Hello. I'm located in S Florida and needed to replace my 2 piece a/c. I'm using a licensed contractor and bought the Rheem/Ruud brand value series 3 ton 13seer RHSL HM3617JA air handler and 13AJN36aA01 outside unit. My sales agreement calls for a 10kw heat strip. The space the air handler fit was very narrow and the 17.5" box on the air handler fit only by removing the screws to get it through the doorway. The narrow width of the air handler is the reason I chose Rheem.
The 10kw heat strip called for a 60amp circuit breaker and I have a 50amp stab-loc breaker in a 200amp Federal Pacific Electric panel from the mid 1960s when the house was built. The tech installed the 10kw for a temporary heat source and came back the next day and installed the 7kw heat strip. The 10kw was considerably warmer but it did trip the breaker once. I reset the breaker and it functioned fine. The newly installed 7kw heat strip tripped the breaker after less than 10 minutes operation and continued to trip the breaker after a few minutes operation so I've turned the unit off. The heat output was lukewarm at best.
The breaker is a Federal Pacific Stab-loc 50 amp and the tech said they were out of production and expensive so rather than upgrade my breaker to the 60 amp that a 10kw heat strip calls for he would down grade the heat strip so it would be appropriate for my 50amp breaker.
Since the breaker continues to trip I'm assuming it is weak, although it never caused a problem with the 25 year old 3 ton a/c unit I replaced. I called the contractor and asked to have the breaker replaced with a 60amp and the 10kw heat strip re-installed as per our sales agreement. Am I thinking correctly that a 7kw heat strip puts out 30% less heat than a 10kw strip?
A quick internet search shows replacement FPE stab-loc 60amp breakers mfgd by Connecticut Electric are available on Amazon for around $50 shipped and the few performance reviews are positive.
Any comments or suggestions? The code enforcement inspector hasn't inspected yet. Assuming he comes Monday, and that I haven't heard from my installer by then, should I keep my complaint between the ac installer and myself or should I tell code enforcement that the unit is tripping breakers. I don't want to get in a bureaucrat maze but until they sign off I've got a bit of leverage. I'm not asking the installer to buy the breaker but I do think he should do the install and re-install the 10kw heat strip as per the original agreement at no charge.