If you use a heat pump to keep your home warm during the winter, it’s a good idea to be aware of the difference between “auxiliary heat” and “emergency heat.” Auxiliary heat supplements your heat pump when it needs it and will kick on when it’s needed by your heat pump. You don’t have to think about it or turn it on -- just leave your thermostat’s setting on “Heat” and let it work its magic. By contrast, to use emergency heat, you switch your setting from “Heat” to “Emergency Heat” on your thermostat. By doing so, you’re turning OFF your heat pump and turning ON your electric heat - any level of energy efficiency goes out the window and can send your energy bills through the roof!
Running your heat pump continuously on auxiliary heat is more energy-efficient than switching to emergency heat. You should consider the “Emergency Heat” as just that – “Emergency” heat. Use it only in the event of an emergency, such as if your heat pump stops working. If that happens, contact a licensed professional right away to check your heating system. To ensure your system is running in tip-top shape, make sure to schedule an inspection once a year.