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So it finally got cold here in AZ. We switched our thermostat from A/C to Heat. Now for some reason when the electric heater runs, the A/C condenser unit outside kicks on too. This is our first winter here in the house. The vents do blow warm air, not hot, but warm.

Where do I start looking? Is it possible it is just a thermostat issue? or could it be a bigger problem?

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Are you sure the AC isn't actually a heat pump? –  ArgentoSapiens Nov 13 '12 at 14:03
    
Pretty sure not. But is it possible? It is for sure an AC unit outside as We used it a ton in the summer. We live in the phoenix area, so it pretty much runs non stop 5 months a year in the summer. –  Matt Adams Nov 13 '12 at 14:05
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A heat pump looks about the same as an AC, but in winter it runs in reverse to pump heat into, instead of out of, the house. Examine the markings on the outdoor unit and see if it's a heat pump. If so, this is normal. –  ArgentoSapiens Nov 13 '12 at 14:07
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Okay i feel like a moron, It is indeed a heat pump. In all my years in AZ, i have never heard of such a thing. Thanks! –  Matt Adams Nov 13 '12 at 14:18
    
A heat pump air conditions the air inside the building in Summer and air conditions the air outside the building in winter. ;^) Or to put it another way, makes the outside air hotter in Summer and the outside air colder in Winter. –  Fiasco Labs Nov 13 '12 at 17:25

2 Answers 2

Are you sure the AC isn't actually a heat pump? A heat pump looks about the same as an AC, but in winter it runs in reverse to pump heat into, instead of out of, the house. Examine the markings on the outdoor unit and see if it's a heat pump. If so, this is normal.

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Any input on how efficient a heat pump / ac unit is in the summer? I hear they are better in the winter than electric heat, but since we run our AC pretty much 6 months straight, wonder about the AC effectiveness. –  Matt Adams Nov 13 '12 at 17:19
    
@MattAdams That sounds like a good question to ask. –  Tester101 Nov 13 '12 at 17:52
    
Thanks, asked in a new topic. –  Matt Adams Nov 13 '12 at 18:55

Turns out it is a heat pump / AC unit.

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You should "accept" your answer - or do you have to wait to do that? –  The Evil Greebo Nov 13 '12 at 14:19
    
You have to wait 48 hours to mark your answer as the correct one. –  Malfist Nov 13 '12 at 18:39

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