What is emergency heat and when should it be used?
The emergency heat setting of your thermostat and HVAC system is meant to turn on when the heat pump is dysfunctional in times of great cold. It works by using electricity or gas to heat up a strip that can then exude warmth within the interior of your home.
Using Emergency Heat
Using the emergency heat should be reserved for situations where your pump has stopped working and the internal temperature can’t get much above freezing temperatures. While emergency heat can literally be a life saver, it is also an expensive draw on the energy bill.
You should use emergency heat for multiple hours at a time for as many days as needed until your usual heat pump is fixed. You will need to turn the ‘em heat’ on and off manually.
This is different from auxiliary heat, which is an automatic function on some systems that turns on whenever there is a large enough discrepancy between measured thermostat temperature and the actual indoor temperature.