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Why will our heat pump not warm the whole building?

Desirae L.Williams | Posted in General Questions on

Our office has complaints about the building we work in — it will not get warm. We have an old boiler, but when we renovated in the 90’s the company installed heat pumps and connected the two systems together.

Once it hits 32 degrees, the boiler was supposed to come on. Instead, half the building is cold and the other is hot.

Can anyone please explain what is going on here, and can it be fixed?

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    It's impossible to diagnose your problem over the internet. Your heating system either has a design flaw, an installation flaw, or a maintenance issue -- or perhaps all three problems. You need to contact a competent HVAC contractor to make a service call.

  2. Desirae L.Williams | | #2

    I just needed some insight on what I could do. We have had so many service men and the problem is not being solved. I am new at this job, and not that much knowledge on this big problem. Thank you for commenting on my question!

  3. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #3

    I'm not sure what you can do -- it depends on your skills.

    First, you could provide more information. (For example, does the heat pump distribute heat through hot water pipes or ducts?)

    Second, you could investigate whether the equipment seems to be working by feeling whether pipes are warm, or whether ducts are warm, and whether the equipment is humming.

    Third, you could report fuel usage data for the boiler, if known.

    Fourth, if you are skilled at HVAC diagnosis, you could tell us what's wrong. Otherwise, you'll probably have to keep searching for a contractor who can diagnose and fix the problem.

  4. Desirae L.Williams | | #4

    We have duc work to distribute heat, I can hear the heat bumps humming, at this point. As for the fuel usage I don't know.

  5. David Meiland | | #5

    So, the heat pumps distribute heat through ductwork, but when the boiler is running, does it distribute through the same ductwork? It sounds like the heat pumps are heating parts of the building well, and others not. Is it any different with the boiler? Also, how many heat pumps are there?

  6. Desirae L.Williams | | #6

    Yes that is correct. When the boiler is running it goes through the same ductwork. We have two one-hundred gallon boilers and 13 heat pumps. You are exactly right only part of the building is getting warm. The boilers are suppose to heat the hallways, gym, and staircase.

  7. Desirae L.Williams | | #7

    Let me make some corrections, The boilers are running through water pipes and we have 12 heat pumps. It seems that the thermostat for the heat pumps and the thermostat for the boilers connect sending a signal of when to heat up or cool down.

  8. David Meiland | | #8

    Well, Martin wins. You have a very large mechanical system. It will be virtually impossible for anyone here to tell you how to narrow down the problem. With one heat pump, there is a short list of stuff to check that might yield an easy avenue to follow, but with 12... you need a highly qualified commercial mechanical contractor who deals specifically with large complex systems. If the company you work for owns a building needing 12 heat pumps, hopefully they can tap someone with the right knowledge to start tracking down the issue(s).

    If you tell us what city you're in, perhaps someone can throw out some recommendations.

  9. Desirae L.Williams | | #9

    I suppose you do win Martin, the city and state is Welch,WV. Thank you for sharing what you could.

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