Electricians: Ignite a Spark and Learn About Electricy

Electricians: Ignite a Spark and Learn About Electricy

When to Use the Emergency Heat Switch on Your Heat Pump

Byron Holmes

Many new heat pump owners have probably seen the 'Emergency Heat' setting also labeled as 'aux' or 'auxiliary heat' on their heat pumps' thermostats but don't really know what it means or its function. So when should you switch your heat pump setting to emergency heat mode? Well, simply put, only when your heat pump malfunctions should you switch to emergency heat. For a detailed explanation, it's important to know the function of the Emergency Heat setting, and to that effect, there's need to understand the typical operations of a heat pump, particularly in cold weather. Read on for more insight.

How it works

A heat pump is an electrical device capable of extracting heat energy from the interiors to exteriors or vice versa during either summer or winter period. This is why it's sometimes referred to as a reverse cycle air conditioner. However, when outside temperatures fall, especially in colder months, heat pumps usually have a hard time extracting heat from the outside air to heat your home, and, consequently, they turn to a secondary heat source which is typically located in the indoor unit.

What is Emergency Heat?

This is the second stage heat or supplemental heat that your pump's thermostat turns to when the pump itself is unable to extract heat from the exteriors in freezing weather. Second stage heat generally includes electric, gas or oil sources. By turning to Emergency Heat, your system directly ignores the heat pump and directly taps into either the electric heat strip or oil/gas furnace heat. Given that this second stage source of heat is meant to be complementary, running your heat pump exclusively using it increases your system's energy usage and contributes to mounting energy bills.

When to turn on the Emergency Heat setting

Contrary to the belief of many, Emergency Heat should not be switched on during cold weather. Ideally, it should only be turned on in emergency situations, when the heat pump breaks down and cannot function.

For instance, if a tree falls on your outdoor unit, resulting in serious damage, you can switch to Emergency Heat and contact an HVAC expert immediately. Moreover, if your heat pump freezes over or shorts out, turn on the Emergency Heat and schedule an HVAC maintenance appointment straight away. The Emergency Heat is meant to keep your home warm pending the repair of your heat pump.

In conclusion, now that you understand the function of Emergency Heat setting, only use it when it's when necessary.


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About Me
Electricians: Ignite a Spark and Learn About Electricy

Hello and welcome to my blog. My name is Steve. After studying a lot of books on electrical codes and watching a great deal of videos online, I actually rewired my entire home. In this blog, I plan to give you tips on wiring, electrical safety and more. I also plan to write interesting facts about electricity, but don't expect this blog to be just about electricity--I love tech and other home improvements as well, so you may see posts related to that. Interested in learning? Then, take a look through these posts. I hope they ignite a spark of excitement in you.