Question about Intertherm P3RA-036K Air Conditioner

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My indoor unit on my heat pump will not shut off. The electric heat keeps running, and the fan keeps running. It only happens when it is really cold, like 25deg or below, above that and it functions fine. The outdoor unit shuts off, but the indoor stays running. I do HVAC work, but I have never seen a problem like this. I have switched the stat out, and its just so strange. I figured the relay may be stuck, but if I turn the stat off, it turns off shortly after which tells me it may not be the contactor.

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  • Alan Conner
    Alan Conner Feb 01, 2010

    Plus, the emergency heat stays running. Thats the other thing I didn't mention. I know if that is running the fan has to run to prevent fire, but its not making sense why I can turn it off at the stat. I guess I will pull the interlock relay on the bank heaters that controls the fan and replace it for preventative measures and see if that fixes the problem.

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I would venture to say your stack relay is getting stuck. either that or you have a short in your low voltage wiring somewhere that is not always making contact....or it may be making contact through another median...like ice or frost. Remember electricity takes the path of least resistance.

But I would check the relay first. If its a stack relay or a closed type relay, try putting in a contactor that you can visually see if its closed or not.

Posted on Feb 01, 2010

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How Heat Pumps Work


How on earth can you get hot air or hot water from very cold outside air? How does a heat pump make this heat out of cold air?
When certain gases change their state from a liquid to a gas or from a gas to a liquid the magic happens.

A heat pump can do some pretty amazing things, when it comes to making heat. To understand the way they work, you must first understand what happens when certain gases change from a liquid state to a gas and back to a liquid again. To simplify it a bit we need to look at a basic air conditioning system. The refrigerant in an air conditioning system is changing to a liquid in the outdoor condenser. The compressor compresses the gas forming a hot gas. As this gas cools under high pressure it changes into a liquid form.

Inside the indoor coil the liquid is pushed through a small hole or orifice. When it comes out the other side it rapidly changes it’s state to a gas as the pressure suddenly drops. The rapid pressure drop changes the refrigerant to a very cold gas. Air flowing over the cold gas inside the pipes makes the air cool and provides air conditioning.


Now for a heat pump the process is much the same, only coils are just switched by used a reversing valve in the outdoor condenser unit. Instead of the heat being purged to the outside from the condenser unit, the indoor unit then becomes the condenser coil. The outdoor coil becomes the cold coil and cools the outside. This is why if it is very cold outside the unit will have to run in air conditioning mode for a short time to defrost the outside cold coil. When this happens the system will usually have electric heat inside to run and keep the indoor air warm.

The reality is that a heat pump is really no more than an air conditioner running in reverse. Through the magic of using refrigerants, a heat pump can then run many times more efficiently than straight electric heat. A careful heat loss/gain should always be performed by a qualified service person before any sizing of a unit. Too large or too small of a heat pump system can make it inefficient and possibly cause it to be very uncomfortable. The longevity of the unit can also be affected by sizing and installation. Be patient and look carefully for the best contractor to install your system.

A properly designed and installed heat pump system can give you many years of comfort and efficiency. If you look for and find the contractor that can do the job right you will get many trouble free comfortable years from your heat pump unit.

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1 Answer

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Most air cons now have temperature sensors all over the machine. When it reaches temp on heat cycle, the machine usually shuts down both indoor and outdoor units but the indoor unit will keep running for a few minutes with the fan on only to cool the indoor unit down. This prevents the unit reading the wrong temperature. It stops the sensor(s) reading the heat from the indoor unit rather than the heat in the air in the room.

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I have a Mitsubishi heat pump that runs well but the outdoor unit does not defrost what could be the problem.


Why does my heat pump ice up in Winter?
Heat pumps naturally ice-up in the winter. It is normal for the entire coil to be covered in a white frost and even light ice, during cold weather conditions. However, it is bad for the entire unit to be encased in ice. This indicates ductless heat pump problems which should be addressed quickly to save energy and avoid serious damage to your ductless unit. These systems should periodically go into a defrost cycle. This keeps the unit running efficiently. If the coils are blocked by ice, proper heat transfer between the coil and the outside air will not occur.
How does the defrost mode work?
When the mini split heat pump goes into defrost, the reversing valve inside of the outdoor unit is energized, switching the system from heat to the air conditioning mode. The outdoor coil becomes the hot, the indoor coil becomes cold, and both - the outdoor and indoor fans shut off. This allows the outdoor coil to melt accumulated ice. When the built-in micro-computer analyzes that all ice have been melted, the heat pump heating system goes back to heating mode.
sanyo-mini-split-defrost.pngA cloud of water vapor may be seen rising over the outdoor unit and a "whoosh" sound can be heard as the refrigerant reverses direction. The entire process usually takes up to 10 minutes (depending on conditions).
How often does the system goes into defrost mode?
Ductless mini-split heat pumps have different ways of determining when to go into defrost. The built-in microcomputer determines outdoor temperature, refrigerant pressures, and several other factors. In colder temperatures the system will go into defrost more often than in warmer.
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That's what a heat pump does. The problem to me sounds like you don't have a big enough heater inside.

If you need further help, reach me via phone at https://www.6ya.com/expert/thomas_092728000e6acb79

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