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    yourmarly's Avatar
    yourmarly Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Jan 13, 2007, 10:09 AM
    Electric heater blowing cold air
    My furnace is old old old.. Day and night... Model # 30cc-8. Serial # 010170 062046. It seems as if the heat is getting cooler all of the sudden coming out of the vents. Also when I open the closet, one of the valves is leaking air quite badly. I know nothing about electric units. Anything I can do myself to fix or should I call a repair man? It's 32 degrees here with freezing rain... Please help..

    T-Top's Avatar
    T-Top Posts: 1,871, Reputation: 100
    Ultra Member

    Jan 13, 2007, 03:37 PM
    We need to know if it is gas, electric heat or heatpump.
    labman's Avatar
    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
    Uber Member

    Jan 13, 2007, 04:57 PM
    Many electric heaters, either a resistance furnace or a heat pump where the outside condenser runs for both heating and cooling, have more than one circuit breaker. They will have a single pole one to provide power to the blower and the controls, and a double pole one to supply the heating elements or outside compressor. The double pole breakers are twice as big as the others, and if they have a second handle, the 2 handles are linked together. If you can identify one of them for being for the heat, turn it clear off, and back on. That could be all it takes. If not, you have to shut the power off and check inside the furnace. It could have a bad relay or bad heating elements. You need to check the elements for continuity and make sure power is making it through the relay. It is hard to check relays without having the power on.

    Valves leaking air? Are they in the ducts that supply the heated air?

    To do simple checks like this you do need some tools. A test light, a meter, or a voltage detector might be the best place to start with. I came across the niftiest gadget for trouble shooting, a voltage detector. They work through the insulation of wires. There are several brands. I have a GB Instruments GVD-505A, less than $15 at Home Depot. Touch it to a hot wire, and the end glows red. Find the doodad that lights it on one side, and not the other, and you have the culprit. You do not have to open up housings and expose electrical contacts. You are looking at where your hand is, not where the meter is. Most people are capable of doing repairs and will get it going and not get hurt if they use a little sense. The voltage detector makes it even easier.
    labman's Avatar
    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
    Uber Member

    Jan 13, 2007, 08:33 PM
    From an email:
    ''Thank you so much for replying to my post. My unit outside has no box outside attached to it. The breaker for shutting it off is in my reg breaker box. I have a 4 year old unit outside and a 16+ inside day and night that is electric. How to I look inside the furnace to check relay or elements? It's not like a gas one. Also the valves... I believe it's one that goes to the heat. I've attached a pic for you to see what craziness I'm looking at.. Also I was wondering if I changed my thermostat would it help my unit to run better. I have a mecury one and to get it warm enough in here I have to turn it to 80 to get it to registar 70 in the house.''

    Unfortunately the picture you emailed me was too small to help much. Are the valves on the tubing coming out of the unit to the left in the picture? If so, it sounds like you have a heat pump. Heat pumps are both more complicated and I know less about them than other systems.

    I do know the thermostat has to do 3 things to make a heat pump heat the house. It must start the blower, which yours seems to be doing.
    It must set the valves to heat mode, which if it hadn't, it would be cooling.
    It must activate the relay to start the outside unit. Check, there should be 2 small wires and 2 large wires going into the outside unit. When the thermostat switches power to the small wires, they activate the relay to switch power from the breaker to the compressor and fan motor. Relays frequently cause problems. Yours should be fairly cheap and easy to replace. You can use a meter to check if the 2 small wire have 24 volts AC. If they do, the wires coming from the house and the ones going on into the unit should have 240 volts AC. What you can do, is shut both breaker off and remove the cover over where the wires go. Then turn on both breakers. Be very careful not to touch the terminals the large wires connect to. With the meter I suggested, touch its probes to the terminals the small wires connect to. If they read 24 volts, you can then check the large wires too. I love the voltage detector for that step. I just touch its plastic tip to an insulated part of the wire.

    If you don't have power to both pairs wires going into the outside unit. The problem is elsewhere.

    I wouldn't change the thermostat until I proved it was getting power, but not the valves and relay.

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