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Random smell

Hello, I have an odd problem I'm hoping someone can help me with. I live in upper Florida and a year and a half ago I purchase a new 2.5 ton Trane heat pump system. My problem involves the heating. The people who installed the unit haven't been able to find the problem. The problem is I randomly get the smell that you get when the heat strips are running. As you know, here in upper Florida, the heat strips should rarely come on.
Here is an example of the thermostat setting. I have the heat set at 79, the outside temp is 66. The first few times when the house temp drops to 78 the heat pump runs and no smell, then randomly when the heat comes on you have the smell. The thermostat(HoneyWell) doesn't indicate the heat strips are active and I don't hear the strips click on or off, but I have the smell. It may work correctly for a couple days then it happens again. The filters have been changed regularly.
One time the HVAC tech unplugged a wire from the thermostat and said, you shouldn't have a problem the heat strips coming on now. Unfortunately, that didn't help.
I'm not positive the heat strips are coming on, but it is the same smell.
Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.
Please me know if I can provide anymore information.


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,433
    What is the dewpoint? In Florida, it is entirely possible that when you are trying to heat with an outside air temperature of 66 that the outdoor unit is dropping below the dewpoint temperature. For example, if the relative humidity is 90 percent -- not unheard of -- the dewpoint is 63, and it almost certain that there will be condensation at the very least on the outdoor coils.

    The strip heaters may be cycling on to remove the condensation.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • TheJCYguy
    TheJCYguy Member Posts: 3
    Jamie, thanks for your response. Interesting thought on the dew point. I would think that the HVAC techs would be aware of this. They have reprogrammed the thermostat a couple times.
    My concern is that my air handler is in my hallway. When the heat strips do activate they make a strong clicking sound that I'm aware of. Also, the thermostat indicates the strips are active. None of this happens when this odd cycles that produce the smell happens. It is very odd.
    Thanks again.