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Better Know If Emergency Heat Can Run Continuously

Better Know If Emergency Heat Can Run Continuously

Will the emergency heat on the thermostat be on continuously if you feel your heating system isn’t heating your home quickly enough?

Yes, until you manually turn off the emergency heat feature on your thermostat, it will operate continuously. However, be cautious because this uses your supplementary heat source, which isn’t intended to support the load of heating the house for an extended period of time.

Additionally, electric heat strips use a lot of energy, as can be seen on your electric bill.

Learn more about this backup heating system and how it affects your home by reading on. Additionally, we’ll let you know when this function turns on automatically and when you need adjust it manually. Finally, we’ll respond on whether you can use your backup heating system at night.

Does Emergency Heat Always Remain On?

Better Know If Emergency Heat Can Run Continuously

The heat pump in your home’s HVAC system operates the opposite of how your air conditioner does. In spite of the chilly weather, it transports heat from the outside to your home, keeping you warm and comfortable.

Of course, the heat pump would find it more difficult to extract heat from the outside environment when it was extremely cold outside.

At that point, it would add your heat pump’s backup heat source to its heating efforts.

These are coil-style electric heat strips that generate heat using electricity. It would take a lot of electricity to heat your home to a suitable temperature while using the supplemental heat source, especially when the temperature falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

You would incur a greater energy expense as a result. However, some auxiliary heat sources can also be powered by gas or oil, so you have options if you’re concerned about skyrocketing electricity costs.

The Emergency Heat setting on your thermostat can be turned on by the user. When “em heat” appears on the screen, this feature is active, and the heat pump will use the backup heat source as its primary source of heat.

It would immediately stop transferring heat from the outside to the interior via the heat pump or other methods. The emergency heat will be on nonstop at this time.

If you’re utilizing electric heat strips, it will feel like an electric furnace. Only when you manually deactivate your thermostat’s emergency heat setting would it stop functioning.

According to experts, you should only use your thermostat’s emergency heat setting in extreme circumstances, such as when your heat pump breaks down, and it shouldn’t be left on for an extended period of time. As soon as the primary heat pump is operational, you must switch it off.

Is Auxiliary Heat The Same As Emergency Heat?

Both of these features are present on your thermostat. Although the function is the same, there are several methods for turning on and off each feature.

When to employ the emergency heat option is up to you. You can activate it if you feel that your home is not as warm as you would like it to be or if your heat pump unexpectedly stops functioning for some reason.

The emergency heat setting must be used in these critical situations. But keep in mind that in order to utilize your heat pump once more, you must also manually turn it off.

If your heat pump isn’t working properly, which is why you used the emergency heat feature, you should contact an HVAC service provider right away to have the problem fixed.

Your backup heat source may occasionally be turned on automatically by your HVAC system, but it may also be turned off when the correct circumstances arise. The supplementary heating feature is this.

Your HVAC system’s auxiliary heat source is used by both the emergency heat and auxiliary heat features. Your heat pump would stop functioning as a result. When these features are disabled, your HVAC system will simply resume its regular heating cycle.

Why Does My Emergency Heat Continue To Operate?

Your HVAC system can automatically turn on the auxiliary heat because it is your backup heating source when necessary. Examples of such cases include the following:

  • When the temperature outside dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it would switch on. It would be quite difficult for the heat pump to draw any heat from its surroundings.
  • When your heat pump defrosts after being subjected to subfreezing conditions, it would turn on.
  • When there is at least a 3-degree discrepancy between the temperature inside and the temperature set on your thermostat, it often turns on.

Your HVAC system will automatically activate the auxiliary heat setting under these circumstances, but it will also immediately deactivate it whenever the appropriate conditions are present.

Of course, as was already mentioned, if you believe that an additional heat source is required, you may also manually activate the emergency heat feature.

You should be on the lookout for situations where your emergency heat continues to operate even though the ambient temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Your heat pump may not be operating properly if it was unable to detect a temperature change.

Other warning signals include unusually high electric bills and the inability of your HVAC system to keep your home at the temperature you’ve set on the thermostat, despite your wearing warm clothing and a heavy blanket.

When Should I Set The Emergency Setting On My Heat Pump Thermostat?

Better Know If Emergency Heat Can Run Continuously

Knowing that you have complete control over the emergency heat setting, it’s time to learn the appropriate circumstances for using this function so that you don’t wind up paying more for electricity.

The following situations necessitate turning your thermostat to emergency heat.

A Break For Your Heat Pump
Your heat pump works overtime to try to transmit outdoor heat into your home when there are several days of below-freezing conditions.

It would be preferable to give your heat pump a break so that it won’t be overworked as there is practically any heat if the temperature dips for days.

Better Know If Emergency Heat Can Run Continuously

If The Heat Pump Fails
You strive to prevent this from happening, but if it does, you will have to use your backup heat source to stay warm. Your heat pump could malfunction due to overheating or suffer damage from a snowstorm, rendering it incapable of performing its function.

But keep in mind that you should also contact your dependable HVAC service provider when this occurs so that they can assist you in quickly restoring your home’s regular heating cycle.

There is a reason why your backup heat source isn’t intended to serve as your primary house heating source.

The appliance may be unable to handle this load, and if it is used continuously, it will eventually malfunction.

Not to mention how much more energy you would need to heat your home, which would drive up your electricity costs. Of course, if you have a gas or oil furnace at home, this isn’t really a problem.

Can I Leave The Emergency Heat On All Night?

Is it still legal to utilize your backup heat source if the situation lasts all night? For a while now, we have been warning you not to use the emergency heat, but how long exactly are we talking about?

In order to respond to these inquiries, yes, it is acceptable to use your emergency heat overnight. The length of its running time is undetermined.

You should only use it in emergencies, and you should get your heat pump mended quickly away to fix the problem. Turn off the emergency heat as soon as it is rectified.

The primary worry in this situation is that the secondary heat source might not be able to keep up with the demand of heating your home for an extended period. If you use it frequently, your HVAC system may require more expensive repairs.

Additionally, it costs more to operate than your heat pump. It uses extra electricity, and you must pay for its use in addition to the standard HVAC system charge.

To demonstrate this argument, consider that while you would typically spend $32.76 per week using your heat pump, activating the emergency heat would result in a weekly electric bill of $196.56.

What a significant difference! Therefore, avoid using your emergency heat when it is not required.


When you activate the emergency heat setting on your thermostat, the heat will stay on until you manually turn it off. This function of your thermostat is constantly in your hands.

Just be careful while using it because it could have a big impact on your electric bill and if you use it frequently, your backup heat source might not be able to keep up.

Better Know If Emergency Heat Can Run Continuously

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Written by HVAC Contributor

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