January 18, 2024
AUX heating in Hanover, MD

Heat pumps are excellent for your home during cooler weather. They are mostly efficient, and they don’t leave a carbon footprint. But the colder it gets, the longer it takes for your heat pump to work. Temperatures below 35 can slow it down and cause it to produce less heat. An auxiliary heating system is an excellent backup that helps keep your heat going strong regardless of the weather.

Is Auxiliary Heat The Same as Emergency Heat?

Nothing is worse than having your heat go out during freezing weather. When that happens, you know it’s your heat pump. It can no longer keep up with the demand, so it stops working. If you don’t have a backup heat system, your only hope is to turn on the emergency heat.
When heat from another source turns on automatically, it is known auxillary heat.

Factors that Cause Auxiliary Heat to Come on

Auxiliary heat that comes on continuously and without warning is a cause for concern. The main reason is that it’s constant use can impact your monthly expenses. Auxiliary heat can run up your electric bill by as much as 50% because it uses more electricity than any other thermostat setting.

There are several reasons why your auxiliary heat turns on. Most of these reasons are connected to drastic changes in temperature. A sudden blast of cold wind from an open door or a faulty duct system can cause the system to turn on. Other reasons include increasing the temperature by more than 5° or a sudden change in the outside weather. Whatever the reason is, it’s a problem you should be aware of.

Whenever your thermostat is unable to produce sufficient heat, your auxiliary feature will turn on. It acts as a backup source that keeps
your heat going strong. Auxiliary heat should only run for a limited amount of time. If it stays on for an extended period, the issue could be a mechanical one.

One problem may be your heat pump. If it fails to turn on, it won’t produce any heat. If your heat pump keeps going out, it could be causing a major drop in temperature, which causes the aux function to turn on right away. Sometimes, your thermostat may be to blame. It may not be communicating with your heat pump at all. Failure of your thermostat to command your heat pump to turn on could be what’s causing the problem.

A bad fan motor could be another issue impacting auxiliary heat. It’s the part of an HVAC system that keeps your heat and air circulating. The fan motor works to distribute heat throughout your home. And when it stops working, your temperatures begin to drop.

Signs That Your Auxiliary Heat is Always On

Your auxiliary heat should not run unless your house is cold. But if your system stays in that setting for an extended period, there is a problem. Below are a few red flags to look out for.

A Sudden Spike in Your Energy Bill

A sudden surge in your energy bill is a sign of a problem. Your auxiliary heat may be working too hard to keep your home warm. An HVAC system that’s the wrong size for your home could be a part of the problem.

It’s odd for your auxiliary heat to turn on when the weather is warm. There are two possible reasons this may be happening. One is that you adjusted the thermostat 5° higher or lower than average. Otherwise, you could have a bad heat pump. If that’s the case, you should call an HVAC specialist immediately.

No Response to Thermostat Changes

If you want to shut off auxiliary heating, you can begin by turning down your thermostat. Getting it down to a reasonable level should solve the problem of a running auxiliary system. It’s best to try and cut it down by at least 5°.

If turning down your thermostat doesn’t work, try turning it off. If nothing happens, there is a problem. Your auxillary heating could be running because of a bad heat pump. If you’re living in a cold area, outside temperatures could be to blame. In areas where the temperature is 35° or below, auxiliary heat can turn on automatically. If that’s the case, it’s normal. The only time you’ll have a problem is when temperatures are around 50°-60°.

Defrosting in the Heat Pump

Thanks to advances in technology, HVAC systems are getting better. Built-in sensors have evolved to the point where problems are detected early on. In some cases, you may experience issues along the way. Your auxillary heat may overreact in some cases.

Ice that accumulates around your condenser coils will cause your aux feature to go into overdrive. When your HVAC system detects this problem, it sends your system right into defrost mode. Hot air is pulled from an external source and directed towards the condenser coils, where it melts the ice. When this happens, you will receive an alert. Meanwhile, your HVAC will switch to auxiliary mode to keep your house warm.

These problems are normal for colder regions. During a harsh winter, your system will continue to defrost periodically to keep itself running at an optimal level. In most cases, it only takes a few minutes to thaw out your condenser coils. In most cases, it’s nothing to worry about. But if your defrost kicks on too often or stays on for an extended period, you should call a professional.

If Your Emergency Heat Setting is On

Most HVAC units have a manual switch that allows you to turn on your emergency heat yourself. It can be used to turn on auxiliary heat as a backup source. However, it’s going to shut your heat pump off in the process. Your energy costs will rise because you’re relying on an alternative heat source. This is especially true if your home has a duel fuel system that uses the most efficient source at a reasonable cost.
An emergency heat system should only be used during extreme temperatures. Turning it on for extra warmth can cause your monthly energy rates to rise.

Sometimes, children may play with the thermostat and turn on your emergency heat. In this case, a simple reminder about not touching the thermostat should do. An excellent preventive measure would be to lock the thermostat in a glass case.

Preventive Measures

Taking care of your unit can prevent a lot of issues with auxiliary heating. The balance between energy costs and saving money involves a little prevention. A great way to start is by keeping your entire system clean. Start by wiping down the areas of your outdoor unit on a routine basis. Check your air filters and have them replaced as needed. Clear your vents and ducts of any dirt or clutter that impact air flow.

Call the Pros

If something goes wrong with your heat pump, call a professional immediately. It could be bad wiring or poor installation. If your pump is old or worn, you may need a new one. At Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating, we’ll install a new heat pump for your MD home. We serve Colombia, Hanover, and other surrounding areas. Visit our website to learn more.

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