Mastering Your Heat Pump: When to Utilize Emergency Heat

As Fort Worth residents, we know that winter can bring unpredictable weather, from mild chills to freezing temperatures. Your heat pump is designed to handle a wide range of conditions, but there may come a time when you need to engage its secret weapon – emergency heat. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the crucial moments when using emergency heat on your heat pump can make all the difference.

Understanding Your Heat Pump

Before we jump into emergency heat, let’s refresh our understanding of how a heat pump works. Unlike traditional heating systems, heat pumps work by extracting heat from the outdoor air (even in cold weather) and transferring it inside your home. However, when temperatures drop significantly, the heat pump’s efficiency decreases, prompting the need for auxiliary heat or emergency heat.

When to Use Emergency Heat

1. Extremely Cold Weather: When the outdoor temperature plunges well below freezing, the heat pump may struggle to extract enough heat from the air. This is the prime time to engage emergency heat. Your thermostat may have an “Emergency Heat” setting for this purpose.

2. Heat Pump Malfunction: If your heat pump experiences a malfunction or is in need of repair, it’s a smart move to use emergency heat as a temporary solution until the issue is resolved. This ensures your home remains warm while you address the problem.

3. Icing or Frost: In cases of heavy frost or ice buildup on your outdoor unit, it’s advisable to switch to emergency heat temporarily. This allows the heat pump to defrost without the risk of introducing cold air into your home.

Why Use Emergency Heat

Emergency heat, often powered by electric resistance heaters, provides a quick and powerful source of warmth when your heat pump struggles to keep up. Here are the benefits:

1. Instant Heat: Emergency heat can raise your indoor temperature rapidly, providing immediate comfort in extreme cold.

2. Backup during Malfunctions: In case of heat pump malfunctions or breakdowns, emergency heat keeps your home warm until repairs can be made.

3. Efficient Operation: While emergency heat consumes more energy than the heat pump, it’s designed for short-term use. Once the outdoor temperature becomes milder, switch back to the heat pump for energy-efficient heating.

Consult with HVAC Professionals

Understanding when to use emergency heat is crucial, but it’s equally important to have your heat pump and emergency heat system inspected regularly by HVAC professionals. Proper maintenance ensures both systems operate effectively and efficiently when needed.


Your heat pump’s emergency heat is a valuable asset during harsh winter conditions or system malfunctions. Knowing when and how to use it can keep your Fort Worth home warm and comfortable. If you have questions about your heat pump or need professional maintenance, don’t hesitate to contact Prestige Air. We’re here to ensure your winter comfort and peace of mind.

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