Is Auxiliary Heat the Same as Emergency Heat Explained

Is Auxiliary Heat the Same as Emergency Heat?

No, auxiliary heat is not the same as emergency heat.

Auxiliary heat is a backup system that is activated when the primary heating system, typically a heat pump, cannot meet the heating demands of the space.

It is triggered by a temperature difference set by the thermostat.

Auxiliary heat uses electric resistance heat strips to generate heat.

On the other hand, emergency heat is a manual switch on the thermostat that bypasses the primary heating system entirely and directly activates the electric resistance heat.

It should be used in situations when the primary heating system is malfunctioning or unable to heat the space.

If the auxiliary heat keeps running, it is recommended to contact a heating and cooling expert for assistance.

The use of auxiliary heat can increase electricity usage and consequently, energy bills.

The thermostat usually indicates the use of auxiliary heat with an indicator light or symbol.

In extreme cold temperatures, heat pumps may struggle to maintain ideal temperatures, leading to the activation of auxiliary heat.

If a home consistently feels too hot or too cold, reaching out to a heating and cooling expert is advisable.

Paschal Air, Plumbing & Electric offers various services related to heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems.

Key Points:

  • Auxiliary heat and emergency heat are not the same.
  • Auxiliary heat is a backup system for when the primary heating system cannot meet demands.
  • It is triggered by the thermostat and uses electric resistance heat strips.
  • Emergency heat bypasses the primary system and directly activates electric resistance heat.
  • Auxiliary heat should be used when the primary system is malfunctioning or unable to heat.
  • If auxiliary heat continues running, contact a heating and cooling expert for help.

Did You Know?

1. Contrary to popular belief, auxiliary heat and emergency heat are not the same thing. While both are supplemental heating methods, they function differently and serve distinct purposes.

2. Auxiliary heat is a backup heating system that works alongside a primary heat source, such as a heat pump. It kicks in when the primary system cannot keep up with the desired temperature, providing additional warmth to meet the desired setting.

3. On the other hand, emergency heat is designed to be used in extreme situations, such as when the primary heat source malfunctions or during severe weather conditions. Emergency heat typically operates independently from the primary system, using a secondary heat source like electric resistance coils.

4. Auxiliary heat tends to be more energy-efficient compared to emergency heat. Since auxiliary heat works alongside the primary heat source, it utilizes the heat pump’s energy-saving capabilities. Emergency heat, however, relies solely on electric resistance, making it less efficient and potentially more expensive to run.

5. Knowing the difference between auxiliary heat and emergency heat is crucial for homeowners, as using them incorrectly can lead to excessive energy consumption and inflated utility bills. Understanding how these heating options work can help optimize home heating systems for maximum comfort and efficiency.

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1. Is Auxiliary Heat The Same As Emergency Heat?

Many homeowners often confuse auxiliary heat and emergency heat, assuming they are the same thing. However, they are not synonymous, and it is crucial to understand the differences between the two.

Auxiliary heat is a secondary source of heat used to supplement the primary heating system. It is commonly found in heat pump systems, which are popular due to their energy efficiency. These systems extract heat from the air or ground and transfer it indoors to warm the living space. However, when the outdoor temperature drops significantly, heat pumps may struggle to efficiently extract enough heat. In these instances, auxiliary heat is activated to supplement the heat pump and ensure the desired indoor temperature is maintained.

On the other hand, emergency heat is a backup system typically found in heat pump systems. It is used only when the primary heating system malfunctions or when the heat pump cannot handle extremely low temperatures. Emergency heat operates using a secondary heat source, such as resistance heating coils, which can produce heat quickly and efficiently. This backup system ensures that your home remains warm even in the event of a complete failure of the primary heating system.

2. Activation Triggers For Auxiliary Heat

The activation of auxiliary heat is dependent on the outdoor temperature and the temperature setting on your thermostat. When the outdoor temperature drops below a certain point, known as the balance point, the heat pump may struggle to provide sufficient warmth to the home. In such cases, the thermostat signals the system to activate the auxiliary heat to supplement the heat pump.

The balance point temperature differs depending on various factors, including the efficiency of your heat pump, the insulation in your home, and the desired indoor temperature. Typically, the balance point falls around 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. When the outdoor temperature falls below this threshold, the auxiliary heat is triggered to ensure comfortable indoor temperatures.

  • The activation of auxiliary heat is dependent on outdoor temperature and thermostat settings.
  • The balance point temperature varies based on heat pump efficiency, home insulation, and desired indoor temperature.
  • Typically, it falls around 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • When the outdoor temperature drops below this threshold, auxiliary heat is activated to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures.

3. How Auxiliary Heat Works

Auxiliary heat is used to supplement the primary heat pump system by activating a secondary heat source. This secondary heat source can be either electric resistance heating coils or a gas furnace. When the auxiliary heat is activated, these heating elements generate heat that is distributed throughout the home, ensuring that the desired temperature is achieved.

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The activation of auxiliary heat is managed by your thermostat. The thermostat detects the need for supplemental heat based on the temperature settings and the outdoor temperature. Once the thermostat determines that the heat pump alone cannot meet the heating demand, it signals the auxiliary heat system to engage. The auxiliary heat remains active until the outdoor temperature rises above the balance point or until the heating demand decreases.

4. When To Use Emergency Heat

Emergency heat should only be used in rare situations when your primary heating system is completely inoperable. This occurs when your heat pump malfunctions or is unable to handle extremely low temperatures.

Emergency heat acts as a backup system, ensuring that your home remains heated while you wait for repairs or replacement of your primary heating system.

It is crucial to note that emergency heat should not be used as a regular heating option, as it consumes significantly more energy than a properly functioning heat pump. Running emergency heat continuously will lead to increased electricity usage and higher energy bills.

Therefore, it is essential to contact a heating and cooling expert as soon as possible to diagnose and repair any issues with your primary heating system.

5. Troubleshooting Runaway Auxiliary Heat

If your auxiliary heat keeps running even when the outdoor temperature is above the balance point, there may be an issue with your heat pump or thermostat. It is important to troubleshoot this problem to avoid unnecessary energy consumption and high electricity bills.

First, ensure that your thermostat is set to the correct temperature and heating mode. If the heat pump is still running when it shouldn’t be, try resetting the thermostat and checking for any error codes. If the issue persists, it is recommended to contact a heating and cooling expert who can diagnose and resolve the problem.

6. Impact Of Auxiliary Heat On Electricity Usage

The use of auxiliary heat can indeed increase electricity usage and lead to higher energy bills. While heat pumps are known for their energy efficiency, auxiliary heat relies on electric resistance heating, which consumes more energy. When the auxiliary heat is activated, the increase in energy consumption is significant, affecting your monthly electricity costs.

To minimize the impact of auxiliary heat on your electricity usage and bills, it is essential to properly maintain and service your heat pump system. Regular maintenance, including cleaning the filters and coils, can help optimize the efficiency of your heat pump and reduce the reliance on auxiliary heat.

In conclusion, auxiliary heat and emergency heat are not the same. Auxiliary heat is used to supplement the primary heating system, typically a heat pump, when it struggles to extract sufficient heat from the outdoor air. Emergency heat is a backup system that kicks in when the primary heating system fails. It is crucial to understand the activation triggers, how auxiliary heat works, and the limitations of emergency heat to ensure a comfortable and energy-efficient home. If you encounter any issues with your heating system, it is always recommended to consult a professional heating and cooling expert.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between aux and em heat pump?

The main difference between the auxiliary (aux) and emergency (em) heat pump is the way they are activated and used. The aux heat pump function is triggered automatically and provides additional heat support when needed. It operates alongside the primary heat pump system and is meant to help meet the heating demands of your home. On the other hand, the emergency heat pump function needs to be manually activated and is used as a backup when there are issues with the main heat pump system. It is temporarily relied upon until a professional HVAC technician arrives to resolve the problem. It is crucial to remember to turn off the emergency heat setting once repairs have been made.

How do I know if I have aux or emergency heat?

To determine if you have auxiliary or emergency heat, you can check your thermostat display. If it shows “AUX,” that means your heat pump is in auxiliary mode. Additionally, you can examine the equipment itself. Look for a set of electric heat strips within the indoor air handler; these serve as the backup heating element.

Is it cheaper to run aux heat or emergency heat?

When it comes to heating costs, it is generally cheaper to run the auxiliary heat rather than emergency heat. The use of emergency heat often implies a complete reliance on the backup system, which consumes a significant amount of energy. In comparison, the auxiliary heat mode, although it also consumes more energy than the heat pump alone, tends to be a more efficient and cost-effective option. While both options will result in increased energy bills, using emergency heat can lead to costs that are up to 50% higher compared to the auxiliary heat mode.

What is auxiliary heat?

Auxiliary heat is a supplemental heating system that activates automatically when the primary heat source is unable to adequately warm a space. In instances when the outdoor temperatures become too low for the heat pump to efficiently generate warm air, the auxiliary heat kicks in to assist and ensure a comfortable indoor temperature. Unlike emergency heat, which requires manual activation, auxiliary heat serves as a backup system that seamlessly engages when needed, providing an additional boost to maintain a cozy home environment.

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