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Old 01-18-2013, 07:32 PM
 
98 posts, read 683,324 times
Reputation: 120

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I can see there have been a few threads about this here but I am going to ask anyway. We have an approximately 3100 square foot home in Texas, north of Dallas. At first I thought something was broken because when our heater turned on I noticed the a/c unit outside was kicking on. Someone told me this is because we have a heat pump. I keep it on Auxiilary Heat so when it is not super freezing cold outside that heat pump kicks in. I notice sometimes it doesn't turn on, usually when it is really cold outside. I assume this is correct because if it is too cold the heat pump is of no advantage. A neighbor told me I should not keep our house on auxillary heat and I should switch it to Emergency Heat so the heat pump will not turn on. Is that correct? I am so confused about this whole heat pump thing even though we have lived here for 5 years.

Also--we have two a/c units, two furnaces, two thermostats. The one upstairs also has an option for auxilliary heat or emergency heat however I notice the upstairs unit does not ever cause the a/c unit for the upstairs to kick on. Does anyone know why that is?

Thank you in advance for any input!
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:51 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
32,453 posts, read 75,383,459 times
Reputation: 40131
Quote:
Originally Posted by BacktoCO View Post
We have an approximately 3100 square foot home in Texas, north of Dallas.

At first I thought something was broken because when our heater turned on I noticed the a/c unit outside was kicking on. Someone told me this is because we have a heat pump.

I keep it on Auxiilary Heat...
Don't.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:08 PM
 
98 posts, read 683,324 times
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Don't? So should I turn it over to Emergency Heat so the heat pump won't turn on?
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:59 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
32,453 posts, read 75,383,459 times
Reputation: 40131
Quote:
Originally Posted by BacktoCO View Post
Don't? So should I turn it over to Emergency Heat so the heat pump won't turn on?
open your service/owners manuals
download them if you don't still have the paper
read the start up and operating instructions.
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Old 01-19-2013, 04:19 AM
 
342 posts, read 1,480,332 times
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I have always found that in the matter of thermostats you simply can not educate the public. I have a heat pump in suburban Baltimore with a mercury bulb thermostat. The heat pump heats my house. The only time I use emergency heat is during a heavy snowfall and the defrost cycle simply can't keep the outside coil clear. Invariably, the day following a snowfall is usually sunny and the outside unit being on the south side, the sunshine takes care of the snow accumulation. So, there in Texas, set your thermostat for heat and at a setpoint you find is comfortable and leave it alone.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:21 PM
 
Location: Bend Or.
1,126 posts, read 2,749,905 times
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A Heat pump works like an Air conditioner in reverse. It is taking heat from the ambient air and moving it into the house. . Because of the compressor technology it can actually move heat, even though it is colder outside. One of the advantages is they are quite efficient. Some will supply 3 units of heat for every unit of electricity. Heat pumps only work to a certain temperature. If it gets colder than they can work at, most have backup resistance heating built in. This is probably what your Auxillary setting is for. If the resistance heating is being used it delivers 1 unit of heat for 1 unit of electricity, same as baseboard heating. Much less efficient. But this information is based on Typical systems, yours could be different. Read your owners manual. If you don't have one, see if you can download one. If that does not work, have the unit inspected by an HVAC contractor that handles that unit. The service charges to do so will be a fraction of the cost of operating the unit incorrectly, such as using resistance heat when Pump heat is available.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:27 AM
 
Location: Floribama
18,440 posts, read 38,541,356 times
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From what I've always seen, 'emergency heat' and 'aux heat' are the same thing. Are you saying your thermostat has both?
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:58 AM
 
98 posts, read 683,324 times
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The thermostat has just the regular "heat" option and then it also has an "em heat" setting. When you switch it to the "em heat" setting it never goes to the a/c unit. I just keep it on the regular "heat" setting and I notice it seems to bypass the outside a/c unit when it gets really cold so it seems to know what it is doing on it's own. Sometimes the green light above "auxillary heat" turns on and sometimes the light near "energy saving" turns on depending on how it is running....but auxillary heat is actually not a setting that I can switch the thermostat to. Overall we have much better electricity and gas bills than most people I know around here so I'm not going to touch it. I am just really curious about how it works so I am going to try to figure out how to download the manual. Our house was built in 1997 so I need to research how to find it on line somewhere.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:06 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
32,453 posts, read 75,383,459 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BacktoCO View Post
I am just really curious about how it works...
Still?

1)open google 2) look

http://bit.ly/VeQVUK

Trane Owners Guide - Resource for Air System Information & Services - Online Manual | TRANE
Bryant Owners Manuals
Rheem Water Heater User Manuals Download - ManualsLib
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Texas
1,192 posts, read 2,262,886 times
Reputation: 2600
Quote:
Originally Posted by BacktoCO View Post
I can see there have been a few threads about this here but I am going to ask anyway. We have an approximately 3100 square foot home in Texas, north of Dallas. At first I thought something was broken because when our heater turned on I noticed the a/c unit outside was kicking on. Someone told me this is because we have a heat pump. I keep it on Auxiilary Heat so when it is not super freezing cold outside that heat pump kicks in. I notice sometimes it doesn't turn on, usually when it is really cold outside. I assume this is correct because if it is too cold the heat pump is of no advantage. A neighbor told me I should not keep our house on auxillary heat and I should switch it to Emergency Heat so the heat pump will not turn on. Is that correct? I am so confused about this whole heat pump thing even though we have lived here for 5 years.

Also--we have two a/c units, two furnaces, two thermostats. The one upstairs also has an option for auxilliary heat or emergency heat however I notice the upstairs unit does not ever cause the a/c unit for the upstairs to kick on. Does anyone know why that is?

Thank you in advance for any input!
I live in East Texas, so I have very similar weather to yours. I also have a heat pump with a Heat setting and an Emergency Heat setting. I always keep it on Heat during the winter unless we're having icy/snowy conditions, and then I switch it to Emergency Heat, which isn't usually very long. JMO, but I think it puts a burden on the unit having it on Heat when it's snowing or icy cold. Plus, that's what the installer told me to do . I, too, love my electricity bills!
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