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Inspecting HVAC Systems Topics include heating, venting, and air conditioning inspections.

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  #1  
Old 2/12/10, 2:05 PM
jmacdonald jmacdonald is offline
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Default A/C or Heat Pump

I'm just starting out. Can anyone tell me if there is a sure (easy) way to tell if a heat pump is installed?
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  #2  
Old 2/12/10, 2:28 PM
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Wayne B. Wilson, TN 439 Wayne B. Wilson, TN 439 is online now
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Default Re: A/C or Heat Pump

Jim Look at the condenser and look for the Reversing valve, and likley the thermostat will give you a hint.
Maybe take the nachi Course https://www.nachi.org/hvaccourse.htm

Last edited by wwilson3; 2/12/10 at 2:41 PM..
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  #3  
Old 2/12/10, 2:43 PM
Keith Runquist Keith Runquist is offline
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Default Re: A/C or Heat Pump

In our climate the heat pump is always up off the ground to accomodate dripping and ice underneath. Also to keep it above the snow. They are typically about 1 foot off the ground on a stand.



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Old 2/12/10, 2:43 PM
Wayne B. Wilson, TN 439's Avatar
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Default Re: A/C or Heat Pump

c-heat-pump-reversvalve.jpg
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  #5  
Old 2/12/10, 4:15 PM
jmacdonald jmacdonald is offline
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Default Re: A/C or Heat Pump

Thanks Wayne. Very helpful. I will take the course. And thanks for the photo.
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Old 2/12/10, 4:16 PM
jmacdonald jmacdonald is offline
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Default Re: A/C or Heat Pump

Thanks as well Keith another very useful bit of info.
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Old 2/12/10, 11:28 PM
Chuck Lambert Chuck Lambert is offline
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Default Re: A/C or Heat Pump

The id tag usually states 'Heat Pump'
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Old 2/13/10, 11:15 AM
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Default Re: A/C or Heat Pump

Running the heat, the condenser will be running.

Thermostat will have an "emergency" or "auxiliary" heat mode. Caveat: some heat pumps have been incorrectly installed with a traditional thermostat, and that would be wrong.



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Old 2/13/10, 2:04 PM
kluce kluce is offline
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Default Re: A/C or Heat Pump

Another indication is three ports to hook up the Freon gauges.

Where are you from?
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  #10  
Old 2/13/10, 2:08 PM
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David A. Andersen, TN HI# 40 David A. Andersen, TN HI# 40 is offline
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Default Re: A/C or Heat Pump

http://www.midtninspections.com/blog?page=2

They all don't note "Heat Pump" on the data plate.

Thermostat should have an emergency/axillary heat option (but don't bank on it)!

Not all three ports are visible without pulling the unit apart.

Running in heat may not energize the outdoor unit (there is no condenser on a heat pump).

There is not always an accumulator.

As Wayne posted, look into the fan grill and look for the reversing valve.
That is the only sure way.

We use "refrigerant gauges", Freon is a manufacturer not the gas in the unit.



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Last edited by dandersen; 2/13/10 at 2:16 PM..
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Old 2/13/10, 2:35 PM
kluce kluce is offline
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Default Re: A/C or Heat Pump

Quote:
Originally Posted by dandersen View Post
http://www.midtninspections.com/blog?page=2

They all don't note "Heat Pump" on the data plate.

Thermostat should have an emergency/axillary heat option (but don't bank on it)!

Not all three ports are visible without pulling the unit apart.

Running in heat may not energize the outdoor unit (there is no condenser on a heat pump).

There is not always an accumulator.

As Wayne posted, look into the fan grill and look for the reversing valve.
That is the only sure way.

We use "refrigerant gauges", Freon is a manufacturer not the gas in the unit.
Man, you sound like a "glass that's half empty" type of person between what you just wrote and that article.

Air conditioning for residential is not an exact science and many methods I've seen used (that are a lot faster) puts those freon level and temperature drop right in that range.

The guy wants to be able to identify a heat pump. I think the suggestions we gave him are a great start to help him with his learning curve.
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Old 2/13/10, 2:46 PM
kluce kluce is offline
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Default Re: A/C or Heat Pump

I found this real quick. You can see the third port on the housing above and middle of the two freon lines.

In most cases, the third connection is accessible so the service tech or installer can hook that Freon hose to it. You might have to take off that service panel to see it.
Attached Thumbnails
c-heat-pump-froen-ports-heat-pump.jpg  
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  #13  
Old 2/13/10, 2:51 PM
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Default Re: A/C or Heat Pump

Quickest thing is looking for the reversing valve it has been a rare event not seeing one.
BTW Try touching the suction line ( bigger line) if it is hot it is a heat pump ( if it is running that is )
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  #14  
Old 2/13/10, 5:57 PM
David A. Andersen, TN HI# 40's Avatar
David A. Andersen, TN HI# 40 David A. Andersen, TN HI# 40 is offline
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Default Re: A/C or Heat Pump

Quote:
Air conditioning for residential is not an exact science
Oh but it "is" my friend!

Maybe you can use the temp drop in your neck of the woods, but humidity (which is latent heat) throws that stuff right out the window in many parts of the country.

You just do what you think is right for you.

As nowhere in any SOP is HVAC diagnostics part of Home Inspection, I think the new guys should think long and hard about it.

Most HI Law Suits are about HVAC stuff.

The temp drop works when the HVAC systems are deigned correctly in the first place. But a HI has no idea if this is the case.

At what friction loss do you design your HVAC systems?
How do you test for friction loss?
If this is not set up correctly, a thermometer tells you nothing.



"working together to get-IR-done" Chris Walsh
Bracebridge, Ontario:


David A. Andersen & Associates
Clarksville - Nashville Home Inspector Lic#40
http://www.midtninspections.com
ITC Level III Thermographer Cert#1958
Building Science Thermographer Cert#33784
http://www.thermalimagingscan.com
HVAC Certification EPA Cert#2046620
BPI# 5015804
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  #15  
Old 2/13/10, 7:02 PM
kluce kluce is offline
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Default Re: A/C or Heat Pump

[QUOTE]
Quote:
Originally Posted by dandersen View Post
Oh but it "is" my friend!
It's been a while since I did heating and cooling but if I remember correctly, there was a +/- 3 psi when charging using the super heat method.

Quote:
As nowhere in any SOP is HVAC diagnostics part of Home Inspection, I think the new guys should think long and hard about it.
I agree with this statement. Even when a home inspector can discover something as simple as a dirty filter, there are other problems that can exist such as a dirty A-coil.

Quote:
Most HI Law Suits are about HVAC stuff.
I wonder how true that is throughout the USA. In this area I was told it's foundation problems (example: water seepage).

Quote:
The temp drop works when the HVAC systems are deigned correctly in the first place. But a HI has no idea if this is the case.

At what friction loss do you design your HVAC systems?
How do you test for friction loss?
If this is not set up correctly, a thermometer tells you nothing.
I personally think that cost and homeowners wants will prevent getting the idea numbers. Is that person going to design a house or use the right components resulting in proper static pressure and velocity pressure = friction loss? I doubt it. Is that homeowner going to replace part if not all the duct when the new furnace is replacing that 40 year old one. I doubt it. That's why there is leeway.

O-well, It's 6pm and I got to get out of the office now and get home so my wife and I can enjoy a night out without the kids.

Good night all.
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