did anyone touch this thermostat??!!” My wife and daughter both say “no”.  Really?  That’s weird. I move the system control back to “cool”. I stand there and watch it move itself back to heat!!! This is a digital, not a mechanical switch. This is too much. I’ll just move this thing to the “off” position and we will have to fire up the fans to make it through the night. Not so easy. It turns itself back on. In the HEAT cycle! This is too much for a tired old man after a big, relaxing weekend. I locate the circuit breaker for this unit and shut it down once and for all.




First thing Monday morning I make a call for service but they can’t come until Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m. You know how that goes. They show up at 9:15. Already, we’re not off to a good start. Mid-afternoon, after the service tech makes a trip to get parts (his trip, my expense) he gets the cool air flowing again. The relay circuit is replaced in the air handler and a new thermostat installed. The new thermostat has a mechanical off/on switch! Yay! Then comes the financial reality. $575.00! Ouch! I’m back to reality quickly. 


What’s the moral of the story? Well, it just goes to show you that any system and any component can fail at any time.


This is how I felt two days after my weekend trip.  Man, that was a fun weekend but I'm due another vacation.


Banjo playin on the Heat Pumps