Goodman heat pumps under a deck

tom_nwnjJuly 12, 2007


I have 2 goodman heat pumps (model GSH130301A).

I want to build a deck, which will be approx 18" over the top of the machines.

The Goodman installation instructions say not to have any obstructions less than 60 inches above.

If I place grates in the deck to let the exhaust pass, should there be any problem? (the grates will be 32" X 32" with the deck frame headed off - no 2x8s over the heat pumps)

What do you think a Goodman engineer would say ?

(the building inspector needs a signoff from the mfg)


Tom F

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a bad idea.

Could cause your units to prematurely fail and most likely would void any warranty.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 12:44PM
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Thanks for responding tigerdunes,

Do you understand, though, that I intend to put commercial grade grates over the heat pump exhaust. I haven't ordered them yet, because I did not know what the minimum size opening in the grate needs to be. But I certainly thought that some size grate opening would be sufficient (2.5 maybe 3 inch)

Also, doesn't it matter where the placement of the heat pumps is on the site? I am in a semi-rural area (6 acre lot). The house is located on the highest spot on the lot. The area where the heat pumps are is against the house, but open on 3 sides. The wind moves very freely around them.

Before getting these goodman units, we had GE heat pumps (already here when we bought the house). They actually had corrugated fiberglass roof over them. Those machines lasted about 20 years.

Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 1:34PM
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that close to the deck is a usually a no-no. you said 2.5 to 3" grate openings, well teh inspector probably won't like that as someone could easily trip/get a foot caught there.

call goodman and ask them.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 4:57PM
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Not good. Stuff will fall into the spinning blades, the tech that comes to work on it will not be able to or want to.
Build around them leaving 24" on all sides or move them.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 6:31PM
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1) davidandkasie I just threw out a number. I don't care. I just know that there are some big grates out there because my dog has to walk around them on the sidewalk in some municipalities.

2) daddo - the heat pumps come with a fine grate attached on the top (Much more restrictive than the grates I want to add). Those grates are still there. No sticks will get in.

3) kalining - "not to have any obstuctions less than 60
inches " So, what is the reason that they say that? Thanks for responding.

Look, I bought and paid for the heat pumps. If I want to bust the machines that I paid for, what business is it of the town's to say I can't?

Something doesn't add up. As mentioned, the prior heat pumps had "roofs" over them. Now we can't even have a grill over them.

I suspect this has nothing to do with the exhaust fan/warranty of a heat pump. I suspect it has only to do with the SEER rating of a heat pump. Meaning that, if I restrict the exhaust of the Goodman machine, the SEER will drop, and it will be less than the standard they promised to the DOE when delivered from their factory.

Please someone show me that I am wrong.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 8:22PM
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No doubt that placing anything that close over the top of them will restrict the airflow to some degree - Probably quite a lot

As the airflow is restricted, the temps will rise and with that, the high side pressures will rise and of course the efficiencies will decrease and the compressor will work harder, get hotter and not last as long

Goodman wants them to last at least as long as the warranty period and hopefully, much longer which is why they recommend the clearances they do - I wouldn't do it because they aren't going to last as long as they should and because they are going to cost you more to run than they should . . . . even if the town would allow it


    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 10:23PM
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Why would you want all that noise right on your deck when you want to enjoy it?
I sure as hell wouldn't like being a dinner guest on your deck - full of hot air & noise pollution.

kalining is right, but if you know better, do what you like!



    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 10:33PM
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Tom. welcome to the club. Know exactly how you feel. There is a bylaw in Winnipeg, canada that says you cannot produce
more than 80% of your own hydro. you cannot have a wind charger or store storage batteries ( car batteries for the
wind charger ). If you buy any property in the sub burbs
that has a well and if city sewer and water is avalable
you HAVE to cap the well and fill it with concrete. i think
that is bigger brother. I know the feeling. Why don't you
raise the deck just over the fans something like a large box or a large setting area ? that will give you clearance
and extra places to sit and get a nice warm bum if it is warm enough to be out.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 12:55PM
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My plan B is to put up the deck, cut 1 square hole around around each heat pump, put railings around each hole and hang a sign on each set of railings: "Please don't feed the bears".

Actually my HVAC contractor returned my call. He says that the grates, from an engineering point of view, will not be a problem and that he will get a letter from the authorized Goodman distributor to that effect. He says the guys at the distributor are engineers (I don't know what kind).

I suspect I may still need to get a letter on Goodman stationary But, it's a start.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 2:28PM
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Atually the holes around the units were going to be my
second idea. should work. Good luck. is there going to be
enough clearance to service the units ?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 2:42PM
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Sounds like you have an awful lot of space to work with around your house. With six acres, wouldn't it be simpler to build a patio out a little ways from the house? Perhaps in some shady area with surrounding trees. Or, if you have your heart set on a deck, perhaps you could simply have a narrow section of decking between the door of the house (sort of like a bridge) and the main part of the deck (which could be about 8 feet out from the house), thereby avoiding the heat pumps altogether. That would allow plenty of room for servicing the units, you wouldn't have the problem of debris falling through a grating into the units, and it might be more interesting from a design point of view.

If that doesn't work, perhaps you could simply move the units to a different side of the house. It might cost some extra dough, but if moved to a side of the house where you don't spend much time, you wouldn't have to look at them, and the deck location problem goes away.

Several years ago I moved a really big AC unit that a previous owner had installed outside the door to the back garden, right where I wanted patio area. It wasn't terribly expensive get it relocated, and it brought peace and quiet to the garden -- not to mention ridding the patio of an eyesore. Money well spent in my opinion.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 7:54PM
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kalining - "Good luck. is there going to be
enough clearance to service the units ?"

Not a lot, about 5' high under the deck.

That brings up an interesting point though. And since this is my second set of heat pumps, I have an idea of what is going on.

The first set, as well as this set, have a manual shutoff on the theromostat. The bottom number is recommended at 28°F.

On the original set (GE) I was careless. I didn't always shut them off. And then the defroster failed. I had the defroster serviced, but the damage was done. That's one of the reasons that I had them replaced.

I am wondering if the building inspector, with all his "enthusiasm" for protecting my property, will be calling me every night that the temp falls below 28° F recommending that I shut off my heat pumps (maximum sarcasm here).

From my experience, that's the wear point for the heat pumps, not how much air can circulate.

Here's an old pic of my house from a distance. The heat pumps are on the left side of the building (east). We have an American flag on that corner. There is so much air circulation that I have to replace the flag about every three or four years. My HVAC guy says he does lots of installs where people have privacy fences, large garbage containers, sheds, whatever nearby. That's why he says we don't have an air circulation problem, with or without a deck.

Jamesk - the deck is not even my idea, the DW wants it. Please talk to her about alternative sites (but she is co-owner of all the property and mechanicals also). She is not thrilled either with the line "OK you own it, but you still can't do it."

    Bookmark   July 14, 2007 at 7:34AM
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Mrs tom nwnj,

Your DH says I should talk to, I guess I'll stick my neck out...and here goes --

Wow great looking property! It's a little hard to get a sense of the house from the photo, but the setting looks idylic. Although I realize you may have some particular reason for wanting a wood deck...your place seems to me to be calling out for a natural stone patio. A spot down a stone or gravel path in the shade of trees with views out over your beautiful terrain would seem perfect to me. Perhaps something along these lines:

Situating a patio away from the house makes a very inviting destination. A curving or meandering path will tend to draw you and your guests out into the garden where you can enjoy the views or some nice focal point situated in the surrounding landscape.

With the addition of some choice low growing-border plantings to provide some sense of enclosure, and perhaps a patio-sized ornamental tree or two....and voila! Martha Stewart's got nothing on you.

Anyway, I thought I'd give it a shot. Beyond that, I'm definitely in the camp that says "OK you own it, you can do whatever you want."

    Bookmark   July 14, 2007 at 2:25PM
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Wife of jamesk,

Thanks for all thoughtful suggestions. But the deck needs to be where it is, because it is close to the kitchen (sink, dishwasher, etc).

As for me, I am going along with it because this location overlooks a 1/2 acre pond that we share with our neighbor. In the spring the pond is a "B&B" for ducks, including common mergansers. If you have never watched mergansers, you are missing out.

But the stone patio idea is a great one. Maybe on the otherside (westfacing).

    Bookmark   July 14, 2007 at 6:46PM
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"From my experience, that's the wear point for the heat pumps, not how much air can circulate."

Pretty limited experience set there.
But go for it.
It is your money.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 12:15PM
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The horse in that photo needs a hair cut.

Take care and good luck.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 2:38PM
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A neighbor built a large lattice enclosure for his heat pump. It didn't work at all.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 6:22PM
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