Heat pumps are the most efficient form of electric heating, and are a great choice if you don’t have the option of using natural gas. But it’s come to our attention at Climate Control Company that some homeowners in Glenwood Springs, Aspen, and Vail, CO are wasting that efficiency by using your heat pump thermostat the wrong way.
Heat pumps and cold air
By now most of you should be aware of how heat pumps work. They squeeze heat from the air outside and transfer the warmth into your house. While there is less heat available when its cold outside, modern heat pumps are effective in temperatures down to zero degrees or even lower.
So, what’s the problem?
Most heat pumps have what’s called an emergency heat setting as part of the controls. When the thermostat is set to emergency heat it turns on an electric heating element. Think of it like turning on an electric space heater inside your air handler. It will provide warm air but also cause your electric bill to skyrocket if you use it very much.
When should I use it?
There’s a lot of bad advice out there about when to use emergency heat. Climate Control has heard stories of people being advised to use the emergency heat whenever the temperature falls into the 30’s or below freezing. That’s just not the case. If your heat pump doesn’t keep your home comfortable when the temperature drops, chances are you need to call us for maintenance instead of turning the thermostat to emergency heat.
Emergency means emergency
What’s the setting on the thermostat say? It says EMERGENCY HEAT. It should only be used in an emergency like when the heat pump has stopped operating because of a breakdown. There could also be a rare situation when a big artic front moves in and drives the temperature well below zero and your heat pump won’t be able to keep up. In those cases, emergency heat will make your home more comfortable, but it will come at a high cost in terms of efficiency.
Some Glenwood Springs, Aspen, and Vail, CO residents may want to consider a dual fuel system. An electric heat pump is the primary heating source and keeps the home comfortable during normal winter conditions. A natural gas or propane furnace can be installed as a supplemental system. When it gets extremely cold, the furnace takes over and the heat pump shuts down. Using the furnace is much more efficient than turning on the emergency heat setting on the heat pump.
Comfort Driven, Colorado Style
That’s our motto and what we’ve been providing since Climate Control Company opened its doors in 1956. If you have any more questions about the operation of your heat pump and its thermostat, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.