Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC/heat pump


QUESTION: I have an electric heat pump. (Brand=Trane). The inside component is in a closet with ductwork going up through the top.  The AC has been used just about every summer.  I do not know when the heat has been turned on last, but we are selling the property and the people are going to live there in the winter.  We have not turned on the heat as we are not sure it it should be serviced first, but it is getting pretty cold as we wait for the closing on the property.  

Is it a pretty safe bet that if the indoor coil works for the AC then it will work for the heat, assuming everything is was set up property from the beginning?  Will flipping on the heat for the first time in many years be a hazard if the AC has been working fine for all those years?  We do have two breakers, one for heat pump and one for AC.  I always switch them both on to run the AC...not sure if that is necessary either.  In the reverse, if I do run the heat pump, does the AC breaker need to be on?  

Thank you so much for taking your valuable time to advise me.  


ANSWER: Jonathan,

If the system was properly set up from the beginning your system should work OK . I would verify the indoor coil is really clean ,a dirty indoor coil while in heat mode ,will increase your refrigerant pressures higher than normal and cause issues. Blow it out, or wash it down if somewhat dirty. You need both circuit breakers on when running in heat or cool mode, You do not mention if you have electric heat elements on the indoor fan section to help heat the house once the Heat Pump can't handle the load on very cold OD temperature days. You do mention you have a electric Heat Pump only. There should not be an issue to run your HP in heat mode after many years of not being used. There is only one part outside that switches the refrigerant flow from heat to cool and vise versa, and that part is very reliable. You should not have any problems. If your system worked fine in A/C mode it should work OK in heat. Just double check the indoor coil and tell the new owners to change the air filter regularly. Make sure all your supply registers are open, and return(s) are not blocked or a heavy coat of dust build up ,(decreasing air from getting to the coil ) You need good air flow across the indoor unit while in heat mode.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your reply.  Is the indoor coil typically easily accessible in the configuration that I described?  I'm not sure if there are electric heat elements or not.  Where would those be and what is the implication of having them?  

Thanks again.


There are typically 6  5/16" hex head screws on the blower door to expose the coil. You want to check the inlet side of the coil if possible.The electric heaters are located upstream of the blower wheel. You may or may not have them .If you live in a cold climate state you probably have them. They help the Heat Pump when the outdoor temp.gets colder and the HP can't make enough heat to satisfy the t-stat set point.

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40+ years diversified experience.An HVAC/Refrigeration Self Employed Contractor since 1986. NATE Certifield. Answer questions pertaining to Residential and Commercial Air Conditioning , Warm Air Heating, Heat Pump systems.Mechanical and Electrical troubleshooting of these systems.Be as detailed as possible when describing problem.Packaged unit or split systems.No appliance questions.


Installation and Troubleshooting, Mechanical and Electrical, in following areas, Refrigeration ( Walk In and Reach In Coolers and Freezers ) Commercial Roof Top and Packaged Heating/Cooling ( Natural Gas,Propane, Electric, and Heat Pumps ) Computer Room Air Conditoning Systems,Commercial Residential Packaged and Split Systems Air Conditoning and Heat Pumps.Warm Air Oil , Natural and Propane Gas Heating systems.

Graduated from Private Technical School in 1975. An HVAC/Refrigeration Contractor . Have Unlimited Heating/Piping and Cooling Contractor License.Limited Sheetmetal Contractors License.NATE Certifield. York Certifield Master Heat Pump Technician 1986. Served 33 years combination Active Duty Air Force , Air Force Reserves and Air National Guard in the HVAC/Refrigeration Shop/Mechanical Shop. Troubleshooting/Installing HVAC/Refrigeration Equiptment Worldwide. Retiring in 2003 as a Senior NCO ,and a Mechanical Superintendent.

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