New heat pump needs new blower motor-worried?

route502February 5, 2012

Hello- we just had a new heat pump installed in September - right away I noticed a loud/ low metallic sound at shutdown.

Living a Arizona we did not use it long before the heat subsided and it was off for quite awhile - once it cooled down and we turned it back on - noise was still there. Original installer came out and said the blower motor needed replaced.

Should I be worried? It seems like a lot of money to put down on a new item only to find out that this part was seemingly bad from the start. is this a sign of things to come?

Any insight is appreciated.

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Your first inclination to be concerned is a natural one.

You did not state the model/brand of the air handler.

Did you ask tech if he was able to determine cause of the failure?

Keep in mind anything mechanical/electrical can fail. That is a fact.

Your situation is rare but not uncommon. Blower motors can fail due to undersized ductwork and not changing filters.

I assume installing dealer covered both the replacement motor under warranty both part and labor. He should have.

If you want piece of mind, perhaps you can purchase an Ext warranty that covers parts and labor.

I would not relate this specific problem to others in the future.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 5:57AM
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Tiger- Thanks for your response. It is a Ruud RQRM 16 seer,4 ton unit. It has a 10 year parts (including compressor) warranty.

I did not ask if he was able to determine the cause- but I will at follow up. And you are correct- he is not charging anything for the repair/replace visit.

I will take your advice and keep the repair to myself in the future and also look into the extended P/L warranty. Do you buy that from the company (Ruud) or a 3rd party?


    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 2:04PM
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No third party warranty.

Ask installing dealer about Ruud/Rheem Ext warranty to cover labor.

You might want to post back with the mdl number of the air handler.

Ruud/Rheem HP condensers mid to high end models if matched with the correct air handler have excellent performance/efficiency numbers.

And BTW, just my opinion but Ruud/Rheem are one of the most overlooked and underrated brands in the residential market.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 2:18PM
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Your opinion about the brand is encouraging.

I believe the Model # is RQRM-A048JK

Another place it is written in the paper work - it has the same number but with 000 after it.

I am assuming the duct work is original to the house - 1971.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 3:02PM
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Well they should have changed ductwork if it was that old and reconfigured it if needed. Also parts do fail I would,t stress to much look into xtended warranty.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 12:35PM
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If it helps any, I would like to back up the other guys by saying, the motor needing replacement means nothing as far as the integrity of the overall unit is concerned. I've put in brand new replacement motors (and compressors)and watched them burn up before my tools were packed to leave. It happens and we don't like it either. Not much money can be made on call backs!!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 3:12PM
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Heat and Maryland- thanks for your input. I am feeling better about the situation now. My next step will be to look into the extended coverage.

Heat mentioned the ductwork may need replaced. I don' think we could have paid for it at the time since the unit/ install was a big bite. But is that something that should be on the " to do list"?

Generally speaking - Should ducts be cleaned/ replaced?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 4:22PM
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I found myself writing a book concerning your question about duct replacement possibilities so I redid this to merely skim the topic since you do need to be informed.

When it comes to discussing ductwork and design parameters in these forums, you can bet there will be a lot of information that will confuse the lay you as well as cause a bit of anxiety. There is no doubt, the distribution system must be studied when retrofitting a cooling system into an existing system. It can be very costly also. Some things have changed since 1971 but most parameters have remained . If the distribution is undersized or not properly balanced, you'll experience less than desired comfort levels during certain periods of a day. It is quite possible the unit itself will need replacement if the ductwork is upgraded. Since ductwork redesign and replacement can be quite expensive, in my own business, I will put in writing any needs for upgrading and what the customer can expect if they choose not to do it. Things such as some rooms during mid afternoon may not reach desired temperatures, unit may run constantly during certain temperature ranges, etc. The customer can then decide what they are willing to live with. If the system is going to be so too poorly effective, I generally will elect to refuse to do the work.
I know you spent a lot of money so far and, if we get into these many detailed variables, you are going to feel less and less fuzzy on the money you spent, even though everything could be just fine. I've gone into many homes built in the 60's, 70's and beyond where the installation company took into account there may be air conditioning added at a later date and, sized the distribution accordingly. For example,most homes built during and before those times were not concerned with the insulation factoring as it is today. That's why hiring a reputable and knowledgeable company is your best bet. You'll know them, they stand behind their work just as your guy has already. If you ask them questions regarding the ductwork and other things, they'll give you straight non-cryptic answers and examples. Your guy obviously considered the ductwork since he did mention there is an issue with it.
For your sake, so you can sleep better tonight, perhaps you might want to take things in steps so you won't become overwhelmed. It's very possible your guy took all the variables into account since he is from your area and familiar with the construction and design requirements in the area. Post back later in the cooling system with any issues you have and the many knowledgeable people here can help pinpoint the possibilities.

The yea/nay arguments for duct cleaning swing a wide swath in both directions. Proper filter selections and maintenance will minimize accumulation in ductwork. You're not going to eliminate it so duct cleaning would be an endless effort. I hate to say this but,there are many duct cleaning companies that are pure rip offs. You can inspect your own ducts and determine your own thresh hold of dust in there. Unless you have allergies, globs of dust are collecting in the registers, bad smells are coming from the ductwork, I would suggest leaving it alone. A company that merely runs a big vacuum through the ducts hasn't done much anyhow. If they run a swab through each duct (which very few do) as they vacuum, they are doing a bit better but within a month, you'll have more dust in there. Static will cause it to stick.

That brings another controversial issue to mind. Some suggest changing the filter once a month. I actually discourage this being done. The filter should be inspected once a month. A filter that has some dust on it is actually more efficient than a brand new filter. The static charge caused by the dust will act to collect more dust. The filter should be changed when it becomes obvious that it is dirty. If I do get a customer that cannot fathom the difference, then I will suggest they go ahead and change it. I will base the frequency on factors consistent with conditions where they live.

So to sum it up, you might see some deficiencies based on duct design, no need to have the ducts cleaned unless there is an obvious reason to do so. Extended warranties most times are not cost effective. Unless there is something grossly out of kilter with your new system, I think you'll be satisfied it was money well spent. From what you described about your technician so far, he seems honest and competent.

I hope this helps!!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 10:19AM
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Maryland - it certainly does help. Thanks for your time and the information on the ductwork. Really our main concern was a 350 sq ft addition that got too hot in the summer.

Our tech actually did not suggest changing the ductwork (another poster on the board mentioned it may be a possibility). He checked the addition and said the airflow coming from the vent was strong and he felt confident that a properly sized unit would remedy the too hot room. The pending Arizona summer will answer that soon enough.

You have backed up what I had felt about duct cleaning and shed light on filters and changing them.

Thanks again, I really appreciate it!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 2:13AM
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Hello All,

First my apologies for posting this question as a response to an existing thread. I just could not figure out how to start a new thread and no matter what I tried, I was going in circles. Anyhow, I hope this question is relevant to this thread and will appreciate any answers.

First the facts: I had a 5 Ton Rheem heat pump installed in our home to replace an 18-year old Lennox heat pump (Model HP22-461-2P) of about 3 or 3.5 Ton capacity which ran its course of life. The Air Handler is installed in the Attic and the external unit is outside. I bought the unit brand new and had it installed by a licensed HVAC contractor. The model of Rheem Air Handler Installed inside the Attic is RHPL-HM6024JC. The model of Rheem Heat Pump (External unit) is RPRL-060JEC. They are purchased as a packaged unit from a Rheem wholesaler through the web and I confirmed through Rheem officials that the units are compatible with each other and the seller is licensed to sell them. These are installed by a local contractor with a Honeywell FocusPRO TH6000 series thermostat which he, the contractor supplied on his own as per the agreement we signed.. The heat pump is advertised as 2-stage.
Now, the problem: From the time it is installed on January 26, 2012, the outside fan is not blowing. I asked the contractor about it, and he seemed not sure, but told me not to worry about it and that it will come on when necessary. Then I read a little bit about heat pumps and also recalled that in the case of the earlier heat pump, the outside blower was running much of the time. Toward the end of its life (i.e., just before the installation of the new unit, however, the outside unit had ice formed all over it, and the fan was still struggling to run. A few contractors who came to look at it to give an estimate said that the old unit pretty much ran its life and that it needed to be replaced. One of them said with so much ice outside the heat pump is doing nothing but wasting electricity and disconnected the outside unit from the socket and asked us to put the inside thermostat to emergency heat because that is how we were getting the heat anyhow. This was the condition at the time of the new installation. The new contractor of course, threw out the old outside unit as well as the in-the-attic air handler and and replaced them with the new Rheem units and installed the Honeywell thermostat FocusPRO TH6000.

Since the installation, I kept observing the outside unit and found that it was never running. I contacted the contractor after a couple of days and he said we could test it by turning off the circuit breaker for the outside unit off and wait for 5 minutes and then turn it on to see if it would come. When we did that, the outside unit fan did come on, but within a minute or two after picking up speed, it shut itself off. The home is getting heated, but I am concerned that the unit is running as an electric heater rather than as a heat pump because the outside fan is not running at all. This seems extremely unusual.
I wrote to the supplier and he says the problem is most likely caused by wrong installation or wrong wiring. When I asked the contractor about it, he adamantly maintains that there is Zero Wrong with his wiring, but he does not have an explanation as to why the outside fan is not blowing. I wrote to the supplier again, and he says that in the most unlikely event that something is wrong with any of their components, they will replace them under warranty if I get a written estimate and a confirmation of the problem. My guess is that the contractor made some error in the wiring, perhaps a simple one, but am not sure what it is.

According to the Owner's manual I downloaded, the Rheem heat pump is with serial communicating technology and it consists of Indoor Air handler, Outdoor air conditioning condensing unit/heat pump, and a touchscreen thermostat. The touchscreen thermostat is not supplied along with the heat pump and air handler. I asked the supplier about communicating technology and he responded that they could supply it for about $400 extra. They confirmed that "The heat pump system is definitely equipped with Rheem's Comfort Control System Serial Communicating Technology. Looking at the specs document you can see that the heat pump is equipped with this technology. The air handler you bought RHPLHM6024JC is also Communicating. This system was designed as a matched Communicating system. In order to achieve the benefits of the Communicating system you will need a Rheem 500 series thermostat. The thermostat is not included in in what you purchased. To keep prices low we sell matched split systems and let customers choose their own thermostats."
I would like to know:
a) How we can diagnose the reasons for the outside fan not running
b) Whether the outside fan is supposed to spin when the unit is on Heat and the temperature is cold outside.
c) How we can fix it to ensure that the unit is functioning as a heat pump
d) Whether it is advisable to consider purchasing the thermostat recommended by Rheem have it installed.

Thank you for any info or guidance you can provide.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 2:35AM
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This thread is expired.

Start your own thread by reposting.

You will get better response as more people will read it.

You need a Rheem qualified dealer familiar with this high end system


    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 8:03AM
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Thank you for the advice. I have finally posted it as a new thread.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 11:42AM
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by the way the outside fan should be running all time in heat mode. also

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 12:49PM
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