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Is It More Expensive To Run Emergency Heat?

Is It More Expensive To Run Emergency Heat?

If your furnace or heat pump malfunctions in the dead of winter, your home’s emergency heat can save your life. But if you have to use emergency heat, is it more expensive to run? So that you know what to expect, let’s have a look.

Because emergency heat requires more energy than your heat pump or furnace, it often costs more to operate. If at all possible, try to stay away from using emergency heat, but if you must, be ready for a higher energy cost.

You can plan your budget and get ready for a higher energy bill by understanding the costs of operating your emergency heat.

Why Does Emergency Heat Cost More?

It’s critical to comprehend how emergency heat operates before we discuss why it costs more. When your heat pump or furnace malfunctions, an emergency heating system takes over. Usually, electricity is used to power it, which is more expensive than natural gas.

Normally, your heat pump will immediately switch to emergency heat if the temperature in your house drops below 35 degrees Fahrenheit. This is due to the fact that heat pumps lose efficiency in cold weather and risk freezing if they aren’t properly maintained.

Your heat pump works harder than usual to keep your house warm when it is operating in emergency heat mode. Sadly, this results in higher energy consumption and a higher energy bill.

The cost of running emergency heat may also increase due to a few other variables. For instance, it will require more energy to keep your home warm if it is very big or has inadequate insulation.

Furthermore, using emergency heat more frequently will probably result in higher energy expenditures if you reside in an area with extreme temperatures.

Call a heating specialist as soon as you can if your emergency heat starts to operate unexpectedly. It’s critical to address the problem so you can use your heat pump or furnace again and save money on electricity.

How Much Does Running Emergency Heat Cost?

The size of your property and the outside temperature are two factors that affect the cost of keeping emergency heat. However, you should expect a significant increase in your energy expenditures if you utilize emergency heat.

For instance, at 30 degrees Fahrenheit, a week of typical operation costs roughly $33. Because emergency heat uses more watts, the cost will be higher. For less than $200, you may run emergency heat for that same week.

Your energy expenses have dramatically increased, as you can see. Therefore, if you frequently need emergency heat, the cost may add up rapidly and put a strain on your finances.

Why Did My Emergency Heat Turn On?

There are a few potential causes for your emergency heat to have turned on, including:

Defective Heat Pump

Is It More Expensive To Run Emergency Heat?

Heat pumps can malfunction like any other component. Emergency heat will immediately turn on to keep your home warm if your heat pump malfunctions.

Therefore, if you discover that your heat pump is malfunctioning, it’s crucial to have a heating professional come out and have a look at it.

Heat Pump Freezes

Your heat pump may freeze up in exceptionally cold weather. When this occurs, emergency heat will turn on immediately to protect your heat pump from additional harm.

It’s crucial to get your heat pump routinely maintained if you reside in an area with exceptionally low temperatures if you want to prevent this problem.

Low Levels Of Refrigerant

To function, heat pumps need refrigerants. Your heat pump won’t operate correctly if the refrigerant levels are low. Your heat pump may overheat and malfunction as a result, requiring emergency heating.

Unclean Air Filter

Is It More Expensive To Run Emergency Heat?

A clogged air filter might prevent air from reaching your heat pump, causing it to overheat. Furthermore, if the filter is clogged with dirt and debris, your furnace may struggle to maintain a warm environment.

Your furnace may have to work harder than usual as a result, which could result in a breakdown and the need for emergency heating.

Lack Of Insulation

It will be more difficult for your furnace to maintain a warm interior if your home is poorly insulated. This means that in addition to your home’s inability to maintain a pleasant temperature, your energy costs will also increase.

Additionally, it may cause your furnace or heat pump to continually cycle on and off, which may result in early failure and call for emergency heating.

Defective Thermostat

Is It More Expensive To Run Emergency Heat?

When the temperature drops, your thermostat may not be effectively instructing your furnace or heat pump to switch on. Your home may become too cold as a result, forcing the need of emergency heat.

It’s possible that until emergency heat comes on, you won’t notice that your thermostat is malfunctioning. Verify the thermostat batteries’ calibration. Your thermostat might need to be replaced if it isn’t operating properly.

Ducts Have Leaks

Warm air will escape from your ductwork if it is leaky, failing to heat your house. Losing warm air might cause your furnace or heat pump to operate continuously, much like inadequate insulation. Premature breakdowns and the need for emergency heat can result from this.

To prevent this problem, it’s crucial to have your ducts periodically inspected and sealed.

What Is The Lifespan Of A Heat Pump?

Having a trustworthy heat pump is one technique to stop your emergency heat from turning on. Heat pumps can survive for a long time, but ultimately they must be replaced.

A heat pump has a 15-year lifespan on average. The quality of the heat pump and guaranteeing proper maintenance, however, can change this.

Your heat pump can last up to 20 years if you take care of it and have it serviced on a regular basis. But if you don’t take care of your heat pump, it might only last 10 years or less.

Because they will have to work more, homeowners in colder climates must choose a heat pump that is suitable for those temperatures. If not, they won’t live very long.

How Long Do Furnaces Last?

You could worry about the furnace in your house lasting a long time. The typical lifespan of a furnace is 15 to 20 years. Furnaces might last a lot longer with the appropriate maintenance.

Furnaces that aren’t properly maintained will work harder and break down more frequently. As a result, your emergency heat might start to operate more regularly.

Make sure your furnace is frequently maintained and replaced as needed to prevent this. Your furnace only needs to be serviced once every year, on average. You might need to get it serviced more frequently, though, if you reside in a region with high temperatures.

Pet hair can clog air filters and limit airflow, so if you live in a home with pets you may need to clean or replace them more frequently.

What Alternatives Exist To Emergency Heat?

You might utilize a space heater as a backup heat source rather than your home’s emergency heat. Small space heaters exist.

As a result, you don’t need to heat your entire house; simply place one in the area you’re in.

There are gas and electric models of space heaters. Although electric models are often more expensive to run, they are also safer because no flames are produced.

Gas-powered devices are less expensive to run, but if not used properly, they can emit flames and provide a fire risk. If you decide to use a gas-powered space heater, make sure the room has a carbon monoxide detector and that the heater is placed in a well-ventilated area.

Additionally, if your house has a fireplace, you might use it as a backup source of heat.

Just make sure to open the flue to prevent smoke from accumulating inside your house.

To keep the heat inside, be careful not to open the doors or windows. Close any curtains you may have to assist keep the insulation inside. For assistance, contact your HVAC experts as soon as possible.


Your HVAC system is malfunctioning if your emergency heat comes on. Make sure your system is frequently serviced and that any problems are fixed promptly to prevent this.

Is It More Expensive To Run Emergency Heat?

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Written by HVAC Contributor

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