The Real Score on Emergency Heat

using a thermostat

You probably know that there’s this additional setting on your heat pump’s thermostat aside from off, cool, and heat—the emergency heat. But what’s this setting for really, and what exactly does it do? More importantly, why should you care about this emergency heat setting?

How Does Emergency Heat Function?

Essentially, the emergency heat setting is your heat pump’s secondary heating source. It’s utilized in heating systems if it detects your home’s temperature is too low that your main unit can’t handle heating efficiently. Majority of heating systems make use of oil, hot water, and gas to operate, and often, it’s common for both your main and secondary heating sources to function together to warm up your home during especially cold winter months, explains a licensed emergency heating expert in Riverton.

Unfortunately, some homeowners switch to the emergency heat setting as soon as temperatures drop. DON’T DO THIS! You’ll just be wasting your money because your main unit could get the job done properly and will only need help from the emergency heat, the secondary heating source, when and if necessary.

So When Should You Use Emergency Heat?

The answer to this question is simple: you use your emergency heat setting during actual emergencies. You turn it on (or your thermostat does it for you automatically), during emergencies, such as when your heat pump, your main heating source, malfunctions. For instance, if it freezes over, shorts out, or when a tree limb or heavy snow accumulates on top of your outside unit. You simply flip the switch and then call an emergency heating repair professional.

If you have an all-electric heating system, the emergency heat could keep your home warm until you could get your heat pump repaired. If you have an oil or gas furnace secondary systems, the emergency heat could suffice for longer, but don’t be surprised for an increase in your electric bill.

To sum up, only use your emergency heat during a real emergency—when your heat pump fails. Save your hard-earned cash and keep your heat pump’s thermostat on the “Heat” setting in the winter, and should you need to use the emergency heat, have an HVAC professional inspect and repair your heat pump as soon as possible.