Auxiliary heat coming on when A/C is running.


I have an older Carrier Heat Pump, and while I had the unit set to cool on the T'stat, I smelled something burning, and after investigating, found that the auxiliary heat elements were on and red hot. After toggling between heat and cool, they switched off, but later in the night, with the unit set on cool, I smelled the same smell and discovered that the elements were hot again. These have never come on except at the coldest times, and they do have a smell after having not been on for a while. How can I fix this problem? I am afraid of a fire , not to mention that they burn alot of electricity. The aux heat light does not show the elements as being on so I am guessing there is a bad switch(?) controlling the aux heat elements. Any help appreciated.
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see: http://home.howstuffworks.com/how-to-troubleshoot-a-heat-pump.htm/printable
they are at: http://www.residential.carrier.com /
theory of operation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_pump
mrbass617 wrote:

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Thanks for the links, however, I was unable to find anything that addressed my specific problem, which is that the aux heat elements are operating at inappropriate times.
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