08:33AM | 02/01/04
Member Since: 01/31/04
2 lifetime posts
I have an electrc furnace and a heat pump. Does it make sense to turn the thermostat to the "emergency heat" setting (bypassing the heatpump) in very cold weather to save the cost of running the heat pump fan? Does this cause any problems?

plumber Tom

10:23AM | 02/01/04
Member Since: 05/10/03
801 lifetime posts
Heat pumps are not designed to heat in sub-freezing temps. You may have supplemental resistance heating elements inside your air handler. Yes turn them on, but you won't achieve a comfortable temperature.


03:42PM | 02/09/04
Member Since: 02/08/04
2 lifetime posts
Your heat pump is running the most effecient with your condenser (outside fan) running. It is far more cheaper to have your condenser run than having your emergency heat on. Your emergency heat is just that ( for emergency!) When it gets too cold outside and your condenser can no longer make enough heat, to heat your house, the emergency heat will come on to help raise the air temperature leaving your air handler.


12:44PM | 02/16/04
Member Since: 02/05/04
2 lifetime posts
Heat pumps are not designed to heat in sub-freezing temps. You may have supplemental resistance heating elements inside your air handler. Yes turn them on, but you won't achieve a comfortable temperature.

A blanket statement like that doesn't apply to every situation. I have a two-speed Lennox heat pump that can keep 72°F indoors and cycle on/off, at ambients down to 27°F or so, without using the auxiliary. Haven't had anything lower than that in a while. I have the auxiliary locked out at ambient of 25°F or above (except during defrost).

Emergency and auxiliary are the same heat source in the system (electric strips or whatever). The term "emergency" is used if/when the heat pump compressor fails completely and the heat strips are the only available source of heat. Usually a switch on the thermostat is manually flipped to shut off the compressor and enable the electric strips to run exclusively.

The term "auxiliary" is used when the outdoor temp falls below the balance-point at which the heat pump alone cannot supply sufficient heat and the electric strips cycle on/off as needed to assist, while the compressor continues to run normally. This is still cheaper and more efficient than running in pure emergency mode.

I'm no expert on the industry, but I would assume a modern heat pump would have exernal temp sensors and other safeguards to prevent the compressor from running if it was dangerous to the health of the system.

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