Heat Pump Thermostat

I check the heat pump in normal mode, auxiliary mode, and emergency mode. I am seeing more homes lately where the owner has changed the thermostat to a programmable type or one that can be controlled through a phone or security system. One of the issues is that I cannot find a way to get these programmable thermostats to test the emergency heat mode. Does a heat pump need to have an emergency heat mode setting?

Bring the temperature up about 5 degrees higher than the room temperature and the emergency heat should come on after a few minutes.

In auxiliary mode the electric heat strips supplement the coolant being circulated through the outdoor unit. In emergency mode, the outdoor unit is isolated and shut off and only the blower fan and heat strips function. Doing what you recommend only tests the auxiliary mode.

I guess it depends on the thermostat type, mine works that way.
If I bring the temperature a degree or two the heat pump starts but if I bring the temperature more than a couple of degree after a few minutes the heat pump stops and the heat strips (electric furnace) goes on.

What uses more electricity, the regular mode or the the emergency mode? I was asked that the other day.

I agree. A normal heat pump thermostat has three heat modes; normal, auxiliary, and emergency. My understanding is the emergency mode is designed to be used if the heat pump fails. The issue is how to test with say a “Vivint” or other programmable system that does not have and emergency heat setting.

Is the emergency mode required?

if You are serious…the answer is the emergency mode if is strictly an electric unit…

Auxiliary mode and emergency mode will use more energy because the electric heat strips are engaged. You can easily see this by looking at the electric meter unless you want to put an amp meter on the heat strip wiring and test the various functions.

So back to the original question, sort-of. Is a heat pump required to have an emergency mode setting?

Depends where you live, presently here my heat pump is off because it is too cold (it automatically shuts off at -12) and the electric furnace is on.

Yup. You need to switch over to just strip heaters in the event of weather below the balance point of the house.

Strange terminology you use, here in the land of heat pumps your normal mode we call the cooling mode your auxiliary mode we call normal heat mode and your emergency mode is the emergency heat mode.
Secondquestion how do you know the owner changed the thermostat to programmable.

Yes a true heat pump has a emergency heat mode. I have a dual source heat pump on my own home and have the my programmable thermostat which is Wi Fi set to lock out the HP at 35 degrees ambient and auto fires my LP furnace. The lock out temp is adjustable to what ever the owner desires.

I’ve never seen a heat pump here in California with the emergency heat strips. So it probably depends upon where you are. Which is why it is nice to have your location in the upper right corner.

Well Frank you live in the devils playground ya should get out more

I assumed the owner or owners alarm company changed the thermostat because Vivint is not normally installed as a thermostat unless someone is upgrading to smart technology or an alarm. The other clue is the missing paint from around the new thermostat.

Dual fuel systems are a slightly different type of heat pump that have modifications such as a fossil fuel kit installed to prevent heating the Freon with gas or propane when the second stage heat is activated. In this scenario, if the heat pump cannot provide the required heat, the fossil fuel kit shuts the compressor side off and allows the natural gas or propane to heat the house. This is an ideal situation for a programmable thermostat versus an electric only heat pump system.

Last year I found at least three programmable thermostats that turned the heat pump into an electric furnace only for heat. The buyer wondered why the electric bills were so high in the winter!

I am really looking for a reference source for the emergency heat requirement on a “standard” heat pump.

Your looking for something that is not there. A contractor can install a HP system as per requested by the customer. With or without heat, the Ahu’s are constructed to except electrical heat strips. You will find contractors that will wire the system to perform differently as to when and how the electrical strips are energized and that is mainly according to the high and low temps of the region where they are installing.

I can not tell you if a alarm system person is qualified to wire up a HP thermostat. The only way a non A/C person (HI) could tell is to operate the system in heat mode, take the cover off the Ahu and look for the heat elements and check them with a meter for amp draw when the stat is just barely calling for heat, then jack the stat up about 3 or 4 degrees and determine if the HP stays operating with all of the heating elements energized. That will give you an idea of how the thermostat is wired.

There are not many heat strips here in AZ either.

Heat pump thermostats are much more expensive than furnace t-stats. If there are no strip heaters installed, there is no reason to install a two stage heat T-stat.

Don’t look for the EM Switch. Look for the heat strips.

Jumping R & W will turn on EM Heat if it is there.

There is a reason for a two stage stat when there are more than two elements and you don’t want more than two elements operating at one time. When two elements can not handle the load the second stage of the stat bring on additional elements.

To many different kinds of stats to say R & W will bring on the EM. The sub base may have a W1 and a W2 and the color of the wires may be white, orange or blue and or perhaps a brown depending on the contractor