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Old 12-17-2013, 11:13 AM   #1
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Oh oh, heat pump only blowing cold air

Fan works well, but the cold air coming out ain't right. Full-timing newbies in Texas with lows mostly in the 40s so we've been using heat pump more than furnace. I read somewhere that the efficiency spread for heat demand to outside temp was about 20 so with overnights at 40 have been using the heat pump set at 60.

Couple nights ago, we forgot to set back the heat (68) and about 2AM noticed the heat pump was running but sounded like it was under strain and not at full power. Outside was 37 so I switched for furnace. Since then we have no heat when the thermostat cranks on the fan.

My diagnostic skills are at the bottom of the learning curve here, but seeing other threads, it doesn't look like the temperature differential was anything more than coincidental. (Can you damage the unit by running at too low an outside temp?)

Turning off the thermostat doesn't reset anything but planning next to shut down shore power to see if there might be a computer board that will clear a hick up, but I'm not feeling hopeful.

2010, so warranties long gone, but I have no idea what may have glitched or broke outright, might be repairable, or needing replacement. We bought last July, so I'm presuming the worst regard maintence and don't know if there is a checklist of likely diagnostic steps before looking for a Dometic dealer.

If we do need major repair or replacement, I've not dealt with live-in repairs yet. What's the norm for living in a trailer "in the shop"?

Thanks in advance for any advice or commiseration...
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:24 AM   #2
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RV heat pumps can't pull enough heat out of the air when the air temp gets to 40 and below. My Dometic will start short cycling in the region below 45, i.e. the compressor runs and the fan turns on only when the refrigerant has built enough heat to extract for heating and then goes back off when the refrigerant cools. I use electric space heaters when the temp will get below 45.
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:43 AM   #3
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Try running your heat pump again during the day with the thermostat set at 75* while we are having warmer weather. It may have just been too cold. Mine cycled a lot last weekend with temps in the 30's. We also run two ceramic heaters to help. Works fine.
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:12 PM   #4
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When it gets too cold to operate properly, my heat pumps just stop running. It is usually at freezing or below that they stop running. I have the propane furnace on as well to take up the slack or heat the trailer when the temperature gets too low. In a Classic 30 using the propane furnace the bedroom stays a little colder because the thermostat is in the living room. That's OK, though, because we have a heated mattress cover and an electric blanket and our sleeping bags from the tent camping days.
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:27 PM   #5
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Don't select heat pump or furnace. Put the thermostat on auto and it will cycle between the heat pump and the furnace autoamaticlly when the temp drops to low for the heat pump to work
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:20 PM   #6
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I posted too soon, shutting down the shore power and power to the AC/HP seems to have resolved the issue... or maybe I never had an issue. Checked the thermostat to set an 80 demand and realized the fan was set to high rather than auto so when the fan kicked in previously I may not have waited long enough to have the heat cycle on. You be the judge—pure entertainment for the vets or a lesson for newbies everywhere...
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Old 12-17-2013, 02:39 PM   #7
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We don't use the heat pump because of the noise but use a Dyson Hot heater instead, a good invention.

But if you ran the heat pump steady at 40 degree outside temps, would you extract enough heat to build some ice in the somewhere disabling the system until it thaws?
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Old 12-17-2013, 02:55 PM   #8
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The heat pump goes through a "defrost" cycle periodically to rid the ice buildup. Mine work well down into the mid 30's, then switches to furnace below that.
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Old 12-17-2013, 02:56 PM   #9
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We've used the HP to the high 30s overnight with CC set for 55 but mid-30s and below have used the furnace to protect the ducting and pipes in case the forecast is too optimistic (plus I'm paranoid after a frozen toilet valve in "an almost completely winterized" storage). More I read about the heaters, tho, am thinking a heater for the low 40s overnight might not be a bad idea and even just using as a fan to circulate would be helpful as the bedroom where the thermostat is located tends to be 5-6 degrees cooler than dinning/kitchen area.

Still wondering how folks have dealt with extended repair times on the road and how accomodating shops are for live-in repairs...
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:00 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=almcate;1393113 Still wondering how folks have dealt with extended repair times on the road and how accomodating shops are for live-in repairs...[/QUOTE]

If you could list and save your repairs and route a trip through Jackson Center, OH from time to time, the Airstream Factory Service Center there is an excellent repair facility. Parts are at hand and they are good at their work. You schedule a service appointment ahead of time, then on your day they pull the trailer into the shop at 7 am and work each day until it's done. Each evening as well as before an after your appointment you can stay on site with full hookups for free. They will pull it in and out to your site each day (if the axles/wheels are on).

There may be other similar facilities, but this is a good one.
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:15 PM   #11
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I find the heat pump more of a hassle than it's worth. Especially the noise, the defrost cycle, etc. I use my furnace, and if hooked up find the Dyson heater/fan works really well.
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:17 PM   #12
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Going to Jackson Center is the best thing to do IMHO. They will have the parts and they will fix your trailer while you are there- plus the factory tour and the free campsite-
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