Heat Pump or Electric Heat??

Inspecting a house today built in 1998… The house appears to have a heat pump Goodman/Janitrol Model# CPKE-24 serial #9802438159, but i wasn’t sure. The refrigerant suction lines had the low and high pressure lines present. The thermostat was a digital hunter, but it didn’t have auxiliary heat button present. I thought that all heat pumps must have a auxiliary mode. The compressor fan was running during the heating cycle with a 30* differential between the return verses the register (running heating cycles 50* outside). Can anyone help…





I can tell you from the git go when dealing with heat pumps there are no rules you will find every thing under the sun out there. If you can not see the reversing valve down inside the exterior condensing unit. An easy way to tell what you have going on is by the old feel/touchy method. In the normal heat mode the suction line (the large one) will feel very hot to the touch and in the cool mode it will feel cool just like a standard A/C. I personally have not observed a heat pump system without a emergency heat switch on the thermostat does not mean that some MFG has build a better mouse trap that I am not aware of.

Had two heat pumps on one inspection last week when you turned the stat to normal heat the inside gas furnace fired off and when the stat was turned to emergency heat the inside gas furnace fired off again the heat pumps were installed to be used as a conventional A/C otherwise the owner of the home paid for two high dollar heat pumps that were never wired as anything but conventional A/C units. Someone purchased a pig in a poke and never knew it.

This says it’s a heat pump.


Good chance that is wrong type of thermostat. I’ve seen that a number of times, especially with do it yourselfers, or when switching from AC to HP without replacing thermostat.

Very possible been there done that. Very easy to tell turn the sucker to normal heat and see what happens its not going to blow up put ya hand on the suction line if it burns ya you will know:D:D

Good tip…and so true. :slight_smile:

Where are you located? Some warm areas leave out the electric strip kits.
This makes for some really cold air in the winter when the thing goes into defrost mode.

With heat pumps you have to look at the breaker size and wire size to the airhandler for several reasons.

  1. To see if it is even wired for aux heat/ Eheat kit. Some small systems will have a 30 amp 240V feed for a 5kw kit and larger ones have a 7.5kw (typically 40amp breaker) or 10kw (typically a 60 amp breaker)

  2. Then see if it works before you get the ducts all heated up from running the heat pump or measure the current draw as Charley and others do.

  3. Another oversight many inspectors make is to run up the t-stat more than two degrees and think they are checking the air temp from the heat pump when it is probably running the compressor and the heat strips both. Worst case here is thinking the heat pump is working when only a 10kw kit is running since the 10kw’s will put out lots of hot air.

Typically, the installer forgot to mark which size kit he installed on the side of the airhandler so that is another writeup but not something I always write up unless the unit is new or already has other issues reported.

Todays Job -

Recent remodel / rehab.

T-stat has emergency heat setting. Condensor outside has black insulated shell down in condensor over compressor / Can’t see if it had reversing valve in there or not. Nothing on data tag saying listed for Heat Pump application. Only see 5 wires at furnace low voltage control.

Turn it to cool / in about 5 minutes I’m down to 47 degrees. Turn off … wait 10 minutes kick it into heat / in about 5 minutes its cooling like crazy AGAIN … but NO heat.

Turn unit off and wait 15 minutes and kick it into emergency heat and gas furnace kicks in ASAP.

Filter missing and flex gas line goes thru case wall of furnace … Yahoo!!

Commentary … Describe what is happening the Recommend …

Get COMPETENT heating contractor out and do it right

I had another heat pump last week with two electrical strips and one did not work had the stat cranked up to 90 degrees and it never activated amp meter is the quick way to determine this:D

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If you turn it on heat mode and the outdoor unit is running, it’s a heat pump. If it’s a heat pump and there is no aux. heat mode on the thermostat, that’s a defect in my inspections. Always test the aux. heat mode.

In the last few years in my area, they have been installing heatpumps without emergency heat switches. I just turn the thermostat up one or two degrees higher and the heatpump kicks on. Then I run the thermostat a few degrees higher and the emergency heat kicks on and the heatpump kicks off.