Is there a way to turn off the emergency heat (resistance heater) in a
heat pump system. Mine is a TRANE system heat and A/C in one using. I
want to be able to turn it on and off whenever I want and not have the
toaster kick in.
Thanks for any tips. There are 6 breaker switches on the side of the
unit, no labels though.
Mine was wired so you could disable the strip heaters for normal
heat-up. They would still come on during the defrost cycle.
You can just turn off the breakers to the strip heaters ( that will
be the high current ones probably), but you will get blasted
with cold air during the defrost cycle. My heat pump had
30 amp breakers for the compressor and fan, and 60 amp
for the strip heaters.
I had a 60 and a 30 amp breaker for my air handler.
Unfortunatley the 60 amp also powered the fan and the control transformer.
I "re-wired" the air handler so that the 30 amp took on the transformer and
the blower motor plus 1/3 of the strip heaters. (We have "dumb" controls
on our system but even if you have a "smart" controller anyone who can read
a circuit diagram should be able to transfer the load from one breaker to
I found that the defrost cycle with only one bank of strip heaters wasn't
all that bad. For one thing, the strip heaters don't come on all at the
same time. They are usually switched on by "thermal relays" and these
relays have a built in time delay. I suspect that the strip heaters are
sized to inside temperatures "comfortable" on a VERY cold day. That's
"overkill" in my mind. In VERY cold weather I would rather put smaller
heaters in occupied rooms and let the "background temperature" fall to the
60s (or below) range. Maybe I would feel differently if we routinely had
below zero (F) temperatures for weeks on end but that's not the case here in
Were my backup generator a little larger it could carry the heat pump. If
that were the case, I would wire in a switch or two to keep the strips from
coming on either from thermostat demand (emergency heat or stage 2 heat) or
from the defrost board of the heat pump itself. But my generator isn't
quite up to heating the house so there is no point.
All you have to do is disconnect the wire from W2 on the thermostat. If
you want to be able to turn the aux heat on and off at will, put a tiny
toggle switch wherever you can mount it to the thermostat and run the
wire from W2 through it. Personally, I would leave it so that it does
come on during defrost though. I have two old Trane heat pumps with
gas(propane) backups. I have mine disconnected from the stat, so the
funaces only fire up during defrost, but I am in S Tx, and so far in the
6 years I have had them, they have always been able to keep up on HP
alone, although we have not had a real cold winter for quite a while.
The units are about 20 y/o-- they were takeouts that I installed here to
get away from the expense of propane. Another thing you could do is
install an outdoor thermostat to keep the aux heat from coming on when
the temp is above a certain temperature-- usually around freezing- more
or less. Larry
Dean, diconnecting the wire from the thermostat will not affect defrost.
The wire controlling that comes from the outside unit straight to the
air handler(inside unit). The wire for that in the unit itself is Black
on a Trane, but the installers may or may not have hooked up a black
wire to it to run into the inside. They may have used a white, though
itis possible that they used any color they chose. The wire from the
thermostat to the air handler that turms the aux heat on should be
white. If you can figure out which set of wires go to the stat, and
which goes outside, you can disconnect the wire at the air handler if
that would be easier for you than disconnecting it at the thermostat.
Hope this helps Good luck Larry
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