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Mark Henley
Mark Henley, Journeyman Technician
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 3217
Experience:  UA Journeyman Pipefitter , HVAC, Refrigeration, DDC controls. 26 years.Commercial & residential
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Rheem heat pump fan does not start. What could it be?

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I have a RHEEM RPNE 036JAZ heat pump. Manufactured 04/2006. The fan on the outside unit doesn't start up on heat or cool settings. Removing the service panel, I can 't locate any sort of reset switch. I've verified the breakers have been reset at the electrical panel. Any ideas?

Do you know if the contractor was pulled in on the outdoor unit?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I don't know what the contactor is. When I pulled the panel on the back the compressor (black tower is on the bottom left). Then there is a collection of wiring, a capacitor, and an electrical board with a blinking red light on it at the top right.

There is a piece that looks like the contactor list on this site:

Can't remember exactly what it looked like. What should it look like?

Yes that is the contactor. Are you ok with using a voltmeter ?

We need to find out if we have 24 volts on that contactor, the 24V terminlas are the ones on the side of it. It is high voltage on the mains of it. We also need to check that we have high voltage there also.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I don't have access to a voltmeter unfortunately. Literally went to the zoo, came home and no cool air. First warm day in a couple of weeks. Unit didn't kick on heat either when we were doing some brief troubleshooting with an HVAC tech on the phone.

Should the contact be pulled in or out for the unit to come on?

Should be pulled in for unit operation,

If we knew if it were pulled in we would know we don't have a control problem. You can try this also if you like. Pull the front of the stat off the wall and jump out the R to the Y terminal, if the outdoor unit kicks on then we'll know its a thermostat problem. Once you jump it out verify quickly if it is on or not, we don't want it to run like that very long just want to find out if it comes on or not. You won't have blower operation doing this so don't leave it running like that for more than a minute.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Just verified the contact is not pulled in. I can see between the contact and where it should connect. There is some wear there, but they currently aren't connected.

looking closer at the board inside the electrical area of the unit, there are 2 LEDs. Only saw one the first time. It was dark. Anyway...LED 1 is flashing, LED is off. According to the chart on the board, that is a high pressure lockout.

What does that mean?

That's good news and bad news.

A high pressure lockout means that the refrigerant in the system got into a situation where it was running at too high of a pressure. Two common problems that cause this are the fan motor failure , or a dirty coil. ( outdoor unit ). There should be a reset somewhere on the unit. It will typically be located on the refrigerant piping and have two wires on it and a red button on it. You will have to look around in there for that but they are typically pretty close to the panel that you have off. Press the red button if you find it but disconnect the power to the unit first so that it doesn't start up while you got your hands in there.

The restart the unit form the thermostat and see what it does, the fan and compressor should start simultaneously, let me know.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
No sign of a red button or any type of a reset. Closest I've found is two yellow wires running to the copper piping connect to a sensor. Then there are 2 more yellow wires running to a similar sensor on another copper tube. Then there is another set of wires running to a black plug connected to a red cylinder also connected to part of the copper plumbing. Is it possible the unit was installed without a reset?

You can try resetting it at the breaker but if it is a hard lockout it won't reset, somewhere there is a manual reset if you can't reset it at the breaker. Do you have the manuals on the unit?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I've tried the breakers labeled AC & heat. Also pulled the 50 amp breaker next to the unit. LED keeps flashing even when this out. Where would it be pulling the power from? Would flipping the breaker for the entire house reset it?

It is probably the low voltage that is keeping it lit.

Have you turned the power off to the air handler? Try that or go ahead and kill the house.

Hold on , it looks like you have to short the test pins on the board to reset it. Try that.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hit the master breaker for the house. Seems to have done it. LEDs both went to alternate flashing. Which indicated a 5 minute delay. Then the compressor kicked on. Ran for a few then powered off. Just kicked on again about 5 minutes after that. Should the fan on the outside unit kick on in unison with the compressor? Because that seems to be the only piece not currently doing anything.

Yes it should , it should pretty much come on and run with the compressor. If it isn't , that is your problem. No outdoor fan operation will cause high pressure and kick the unit off. You will need to have the fan and it's capacitor checked out.

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thanks. The tech says he can be here by noon tomorrow.

Thank you for all the help. Any idea what the cost might be?

If it is the motor it will probably cost you about 250 dollars. This unit should be under warranty though, I believe you would have had five years on all parts. I would check into that.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
That would be manufacturer's warranty? I don't have the documentation, other than the date on the unit itself. It would be great if it was a warranty item.

Yes, maufacturers, they can use your manufactured date if you don't have a receipt.

This is what I see on the warranty,

click here and go to page 2