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What is Emergency Heat on a Heat Pump System?

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If you have a heat pump system in your home, there may come a time when you need to use the emergency heat setting. A heat pump is like an air conditioner in that it can cool your home, but it’s also capable of providing heat. Heat pumps cannot create heat or cold air on their own. They transfer warmth and coolness from one place to another. They redistribute heat from the air or ground and use a refrigerant that circulates between the indoor fan coil (air handler) unit and the outdoor compressor to transfer the heat. Heat Pumps are powered by electricity and transfer heat using refrigerant to provide comfort all year round. Because heat pumps do not burn fuel like furnaces do, they are more environmentally friendly and energy efficient.
In cooling mode, a heat pump absorbs heat inside your home and releases it outdoors. In heating mode, the heat pump absorbs heat from the ground or outside air (even cold air) and releases it indoors.

In cooling mode, a heat pump absorbs heat inside your home and releases it outdoors. In heating mode, the heat pump absorbs heat from the ground or outside air (even cold air) and releases it indoors. If you live in an area with milder temperatures where the temperature does not typically drop below freezing, heat pumps are great for saving money and energy. However, you should always have a backup heating source for when temperatures drop too low and emergency heat becomes a necessity.

What happens if it’s too cold outside for your Heat Pump to work effectively?

When the temperature outside drops too low for the heat pump to effectively operate a secondary heating source can be used to keep your home warm. There are a couple of different functions to achieve this. Heat pumps will have an auxiliary heat and an emergency heat function. In most cases, both auxiliary and emergency heat is provided with electric heat strips that are added to the indoor fan coil.

Auxiliary Heat on a Heat Pump System

Auxiliary heat is an automatic function that will activate when there is a slight difference between your thermostat setting and the actual indoor temperature. When auxiliary heat is activated, your heat pump energizes a heat strip within its system for an added heating boost. Once the desired temperature is achieved your system will automatically disengage the auxiliary heat function.

Emergency Heat on a Heat Pump System

The heat pump emergency heat setting is a manual setting used when outdoor temperatures are so low your heat pump needs a break to avoid system damage. When you manually set the emergency heat on your thermostat, your heat pump is shut down entirely and the electric heat strips are activated. This allows heat into your home without damaging your outdoor heat pump system. Emergency heat mode will keep you warm but can dramatically increase your electricity bill if used for too long.

Heat Pump Maintenance

Regular maintenance checks on your HVAC system is an important step to maintaining a comfortable home. If your heat pump suddenly breaks, you may be stuck running emergency heat for a few days as you wait on an HVAC service person. Our Preventative Maintenance Agreement is among the most comprehensive plans in the industry. We go beyond simple checkups to investigate parts and systems that may be coming under duress, catching any problems early so that they don’t turn into big headaches later. Give us a call today to schedule your Heat Pump Maintenance – (972) 288-2263

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