Need guidance on my new house heat pump?

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dborns

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We just moved into a new home and I’m looking for info on the HVAC. I don’t see any info in the paperwork on the AC unit. I think it’s a heat pump only because it’s been running during our cold days when the heat comes on. I’ve only had AC units at my other houses and they didn’t run in the winter. Does that sound correct?
A couple other things-
-I notice that there’s water coming out from under it while it’s running. Not like a flow, but the concrete walkway/ steps are wet. Is that normal? The unfortunate part about that is it’s right at the top of concrete stairs going down to the backyard, and when it was below freezing, was sheer ice. Not a good thing to have at the top of concrete stairs.
-On some of the colder days, even at 64* in the house, it basically ran constantly.
-And lastly, when it kicks off, it makes a hard clunking noise as if a clutch or brake was kicking in to stop it from running.

We had a home inspection done and nothing was brought up about it, so I’m just trying to get info to see if the above issues are normal.

Thank you
 

Jeff Handy

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Obviously, you might want to redirect that condensate water somewhere else, via a hose, or other surface drain.

Or find the source and pipe it somewhere more suitable.

There are also small condensate pumps about as big as a shoebox that can collect the water at the source, and pump it away via a thin solid or flexible discharge line to outside, or to a drain or sump pump etc.

Meanwhile, there should be some kind of info sticker with brand name and model number etc clearly applied on to your equipment.

Take down the info, or snap some pics, and search for the manual for it on Google, they are pretty much all on there.

Sometimes for a small fee, but almost all can be found free, especially on the manufacturer’s website.

Or post a pic of the info labels on here.

It also helps to post your state and town, or zip code, to get better info based on your weather and local suppliers.
 

pjones

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The outside unit will create water in the winter when it operates. This is normal operation. It’s surprisingly common to find these mounted in poor locations like you’ve found. Sadly unless you want to pay to have it relocated then you will need to either run the drainage down a spout that is heat traced or find some other method to manage the water created. You may be able to dig a garden bed type trench along the sidewalk edge so it can divert before running down the stairs? I’m not really sure what the layout looks like to be able to help with any better suggestions. If you have a drain or a drain pan outside it will need to be heated and have lots of slope. 1/4” per foot or more. Also that heater should be connected to a gfci protected circuit.

The clunking sound can be a broken spring mount in the compressor, something hitting inside the outdoor unit, or quite possibly completely normal. It really depends on what unit you have and what compressor is inside it. Your description of it doesn’t provide enough info to diagnose anything with confidence.

In my travels I have not found any home inspectors that look in depth at a furnaces condition. They usually just check for hot or cold air and age if they can determine it from the data tag. Never have I heard of one knowing enough to determine actual condition of it and applying that ability during a routine house inspection, that is a whole other trade and requires specific tools to preform that task. In my area when a home owner wants to know the condition of the HVAC they have a professional HVAC contractor out to inspect it before purchase. Home owners don’t often know to do that unless the realtor advises them of it. Unless you know before hand or have a realtor who recommends it then you are left in the position like yourself thinking it was checked by a qualified professional when they most likely are not qualified or trained to identify installation issues like you have here. Buy lots of salt for the stairs until you can figure out a safer more permanent solution.
 

Sparky617

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My realtor wife always recommends to her buyers to have the HVAC inspected by a qualified HVAC tech, even on new construction. A pjones points out most home inspectors don't do much beyond a cursory look at the HVAC.

Heat pumps will run fairly long in cold weather. The air coming out of the ducts tends to feel cool to the skin unlike a gas fired forced air system. The air tends to be in the 70s F which blowing across your skin will feel cool. Air from a gas fired unit will usually be above skin temperature.
 

Jeff Handy

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Try to divert that discharge water somehow, even something like making a curb with a row of bricks to steer the water away somewhere safer.
Lay down some plastic or a piece of tarp first, lay the brick row down, and fold more tarp over the top and facing away.

Too much salt will destroy the concrete stairs.

If there is a discharge nipple or spout, try to get a length of plastic drain pipe or hose onto it, to drain away by gravity and never having to run uphill at all.

Post some pics of the water problem area and all around and downhill from it.
 

dborns

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Thanks for the info guys, and thanks Jeff for helping me on this and my electrical question in that forum.

I’ll post a pic today. Also, I looked for a label, but only found the brand which is American Standard, and a warning label. I’ll look for a model number.
 

Jeff Handy

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There might be an info sticker behind a pull off door somewhere.
Or outside.
 
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