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Condo Heat Pump..problems?

EMP1729

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#1
If anyone has a Whalen Heat Pump in their condo unit, could you let me know the performance of such unit?

I find that in the winter, depending on the temp outside, the heat pump can only heat my unit between 16 and 22 deg C. The colder it is outside, the less it can heat inside. So if it is -5 degC, it is usually around 16 degC inside.

In the summer, it can't cool the place if the temp outside is high 20s or over 30 deg c. It usually keeps the temp around 28 deg C. I don't even bother running it in the summer (I do save on electricity though)

A HVAC technician did look at the unit and said it was fine. Is it really fine? Is this normal?
 

freshcutgrass

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#2
I assume this is a water-soarced heat pump (air-to-air heat pumps are not efficient).

Your problem could stem from a number of things...

The unit may be old and not functioning efficiently
The water source may not be efficient enough to move the heat to/from your heat pump
The forced air/duct system is not designed well

The most likely problem is your unit is simply not sized correctly for your space/heat loss requirements. A water-sourced heat pump is capable of giving you all the heating/cooling needs you could want....provided the BTU capacity is sufficient. A heat pump cannot produce any more BTUs than it's maximum capacity.
 

DSC

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#3
A very typical problem is that your thermostat is not working properly. A competent HVAC company used to working with heat pumps in condos can do an evaluation of the pump, the thermostat etc.
 

freshcutgrass

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#4
Well, he did say he had a technician check to make sure everything was working properly. Unless he was incompetent?

There may be nothing wrong with the "equipment", but there is obviously something wrong with the "design" if it isn't providing adequate heating/cooling.

Other than being the most common problem, I suspect the sizing as the problem because of the temp numbers he mentioned. Generally speaking, the biggest load in Ontario is heating and units are sized to that load. But with the numbers he gave, it appears the cooling load is bigger than the heating load. 16C on the coldest days is a little too cold, but not being able to cool the unit below 28C is much worse.
 

EMP1729

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#5
Thanks y'all for the feedback. I am going to call a different HVAC service co to take a look at the heat pump. I'll post what happens.
 

pisha

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#6
Hi EMP1729,

I have a Whalen heat pump in my condo..I don't have the same problem you have. In fact I find the unit did a more than adequate job heating in the winter and cooling in the summer.

That being said, I'm replacing my unit because the reversing valve is broken. It has been fairly warm in Toronto so far, so I hadn't bothered to turn on the heat. It finally got a little chilly not so long ago and I realized the instead of making my unit warmer, the "heat" was making it colder! Management gave me the number of a company to call. First time, they suspected the problem was due to some capacitor. Second visit, they installed a capacity booster but then the refrigerant kicked in full force. Third time, they sent someone qualified to do coolant work, and confirmed the valve was defective.

To replace the valve ($200), I was told that they would have to drain the coolant ($700) for a total quote of $900 for the work..

It was recommended to me that I replace the entire unit with the newer model 410A for $2700 in the event that the compressor failed ($1200 fix) or that something else in the unit broke. This is the option I went with...had a new thermostat installed as well and so far so good.
 

fabf2

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#8
pisha, a few questions.

"That being said, I'm replacing my unit because the reversing valve is broken."

Pisha,
Our heat pump appears to be seized. Was this what happened to you when you set it for heat?

Also could you please describe in more detail how they tried to "bump" start the unit? (I may have used the wrong term here.) Do you know what it is supposed to accomplish?

Do you know why the service company could not have captured and returned the refrigerant to your unit after the valve was changed?

Do you know what a "capacity booster" is/was? Was this an electrical capacitor about the size of pickle with wires used for starting motors or some other device?


What company finally diagnosed the reversing valve problem?

Thanks, I look forward to your answers

Michelle
 
Last edited:

pisha

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#9
Hi there, sorry for the tardy response..

@Doug: I'm not really sure where the compressor is...

@fabf2: What do you mean seized? When I set it to heat, it would make whirring noises. It appeared to be taking in air from outside (cold air) and blowing it inside. So there was air coming from the vents..

The technician first tried installing a new capacitor to give it an extra boost. He said the original units are made really cheap and don't use the greatest parts.

The service company didn't say they couldn't return the refrigerant to the unit. I don't think they ever had any intention to replace the refrigerant. The process or removing it and putting it back in would be expensive.

Don't know what a capacitor booster is lol sorry!

The company who replaced the unit for me was Green Air Technologies. My friend's boyfriend does some of this work and said the price he gave me was a reasonable one, as his company charges $3500 for a new unit..

Hope that helps.
 
J

Josef

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#10
A lot of owners at Park Lake Residences are experiencing failure with their heating system from Whalen. This is exactly right after the two year warranty. It's a manufacturers defect. Owners are paying between 400-1400 to get it repaired and some technicians are stating that it will happen again. I'm trying to get to the bottom of this.
 

Wantboost

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#12
Which type of hvac system doesn't share are or recirculate central air?? I wanna get a condo that doesn't do this for allergy reasons... As I have found some condos when u shut off the hvac unit the blower does shut off but air is still coming out the vents. Ie the building is spill recirculating air...
 

DSC

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#13
Which type of hvac system doesn't share are or recirculate central air?? I wanna get a condo that doesn't do this for allergy reasons... As I have found some condos when u shut off the hvac unit the blower does shut off but air is still coming out the vents. Ie the building is spill recirculating air...
Many older and better condos have heat loop systems where the building supplies hot and cold water but each unit has its own heat pump and each unit is completely separate from others. Of course YOU own your heat pump and they cost c$5000 to replace.
 

Wantboost

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#14
How Can i recognized a heat pump... the condo I'm talking about that re circulates air is only 1.5 year-old .