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Phil, Mechanical Engineer
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 8672
Experience:  Retired HVAC/ Electrical & Boiler contractor. Industrial
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Thermostat calling, heat pump isn't on... reset breaker. Now

Customer Question

Thermostat calling for cool, heat pump isn't on... reset breaker. Now clueless
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: HVAC
Expert:  Phil replied 2 years ago.


If you have a multi meter and some skills working around high voltage electricity I can coach you on some trouble shooting.

Lacking that you can try what we call a 'soft reset' by turning the thermostat off for 10 minutes, then turning it back on again, If it has been exceptionally hot today the unit might have gone off on its high pressure safety cut out.... if that is the case look at the video below, and buy 3 cans of the spray foam condenser coil cleaner, turn off the power to the outside unit, then clean the condenser.

Let me know how that goes tomorrow after you get that job done.

Next I need the brand and model number of the unit that sits outside, and photo's of the wiring diagrams glued inside the electrical service panel on the outside unit and the blower service door on the furnace or air handler on the unit inside the house.

The photo's need to be well focused, taken from straight on, up close and well lit...I can use those to coach you on trouble shooting.

If none of this is in your skill set range, tell me which direction you are from the center of the nearest city and I will locate a short list of well rated service companies in your area.

We can go from there without a time limit.... I am off to bed shortly, if I miss you tonight I will pick up your response in early next morning.


Expert:  Phil replied 2 years ago.

Here is the condenser cleaning video.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Tried the soft reset by turning off thermostats and breaker. Turned breaker on after 1 minute, turned thermostats on after 30 minutes, no change. Not exceptionally hot today... actually, big windstorm and a lot of homes lost power. Our did not although there were some flickering of lights... No power loss.System is fairly complex -- multiple zones with damper controlled by wireless thermostats. System is a Rheem heat pump, don't have the exact model at the moment and it's pouring outside tonight... I can pick up coil cleaner in the morning and try that as you suggest.
Expert:  Phil replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for the information,

If homes lost power in your area and you had flickering lights that was due to *electrical spikes on the power lines... those can and do very often destroy the electronics in air conditioning systems, I have even seen them even explode compressor run capacitors.

Cleaning the condenser coil is standard maintenance so that should be done regardless, however in this case, given the loss of power and potential lightning damage we will probably end up having to run some tests on that... its a high skill area. Tell me if you have a multi meter that reads micro farads, and a lot about what you skill sets are working with electronics and high voltage appliances.

We can go from there. I will be back in the morning.


Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I can probably track down a friend with a mulitmeter (and more knowledge/experience than I have in playing with electricity)... I have a background in personal computer electronics... not sure if it translates to working with the heat pump...Sounds like a service call is in my future :(
Expert:  Phil replied 2 years ago.

Hello again, with your background its about a 4 hour trouble shooting process with an 80% of success.

An experienced high end type HVAC service tech can diagnose that on site in less than 20 minutes, if we can find one. Thats only one or two in ten technicians however.

Let me know if would like coaching on the diagnosis, or if you need me to see if I can get a short list of well rated service outfits in your area... in that case I need to know which direction you are from the center of the nearest city.

We can go from there any way you like.