Even in an area such as Wilmington that has a comfortable, temperate climate, it’s necessary to have a heat source during the winter months. By far the most popular method that clients of O’Brien Service Company choose is the heat pump, which uses auxiliary heat to continue successful operations when temperatures outside plummet.
Although an excellent choice for our climate, a heat pump becomes less efficient as it becomes colder and colder outside. Often, this is when a quick check of the thermostat shows that the auxiliary heat is on.
Many of our clients have called in this situation, asking “What is auxiliary heat?”
As the name indicates, auxiliary heat, or emergency heat depending on your system, is just a secondary heat source. It becomes necessary once the temperature drops below a certain point. When the heat pump can no longer maintain the desired temperature setting, then the auxiliary heat must come on to assist.
Auxiliary heat can handle more extreme temperatures since it uses electric heat strips. What this means, unfortunately, is that it’s more expensive than the conventional heat provided by a heat pump. Letting the heat strips run all winter might keep you cozy, but it definitely has the potential to put a chill on your finances.
Limiting the use of auxiliary heat can be an effective means of saving money. To limit auxiliary heat and lower your heating costs, a critical first step is to set a lower indoor temperature. If it’s 30 degrees outside, it is unreasonable to expect the system to maintain an indoor temperature of 78 without using the heat strips. Being able to tolerate a cooler temperature inside your home will help to reduce the need for auxiliary heat.
Another option is to employ another heat source, such as a gas furnace. This can be a good choice if you are unwilling to deal with a colder home during the winter months. Having a gas furnace that can take over when the heat pump is no longer efficient helps prevent the use of auxiliary heat. While a gas furnace is not as efficient as a heat pump, it is more efficient than a heat pump using auxiliary heat. Dual-fuel systems, which include a heat pump and a gas furnace in one system, have been a popular choice with our clients.
A surefire way to know if there is an issue with your system is to check the auxiliary heat light. If the auxiliary heat is running continuously, even when it’s not cold outside, call the professionals at O’Brien because this may be a sign there is something wrong with your system. For more information about auxiliary heat, or to have one of our team members come by to evaluate the health of your system, please don’t hesitate to call our office. We’ll do everything we can to keep you warm this winter!
Jimmy Williams has owned and operated O'Brien Service Company for over 30 years. O'Brien Service Company's highly trained and versatile technicians can expertly handle complex repairs, installations, and advise you on the benefits of regular maintenance. O'Brien will work on both residential and commercial systems, and is a certified Trane Specialist. Call today to have your system serviced, or to have a free in-home estimate. You can contact us by calling 910.799.6611, or visit our website at http://www.obrienservice.com.