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Thread: WR 1F82-261 Thermostat "randomly" turns off heat pump

  1. #1
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    WR 1F82-261 Thermostat "randomly" turns off heat pump

    I've got an Amana seer 14 heat pump with an 80% (AMH80) gas furnace aux stage in NE Ohio. It has a White-Rodgers model 1F82-261 thermostat and an Amana fossil fuel kit. The problem is that the White Rodgers thermostat likes to seemingly randomly switch over to the AUX stage (gas furnace) for no apparent reason. The heat pump has an external thermostat on it that is set to the break-even point of 38 degrees (based on current gas vs electric prices plus the efficiency of the unit as per the included instructions with the system). The thermostat and fossil fuel kit appear to work as advertised, but the as far as I can tell, the thermostat is ONLY supposed to switch to AUX heat if the temperature in the room drops at least 3 degrees (i.e. it assumes you have your heat pump set up wrong and that it cannot keep up with the heating demand). At least I can find no other references as to how it decides when to switch to AUX heat (i.e. blinking flame icon on the display). When the fossil fuel kit gets the signal from the external thermostat that it's too cold for the heat pump (and also in defrost mode), it switches over to the gas furnace itself and the White Rodgers thermostat shows a solid flame icon the same as if the heat pump were still operating (i.e. it doesn't know what the fossil fuel kit board does).

    So the idea here is that the heat pump should operate to 38 degrees F and then the gas furnace should be used instead since below 38, it's cheaper to use natural gas here. The fossil fuel kit operates correctly and will switch over to gas at the desired temperature and also regulates the furnace running while the heat pump is in defrost mode. But all that goes out the window when the White Rodgers thermostat will suddenly switch to AUX heat (flashing icon) on its own. Sometimes, it doesn't do it and the heat pump is allowed to run and sometimes it lets it run for 5, 10 or even 15 minutes and then switches over. In ALL cases, the heat pump is putting out warm air and the temperature in the room is RISING, not staying the same or dropping. This is obvious since I'll see the 66 room temperature move up to 67 while it's running, but before it reaches the final goal (i.e. it rounds the numbers, so 67 might be 66.7 degrees or whatever; when it stops it supposedly has reached the final temperature), it'll just switch to gas. Usually (not always), if I turn the thermostat OFF and then back to heat it will run a correct cycle (no aux), but it usually interferes on the next cycle, etc. The temperature outside seems to have no bearing. I've seen it switch to gas heat at 50 degrees and I've seen it let it run at 39 degrees. It doesn't make any sense.

    I wrote White-Rodgers and their site says they would get back to me within 48 business hours but that has long since passed and they have not responded. I don't know if there could be something defective, something connected or set incorrectly or just a flat out malfunction. What I do know is that running the gas furnace when it's 50 degrees out is costing me more money than the heat pump would and defeats the purpose of having one. I can override the heat pump (emergency mode) to run gas only, but there's no way to override it from switching to AUX/GAS heat whenever it feels like it.

    Does anyone have any idea what the problem might be? Is this is a simple case of replacing the thermostat with a new one, preferably a better brand with more direct control over its behavior? Any recommendations there? Thanks.

    Edit: Even stranger, I just replaced the batteries in the unit, which are only used to keep the time and display going during a power outage (the unit has its own power cable and doesn't require the batteries to operate normally) and I left the cover off for three cycles after changing them and the unit operated the heat pump correctly for all three. I put the cover back on and the very next cycle it switched to the gas furnace after about 6 minutes like it was doing before. I thought maybe low batteries and a bad design somehow affected it, but now I'm wondering about the effect of the cover on the thermostat's room sensor. Maybe it gets a bad momentary reading that isn't long enough to affect the display but is enough to convince it the heat pump isn't keeping up or something and perhaps taking the cover off to change the batteries somehow alleviated the problem somehow temporarily? Maybe it was just a coincidence....(shrug).


    Last edited by VonMagnum; 11-14-2013 at 07:13 PM.

  2. #2
    HVAC Thermostat Specialist

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    Personally I don't like external fossil fuel kits as there is much more that can go wrong when dealing with that type of control system. I like thermostats that are capable to run dual fuel without the use of an external fossil fuel kit. These thermostats can typically lock out the aux heat above a setpoint and lockout the HP below the balance point.

    It sounds to me like you have a faulty thermostat and it may just be remedied by replacing it with a standard 2 heat 1 cool heat pump thermostat.

  3. #3
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    VonMagnum, first my appologies if your direct request to White-Rodgers was not answered previously. If this reply is not satisfactory, or you would like to reach me for any reason my direct email is Geoff.Godwin@Emerson.com. The confusion here may be how the thermotat logic works. The fossil fuel kit is fairly simple, it locks out the heat pump unit when the outside temp reaches the desired low temperature. That does seem to be working fine. As hvactechfw points out, if a thermostat with Duel Fuel logic is used, this kit is not needed. In the case of the 1F82-261, the thermostat is programmed with basic staging logic, and the primary driver for when the thermostat uses the AUX stage is determined by how fast the system previously acheived the desired set point. The statement that, "...the thermostat is ONLY supposed to switch to AUX heat if the temperature in the room drops at least 3 degrees", is not accurate. The thermostat's logic uses the past times to reach desired temperature, and decides when to engage second stage and AUX heat. The overall goal is to maintain +/- 1 degree and not let the temperature swing by 3 degrees in the room. The reason the time is not always the same is because indoor and outdoor conditions are changing. If the stat is reset, or in the instance where the batteries are removed, the logic also resets and the time to turn on is the same. Without further discussing the system, application and possibly the wiring connections with you, it appears that the thermostat is operating correctly. Again feel free to contact me at the above email address and we can arrange to discuss the issue further. If the stat is malfunctioning, or we need to get you a different model that meets your needs, I am more than happy to arrange that.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by GodwinGA View Post
    VonMagnum, first my appologies if your direct request to White-Rodgers was not answered previously.
    No, I did not receive a directly reply, but I appreciate the reply here.

    If this reply is not satisfactory, or you would like to reach me for any reason my direct email is Geoff.Godwin@Emerson.com. The confusion here may be how the thermotat logic works. The fossil fuel kit is fairly simple, it locks out the heat pump unit when the outside temp reaches the desired low temperature. That does seem to be working fine. As hvactechfw points out, if a thermostat with Duel Fuel logic is used, this kit is not needed. In the case of the 1F82-261, the thermostat is programmed with basic staging logic, and the primary driver for when the thermostat uses the AUX stage is determined by how fast the system previously acheived the desired set point. The statement that, "...the thermostat is ONLY supposed to switch to AUX heat if the temperature in the room drops at least 3 degrees", is not accurate. The thermostat's logic uses the past times to reach desired temperature, and decides when to engage second stage and AUX heat. The overall goal is to maintain +/- 1 degree and not let the temperature swing by 3
    Perhaps the goal is to maintain +/-1 degree, but I've seen the thermostat switch to aux heat when the temperature was reading within one degree (i.e. it's set to 67 and the thermostat is reading 67). I've seen it switch when the temperature is rising. What you appear to be telling me, though is that the stat's GOAL is to get to temperature as quickly as possible rather than to save as much money as possible. Clearly, if the temperature is within a degree and it's 50 degrees outside and the thermostat is changing to gas heat, it's not saving me any money nor is it necessary to get up to temperature faster since it's already within one degree. It just boggles my mind that it's switching to aux heat under those conditions. The point of having a heat pump in a dual fuel system is to save money not to get up to temperature faster. In fact, this Amana furnace purposely does not run as hot as possible in order to get up to temperature faster. That's what my old Lennox furnace did and the temperature would swing up quickly and shut off (often overshooting) and having a bi-level, it would get colder downstairs faster than upstairs and it lead to more uneven heating. What I'm saying is that the gas aux heat does not heat a "LOT" faster than the heat pump. It just costs more money above 38 degrees outside.

    I didn't choose the thermostat for my application. The company I bought the heat pump and furnace from picked it out. I just assumed it would be the correct model/setup for my system, but it sounds like that may not be the case. I've since learned the company I bought it from locally has relatively little experience with heat pumps in general so perhaps they made a bad choice?

    Basically, I'd be thrilled if the thermostat would let me decide where/when to turn off the heat pump based on the equations I have that tell me the breakeven point for saving money (which I can set with the external thermostat, although anywhere around 35-40 degrees would be satisfactory and since the heat pump I have is more than capable of heating my house in that range (i.e. not out of the balance point range), I don't really want the thermostat interfering because it thinks it's not getting up to temperature fast enough. Is there no way to adjust its behavior? Do I need a different model thermostat in order to use my heat pump above 38 degrees?

    I've also just noticed that there is an extra "black" wire that is not connected to anything inside the thermostat. From the wiring diagram I've looked at, it doesn't appear to have any function. Maybe it's an extra wire that just came with that cable they installed? They didn't put anything around it to keep it from potentially touching other terminals and possibly shorting something or whatever. I just put some electrical tape around it for now.

  5. #5
    HVAC Thermostat Specialist

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    What about just disconnecting the second stage heating wire at the thermostat. This would prevent the 1F82-261 from energizing the aux heat. The duel fuel kit will still switch between heat pump and furnace as needed. You would loose the ability to manual switch to emergency heat.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by HVAC View Post
    What about just disconnecting the second stage heating wire at the thermostat. This would prevent the 1F82-261 from energizing the aux heat. The duel fuel kit will still switch between heat pump and furnace as needed. You would loose the ability to manual switch to emergency heat.
    I think you read my mind. I was just coming here to ask if I could do that with one caveat. What if I connected the 2nd stage wire to ONLY the emergency contact? They are currently jumpered together. This way the fossil fuel kit would control the heat pump/furnace selection, but I could still select the furnace with the emergency switch?

    The only down side I can think of is that if the external thermostat is set incorrectly for some reason or stops working (e.g. my first one failed under warranty) or the heat pump stopped working for some reason for that matter (breakdowns do happen), the house could get mighty cold as the thermostat just sits there letting it drop. I like the idea of the thermostat having a backup setting of a 3 degree drop to turn on aux heat, but I don't like it making decisions about using it to arbitrarily raise the temperature faster. In fact, I see no mention of the type of aux heat used in the manual. All electric systems keep the heat pump running while aux heating strips are on. With dual fuel, the heap pump must be turned off and thus the fossil fuel kit or a smarter thermostat. I think this thermostat is assuming I'm running electric aux and it's just trying to heat things up faster. OTOH, I've read numerous accounts by people that you don't WANT the aux heat turning on when it isn't necessary even on all electric because heat pumps are more efficient than 100% even at fairly low temperatures. The only reason to turn on the strips is to heat faster or if the heat pump can't keep up for the size of the house at a given temperature (balance point).

    Basically, it's 49 degrees here right now. The heat pump came on and the thermostat let it run for maybe 10 minutes. The temperature display went from 66 back to 67 (so again, the heat pump is keeping up just fine; it's just not "fast") and then suddenly the thermostat turned on AUX heat (gas furnace) and let it run until it stopped. That heat pump is 360% efficient and can put out around 59,000 BTUs at 49 degrees. There's no reason for it to switch to aux.
    Last edited by VonMagnum; 11-15-2013 at 03:23 PM.

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