we've got car guys here...do we have any HVAC guys?


Apr 9, 2000
I've got a problem with my furnace in my house. It's actually a heat pump, made by bryant. It's about 9 yrs old, but it works great...until now. When it operates as a heat pump, I have no problems. But, when the house gets really cold (like now) and the heat pump can't keep up, an auxillary heating coil (actually 2 or 3) kick in, noted by a little green light on my thermostat.

anyway, when this auxillary heat "circuit" turns on, after about 2-5 minutes, the 220V breaker (which feeds the heating coils, blower, and the rest of the system) trips. I was able to look inside the unit and noticed that one of the coils is getting red hot, while the other 2 are not. when the breaker trips, it takes the whole system down, leaving the house FREEZING by morning. if I reset the breaker and set the thermostat low enough that the aux. heat doesn't kick on, it will run all day

Anyone encounter a problem like this before?

it looks like it would be hella easy to fix, if I knew what part to replace...and where to get it.


Diamond Member
Jan 11, 2000
Do you have, or , know how to operate a multimeter? Where this system mine I would check the resistance of each of the elements, or even better, if possible, the voltage drop across each while the heating circiut is running, this would need to be done carefully!

Safest is to check the resistance since this must be done with no applied power, but you need to be able to disconnect wiriing to at least one side of each element. The one of interest of couse is the hot one, we need to know how its resistance compares to the others. If you are not comfortable with such matters you need to call your local dealer for that brand, it may cost a bit.

My guess ( and that is all I can do) is that the element that is running hot has an internal short, causeing a high current draw, thus the overheated element and the tripped circiut breaker, this element may need to be replaced. To do any real troubleshooting I need to have access to a wiring diagram and the unit. Good luck.