We had a/c here last week to fix a capacitor on our a/c unit and signed up for their maintenance program. They came today to clean everything and do checkup and said the heat strip in our heat pump was burned out and we were lucky we didn't have a fire or smell smoke. We had neither of these things. The picture he showed me had some ashy looking stuff in the unit and said that was what happened when it blew out. He said it will cost 415 to replace. I have never used this company before and wanted to make sure I wasn't getting snookered. Does this sound legitimate? We do live in an area that can dip down to 0 in the winter but not too often.

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    Sounds a little questionable to me. A "heat strip" is a real thing, and you may well use it even if the temperature doesn't get that cold. I would think a heat pump would be designed such that the heat strip burning up (which can certainly happen - essentially the same thing as when an incandescent light bulb burns out) would not be likely to cause any damage outside the unit. Do you have a model # of the heat pump? Apr 17, 2019 at 0:36
  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Where in the world are you? Apr 17, 2019 at 1:04
  • HI, we are in south Carolina, It is contained in the unit ,he had to remove the panel to get to it and told us if we removed it too look to be careful because its got power .We are from the north and used to a gas furnace. This is a unit in the attic and we didn't even realize it was an electric run thing for a couple years .
    – jane
    Apr 17, 2019 at 11:23
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    It doesn't have power if you shut the supply breakers off. Thing is, on heat pumps, there are several. Apr 17, 2019 at 14:15

1 Answer 1


Heat pumps work by "harvesting" any heat in the outside air to heat your home, but there is a limit to what they can do so they have heat strips for when the outside air drops below 40F. Heat strips do burn out. Whether or not yours is really burned out or this guy is "snookering" you is something we can't help with.

  • Thanks ,yes hard to tell . he took a picture and there was some white ashy looking stuff inside but I don't know that much about it so I wouldn't have the slightest idea.
    – jane
    Apr 20, 2019 at 21:02

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