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Old 11-29-2016, 12:45 PM   #1
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AC Heat strips

We stayed in Las Vegas over Thanksgiving. The mornings were rather cool at ~40 degrees. Our aqua-hot was acting up and would only heat the bathroom, so I tried to engage the roof AC's since they have heat strips. None would come on. Instead the front defaulted to the Aqua-Hot (which would only blow cold air), and neither the center nor the rear would come on. Any body have any ideas?
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Old 11-29-2016, 12:54 PM   #2
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For many roof-top heat strips 40 degrees is just below their effective temperature range so they struggle to produce heat ... at about 43 - 45 degrees mine will start to function - above that they do great.

You can give the AH folks a call - their techs are good about trouble-shooting systems by phone - and have helped me restart my system.
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Old 11-29-2016, 01:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVNewbie55 View Post
We stayed in Las Vegas over Thanksgiving. The mornings were rather cool at ~40 degrees. Our aqua-hot was acting up and would only heat the bathroom, so I tried to engage the roof AC's since they have heat strips. None would come on. Instead the front defaulted to the Aqua-Hot (which would only blow cold air), and neither the center nor the rear would come on. Any body have any ideas?
Assuming you have Dometic A/C units, the Ambient Sensor typically switches the A/C heat to another source (furnace/AquaHot) at "around" 37 degrees as measured on the roof ... it's not a precise measuring device.

What is the AquaHot failure (acting up)?

BTW, I carry 2 Quartz heaters. They can take the chill off very quickly.
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Old 11-29-2016, 03:28 PM   #4
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I believe they are Dometic units. Since they have heat strips why are they so temp sensitive? I thought a regular heat pump worked until around 40 degrees but a residential unit with heat strip will work at much lower temp. The AH unit would only work in the bathroom and (I found out the morning we left) that it would also preheat the engine. I did a search on here and learned that the valves often stick due to lack of use, so yesterday I went up to the storage yard and fired up the AH, and was able to partially open the cover and banged on the valves but still got no heat. Any ideas on that would be appreciated.
Bob
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Old 11-29-2016, 07:15 PM   #5
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You are correct RVNewbie55, the outdoor temp would have no effect on how the heat strips operate. The other posters assumed you had heat pumps. Your thermostat should have an electric heat selection to switch over to the heat strips and get them to cycle on.
As for the hydronic valves on the Aqua Hot system, they do corrode and fail to open if the systems antifreeze isn't serviced occasionally. Chemical rust inhibitors in antifreeze don't usually last more than 5 or 6 years.
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Old 11-29-2016, 07:56 PM   #6
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You are correct RVNewbie55, the outdoor temp would have no effect on how the heat strips operate. The other posters assumed you had heat pumps. Your thermostat should have an electric heat selection to switch over to the heat strips and get them to cycle on.
As for the hydronic valves on the Aqua Hot system, they do corrode and fail to open if the systems antifreeze isn't serviced occasionally. Chemical rust inhibitors in antifreeze don't usually last more than 5 or 6 years.
Not sure I understand. I DO have heat pumps, only they also have heat strips. My T-Stat does not have any option to switch over to electric heat strips, the same as at my home in which they serve to preheat the air going into the return air to supplement the inside air until it is warm enough.

Thanks for the warning on the AH. It was (at least that is what I paid for)completely serviced in Jan. 2015. I did not know it until I got the receipt that the tech noted how low the hours were...so am assuming the AH unit has an hour meter?
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Old 11-29-2016, 08:07 PM   #7
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Only one brand of heat pumps can have heat strips in addition.
To the OP: Are you sure you have heat strips and even if you do they are only 5,000 btu so very anemic to try and heat the rig with. I also carry a couple small cube style heaters even though I've got 3 heat pumps, the AquaHot and electrically heated floors.
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Old 11-30-2016, 08:16 AM   #8
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I found out that I have heat pumps when my center unit went out shortly after buying the coach and the repair facility asked if I wanted to replace with the same or save a few dollars and go with a non-heat pump. I opted to stay with what was there originally. Slightly over a year ago we were in Glacier Nat'l Pk. and the floor heat worked well, all AH Zones worked well, and the heat pumps kicked in as they should. BTW, I get the coach fully serviced in Jan. of each year, engine, generator, and Aqua-Hot
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Old 11-30-2016, 12:54 PM   #9
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Like Mr D say's, I'd also be surprised if your heat pumps have heat strips, but I've been surprised before .
Installing strips in H.P's is a relatively new thing.
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Old 11-30-2016, 01:52 PM   #10
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On my Bounder if the temp differential is over a certain amount (let's say 5 degrees) it kicks the propane furnace on as well to get the temp up quicker.
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Old 11-30-2016, 06:25 PM   #11
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RVNewbie, your coach is a high end unit and even though I have never seen a roof mount heat pump with heat strips, its possible you have something I haven't had the pleasure of seeing before. The heat pump would draw the same current in the heating cycle as in the cooling cycle, about 12 to 15 amps. The heat strip would add another 13 amps so you would need at least a 30 amp circuit to the unit because electrical circuits are sized for 20% over full load.
That being said, if you only have 20 amp breakers serving the unit, you have either heat pumps or heat strips but not both. If the breakers are 30 amp, you have both.
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Old 11-30-2016, 07:50 PM   #12
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RVNewbie, your coach is a high end unit and even though I have never seen a roof mount heat pump with heat strips, its possible you have something I haven't had the pleasure of seeing before. The heat pump would draw the same current in the heating cycle as in the cooling cycle, about 12 to 15 amps. The heat strip would add another 13 amps so you would need at least a 30 amp circuit to the unit because electrical circuits are sized for 20% over full load.
That being said, if you only have 20 amp breakers serving the unit, you have either heat pumps or heat strips but not both. If the breakers are 30 amp, you have both.
Thanks for this info. I will go up to the storage lot tomorrow and check the breakers.
Just went to the online Brochure and found this: Three Low-Profile Ducted 15M BTU
Roof Air Conditioners with Wall Thermostat and Heat Pump Now I'm more confused...heat pumps or AC's with heat strips?
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Old 12-02-2016, 04:29 PM   #13
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RVNewbie, I spoke to my son who has a Coleman Mach 8 heat pump and he added a heat strip to it and it is still on the original 20 amp breaker.
the way his works, at around 37 degrees or so, the compressor locks out and switches to the strips. this way the circuit is never overloaded. The thermostat only has a selection for electric or gas when heat is selected.
You very well could have both on a 20 amp circuit but they can't work at the same time.
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Old 12-02-2016, 04:37 PM   #14
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Thanks for this info. I will go up to the storage lot tomorrow and check the breakers.
Just went to the online Brochure and found this: Three Low-Profile Ducted 15M BTU
Roof Air Conditioners with Wall Thermostat and Heat Pump Now I'm more confused...heat pumps or AC's with heat strips?
That says you have heat pumps and no heat strips.
Here in the Pacific NorthWet the correct term is "heap pumps" since the air con is a given.
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