Everything You Need to Know About Emergency Heat

Texans are currently experiencing an unprecedented winter storm. People are increasingly wary of car accidents, power outages, and problems with heating their homes. Many homeowners in the south depend upon heat pumps to heat and cool their homes. This is because it’s an incredibly effective method in mild climates. However, with snow and ice building up it may be time to switch your heat pump to emergency mode. 

How Do Heat Pumps Work?

A heat pump is HVAC equipment installed outside of your home. The pump redistributes hot air to heat and cools your home. When it’s cold outside the unit pulls heat out of the air and into your home. When it’s too hot inside the pump pulls hot air out of your home and transfers it outside. However, this heating method doesn’t work in freezing temperatures. 

What is Emergency Heat?

When the temperature drops below freezing and your heat pump isn’t working, you can set your thermostat to emergency heat. This can also be automatically triggered at 35 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature gets too low, your pump won’t function properly because there isn’t any heat for the pump to transfer. The system will depend on a furnace or heat strips to heat your home. 

When you switch to emergency heat, your pump will stop trying to extract heat from the outside and will only utilize the secondary heating method. 

When to Use Emergency Heat

You should only use emergency heat, as the name suggests, in emergency situations. You should turn on the emergency heat if your heat pump stops functioning and your home isn’t warming up. This happens quite often when temperatures hit the freezing point. 

If your heating system doesn’t automatically switch to emergency heat, you should do it manually. This will help prevent damage to your primary unit and heat your residence faster.  

Cost of Using Emergency Heat

Switching to emergency heat can be expensive if you have an electric heating system. For this reason, you shouldn’t use emergency heat unless it’s absolutely necessary. You don’t necessarily need to turn the emergency heat on just because it’s cold. However, it is necessary if your pump stops working altogether.

Running your emergency heat increases your energy usage and drives up your energy bill. If your system is all-electric you can stand to lose quite a bit of money heating your home this way for extended periods of time. However, if your backup heating system runs on gas or oil, you may get a bit of a price break. 

Protect Your Heat Pump

You should check your heat pump for snow and ice buildup during the winter months. Do your best to keep it clear. If you notice too much debris, call an HVAC repairman to get the unit fixed. If you take care of it quickly, you could save a lot of money on future repairs or a replacement. 

Call Ellis AC

Our HVAC professionals know how important it is to maintain your heating system. It’s more important than ever with all 254 Texas counties under winter storm warnings. If you notice an excessive build-up on your heat pump or your home isn’t warming up enough, call us immediately. We’re here to help keep you safe and warm during the winter months. 

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