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My heat pump always go to pre def mode, im a first time user for heatpump. is that normal for heat pump and someone told me that its better to leave the unit on for days that to turn it on and off, for efficient and economical in terms of electricity/power cost. thanks

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Heat Pumps, remove heat from the outdoors and transfer it, to the inside of the home, depending on the outdoor temp, this is a slow process, so the system is usually setup to use a back-up heat system. Sometimes it is a gas furnace, but usually it is electric heaters, anytime the system goes into defrost mode - which is basicly air conditioning. The control boards will shut off the fan on the unit outside, since it is trying to melt the frost of off the coil, we do not want anymore wind chill factors than we have to, now since we are basicly in the A/C mode, the air coming into the ductwork is cold, a backup heat source is turned on, to temper or warm the air a little bit, for comfort factors and so we do not lower the house temp. During this time it is not unusual to see stream, and water dripping of off the unit outside. All of this is normal and is all done by the system, without any input from the homeowner. The amount of steam and water dripping from the outdoor unit is related to the humidity levels outdoors.
Now,,, Most systems are set up to turn on the back up heat-"the electric elements usually", when there is a 2 degree drop in room temp, so either the heat pump can not keep the home warm by itself and needs help, or if you turn the heat up over 2 degrees, it says, either the heat pump can not keep up by itself or that the owner turned up the heat,,, the result is the same, the system will give you everything that it has, heat pump and backup heat.
So it is best to set the temp on the thermostat where you want it and then just leave it,, the only reason to turn it down is for your comfort, can't sleep in a warm house, ect,, but you do this for your comfort only and not for saving money. All heat pumps have a COP rating, basicly telling you, how much cheaper the heat pump costs to run via straight electric heat. Example: With a COP of 3, for every $ 1.00 of electricity that you spend the heat pump will give you $ 3.00 worth of heat.

One other thing to consider when heating or cooling a building, is the heat loss or heat gain of the structure. Heat is attracted to cold and the greater the temp difference is, the faster the heat transfer.
What does this mean to you? If it is 40 degrees outdoors and you set the heat to 70 degrees in the home, the higher that you turn up the heat, the faster the heat transfer is to the outdoors, meaning that you lose heat faster. An expample is; like in a hospital, they give you an I.V. drip, they put the needle in your arm and hang the bag on a stand, and let it drip into your arm, the higher the bag is, the faster it drips.
Now I'm rambling; this is a very involved subject:
Basic rules: Find a setting that you can live with and leave it.

If this has been helpful, please rate me and contact me back if I can help you with anymore questions.

Sincerely,
Paul Gibson

Posted on May 05, 2010

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