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I have noticed my heating bill is higher than my cooling bill now that I have installed a Heat Pump. I am trying to find a way to reduce this winter cost but am not sure how often electrical heat strips should run, if at all.

I have never selected the "emergency heating" setting for my unit, its always in standard heating when in operation. I am in a CA climate which rarely ever drops below freezing so I was expecting the heat strips to never come on. Was hoping to find a way to permanently turn off the heat strips but don't want to risk damaging the unit.

I heard from a source that "it is best to increase your heat setting by only two degrees at a time to prevent your auxiliary heat from operating." But unless your coil is in danger of freezing, why would your heat strips ever need to come on? Basically, even during ideal conditions where outside temperature is above freezing, "emergency heat" is NOT used, and your only heating by two degrees F, should the heat strips still run for X hours a day during the heating season to maintain proper HP operation?

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How did your heating bill compare to your cooling bill before you put in the heat pump? If you replaced a really old AC unit with a heat pump, it could be that your cooling is much more efficient now and you got a more modest heating efficiency gain. –  Comintern Mar 18 at 4:24
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This really depends on your thermostat -- what model heat pump and thermostat do you have? You can just unhook the aux heat wire to disable the strips if you feel that you don't need them. –  Ethereal Mar 19 at 14:03
    
@Ethereal Thank you for the info! I would definitely like to disable the strips permanently. I have a RUUD RQPL-B036JK 13 SEER SERIES (2-4 TONS) roof mounted heat pump. So what you are saying is that the heat strips are not need for proper internal operation of the unit? Essentially they are only added comfort devices. So if I am comfortable without them then there is no need to have them (coils won't freeze and crack, etc.). –  Aaron Klap Mar 20 at 19:45
    
@AaronKlap that is correct, the only downside is that if the temperature drops enough the heat pump will not be able to maintain your interior temperature setpoint. Every system has a point at which the outside temperature exceeds what the unit can keep up with -- good thermostats will enable the aux heat when and only when that temperature is exceeded. Now, your heat strips will come on when the outside unit is in defrost mode and that is normal, and controlled by the outside unit itself. –  Ethereal Mar 21 at 14:38
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2 Answers 2

This might need to be confirmed by others, but the emergency/auxiliary heat is a subsystem of the heat pump that does not need to be turned on at all.

I own a heat pump too with electric heat backup. It kicks on when the temps are below 30 degrees or the temp is raised to much manually, more than 2 degrees higher. Otherwise it does not come on. My bill for the winter is higher than the summer. This may only account for the lights since the lights are on longer in the winter than summer, maybe. I am located in Maryland where the temps swing way up, and way down.

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I've been told that a properly sized heat pump should run almost non-stop during the days that the temperatures are the normal low for the season and area. Any lower than the normal seasonal lows would kick the strips on.

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