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New Heater/AC Wall Unit - Not Enough Heat

I live in an apartment complex that just got renovated and they tore out the old baseboard electric heaters and replaced them with an AC/Heater wall unit. However, the heater portion of the unit doesn't seem to be working properly where after you turn it on, it only blows out heat for about one to two minutes and then cuts off. And then it stays off for about an hour or so and then repeats the same thing.

But how can a unit that only blows hot air for a minute or two heat anything up? Plus, more importantly, I am still cold after turning on this unit. However, I have told our building manager and maintenance person about this, but they both say that the unit runs based on what its thermostat is reading and will cut off once the thermostat reads that the room is at the temperature that the unit has been set to. Or in other words, their explanation is that if you turn the unit up to 84 degrees and the unit only runs for a minute or two and then cuts off, then that means that the blowing of warm air into the room for a minute or two caused the room to reach 84 degrees.

And I understand that is how heating units and thermostats work, but it just seems to me that this unit is not functioning properly, especially when I am still cold and am sneezing, etc. Also, I was wondering if anyone at this forum knows if a wall heating unit can be malfunctioning and not blowing out the proper amount of heat. Also, if the unit *is* malfunctioning, does anyone know if a technician/electrician can tinker with or adjust the thermostat of the unit so that the unit can blow out heat for a longer duration of time.

Comments

  • Do you have an accurate digital thermometer, with a memory for the high and low temperatures? Some of them are for indoor and outdoor use. Taylor is one such manufacturer.
    Readings from that would be useful for your complaints to the building manager, as it removes any doubt about how cold and uncomfortable you now are. You can then show that in the last 24 hours, the high temperature was only X degrees-chilly.—NBC
  • John MillsJohn Mills Posts: 837Member
    I assume this is electric heat in the units not hot water? Sounds like a defect in the board that a tech, not a super, needs to address. Is the thermostat built in or on the wall?
  • NotHotEnufNotHotEnuf Posts: 10Member

    Do you have an accurate digital thermometer, with a memory for the high and low temperatures? Some of them are for indoor and outdoor use. Taylor is one such manufacturer.
    Readings from that would be useful for your complaints to the building manager, as it removes any doubt about how cold and uncomfortable you now are. You can then show that in the last 24 hours, the high temperature was only X degrees-chilly.—NBC

    No, I had only purchased a cheap $1.00 thermostat from Walmart which doesn't do any good because when the building manager and maintenance person come by during the day, the thermostat shows a good reading. However, like I told them: "But you weren't in here at 2 oclock in the morning when the temperature was 27 degrees.

    But thank you for that suggestion and I guess I'll have to go out and spend *my* money on one of those thermostats for *their* possible equipment malfunciton.
  • NotHotEnufNotHotEnuf Posts: 10Member

    I assume this is electric heat in the units not hot water? Sounds like a defect in the board that a tech, not a super, needs to address. Is the thermostat built in or on the wall?

    Yes, it's in combination with the AC unit and it blows out electric powered heat. Also, the unit's thermostat is built into the unit... probably where the touch controls are. Plus, I think what the problem is is that building management and the construction company people probably don't want to use resources to have a tech look into this and to fix whatever needs to be fixed. Additionally, the building manager keeps talking about how a lot of the tenants in the building have said that they don't even need to turn on the heat because:

    (1) The new insulation on the side of the building keeps the building warmer.

    (2) Tenants on higher floors get warmed up from the heat coming from tenants' apartments on lower floors.

    However, I've talked to one tenants on the second floor who lives above the Maintenance Room(and therefore, doesn't have anyone who runs their heat below her) and she told me that she told the construction company's main supervisor, and he acted like she didn't know how to use the heater. But what is there to know how to use? Because all that you do is press the appropriate buttons and then press the POWER button. Therefore, what I am hearing from this tenant is that the construction company supervisor is also giving her the run around and is not really listening to her.

    Also, I wanted to say something to make things clear. I have been living in this building for the last 11 years, and for the last 10 years often times my apartment gets warmed up from the apartment below me(or wherever the heat is coming from). Therefore, on those occasions, I don't have to turn my heat on. However, on the occasions when the person below me either isn't home or doesn't have their heat turned on, then that is when my apartment gets cold and I am sneezing, etc. However, so far during this winter season since the new HVAC unit has been installed, it's been the same way where often times I get warmed from the heat from the tenant below or where ever it's coming from(and which is a blessing), but then on some occasions, the person below me either isn't home or they don't have their heat running.

    But the bottom line is that it seems like building management and the construction supervisor won't except the tenants' plain and simple explanation... but instead, they try to act like we don't know how the heater works. But it's just a really silly situation.
  • They won’t be able to argue with your detailed list of times and temperatures from your thermometer. See if your chilly neighbors can also document their own temperatures in the same way.
    It’s possible that the management are cutting off the heat late at night in order to save money, and the city building department may have something to say about that, especially if the temperature drops below 65 degrees.—NBC
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 4,544Member
    Almost sounds like the room temp sensor and high limit sensor are flipped for location? Top to bottom of unit locations.
  • HomerJSmithHomerJSmith Posts: 440Member
    Why not call the manufacturer and talk to a tech person. It does sound to me like a high limit sensor is tripping. I've had sensor troubles before, even on new furnaces that was part of the safety circuit. In this case a whole lot of sensors had a manufacturing defect. I went thru 3 sensors from the company before I figured out what the problem was. That was a revelation.

    I suspect it is a 220 Vac unit. Question: does it have a true 220 Vac? Don't laff that mistake has been made more than once.
  • The high and low temperatures will still have to be recorded to convince the building management of a problem, and they can make the tech support call.
    If this is a Mitsubishi multi system, it may have been improperly setup in the configuration software.—NBC
  • NotHotEnufNotHotEnuf Posts: 10Member

    They won’t be able to argue with your detailed list of times and temperatures from your thermometer. See if your chilly neighbors can also document their own temperatures in the same way.

    I'll try to do that.

    It’s possible that the management are cutting off the heat late at night in order to save money, and the city building department may have something to say about that, especially if the temperature drops below 65 degrees.—NBC

    Well, actually they kind of leave the heat running at night, however, on days where it starts off warm and they're running the air conditioning, on some nights the air conidtioner continues to run. :#

  • NotHotEnufNotHotEnuf Posts: 10Member
    JUGHNE said:

    Almost sounds like the room temp sensor and high limit sensor are flipped for location? Top to bottom of unit locations.

    It does sound like that. But it also seems like they don't really want to find out if that's true.
  • NotHotEnufNotHotEnuf Posts: 10Member

    Why not call the manufacturer and talk to a tech person. It does sound to me like a high limit sensor is tripping. I've had sensor troubles before, even on new furnaces that was part of the safety circuit. In this case a whole lot of sensors had a manufacturing defect. I went thru 3 sensors from the company before I figured out what the problem was. That was a revelation.

    I suspect it is a 220 Vac unit. Question: does it have a true 220 Vac? Don't laff that mistake has been made more than once.

    Thanks, I will try calling the manufacturer(Amana). But I'm not sure about the 220 Vac and can't check right now because I am not at home.

    Also, I wanted to thank everyone because you all have provided a lot of ideas that I never would have thought of. :)

  • NotHotEnufNotHotEnuf Posts: 10Member
    edited January 12
    Hello, everyone.... Well, here's an update on my situation.

    Well, a lot of other people in the building complained about the PTAC units(that's what they are actually called) after the weather got cold. But management got in touch with the manufacturer(Amana) and they scheduled a technician to come out and look at the units.

    Well, it turns out that(and listen closely because you're going to love this one) Amana has the units preset to only heat up to 70 degrees and to cut off after that temperature is reached. :o :o :o That's right. And not only that, but the government is suppose to have specificed that temperature for manfucturers to preset their PTAC and HVAC units to, therefore, it's legal.

    Although, I talked to our maintenance worker about this before the Amana technician came to my unit, and she said that that was one of the most ridiculous things that she has ever heard of.

    But it is almost the middle of January, and I've been using a couple of space heaters to heat my apartment when I'm not getting heat from below(?) or wherever the heat is coming from.

    But that reminds me: If an apartment unit doesn't have their heat turned on, then does anyone know where heat that they're feeling is coming from? Because I got into a back-and-forth with my building manager about this, and I had the attitude that 'everyone knows that the upper apartments receive heat from the apartments below them since heat rises'.... however, my building manager said that the apartment units have concrete floors and ceilings, therefore, heat cannot pass through those concrete barriers. However, when I asked her where the heat was coming from, she couldn't give me an answer.

    Well, at first I didn't think that she knew what she was talking about until I talked to a tenant on the second floor who said that she wonders where all the heat that she's receiving is coming from. And this tenant's apartment is right above the building manager's office on the first floor and some other rooms on the first floor that are not tenant apartments, and are not in use after normal business hours. Therefore, that made me think twice about what the building manager said about heat passing upwards from one apartment unit to another.

    But if anyone has an comments or feedback about any of this, I really would appreciate it.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 4,177Member
    70 deg at the unit mounted thermostat may not give you 70 deg average room temp
  • NotHotEnufNotHotEnuf Posts: 10Member
    edited January 12
    deleted
  • NotHotEnufNotHotEnuf Posts: 10Member
    edited January 12
    deleted
  • NotHotEnufNotHotEnuf Posts: 10Member

    70 deg at the unit mounted thermostat may not give you 70 deg average room temp

    Good point. But how does one argue with the government about that?

  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 4,544Member
    A wall tstat across the room from the PTAC set at 70 might give you some comfort.

    The PTAC tstat probe might be on the bottom of the unit near the air inlet. You could confirm that you found the right sensor by putting into a cup of cold water. >:)
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 7,283Member
    It seems like the PTAC is designed to blow 70 degree air out if it is installed right. That may be uncomfortable, but at least somewhat warm.
    I am sure you took my advice, and got the digital thermometer so you could keep a record of high and low temperatures in the interior of he apartment, and so what did you find with the fluctuations in temperature?—NBC
  • John MillsJohn Mills Posts: 837Member
    I know PTACs have limits, GE comes set at 78. Never heard of any national regulation on how warm they can heat to unless that's a state rule. Since most of these suckers end up in motels and nursing homes, I'd say the owner of the building dictates the max temp. Wonder if that's what happened in your building and they are claiming a government rule. I smell some horsehockey here.
  • John MillsJohn Mills Posts: 837Member
    Actually the unit comes from the factory with the high limit set at 80. If you were to accidentally stumble across www.amana-ptac.com and download the installation manual, you could do something about the limit, no tools required. Just don't let your landlord see this site >:)
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 4,544Member
    Do you have a separate electric meter for your apartment?
    If so then the landlord should not worry about restricting your room temp.

    If you don't pay the electric bill......IIWM I would obtain a couple of "milk house" type heaters and plug them in to bring the temp up to a reasonable level. Only run these heaters on the low switch setting. Do not put 2 on the same circuit. And use caution with the placement.

    Even if you pay the electric bill this may be the solution.
    If the wall unit is just a PTAC and not a heat pump design then they are at the same efficiency of energy use.
    Actually the little heaters are better because I have never seen a PTAC that did not leak cold air into the room constantly.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 4,177Member
    @JUGHNE said " I have never seen a PTAC that did not leak cold air into the room constantly"

    Ain't that the truth. Sometimes I think they leak in more btus than they can heat
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