How to Operate a Heat Pump Thermostat

Although a heat pump is more efficient than a standard electric furnace, the thermostat must be set correctly.
Heat pumps operate differently during winter months.Heat pumps operate differently during winter months.
When using the air conditioning setting, it is possible to adjust the temperature up and down to save money just as you would any other thermostat. However, when heating, it actually costs more money and makes the heat pump work inefficiently if the temperature has to be constantly adjusted. The heat pump draws in warm air from outside and blows it into your home. When it cannot draw in warm air, it employs a secondary heat source to keep your home warm.

Step 1

Set the heat pump thermostat system switch to the "Off" position then set the fan switch to "On" to circulate air in the home without turning on the air conditioner. This is effective in the spring or early fall when the temperatures outside are comfortable.

Step 2

Turn on the "Cool" setting for the heat pump thermostat system then set the fan switch to "Auto" when operating the heat pump as an air conditioner. When you leave home for several hours at a time, set the temperature a little higher to save on energy costs. When you arrive home, set the temperature back to a more comfortable setting.

Step 3

Set the heat pump system switch to "Heat" and the fan switch to "Auto" when it is time to heat the home. If you have a separate switch for the emergency or auxiliary heat, ensure that it is in the "Off" position. Unlike the air conditioner, it is not cost-effective to continually adjust the heating temperature while you are away. It is best to set the inside temperature on the thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting and leave it there for the season.

Step 4

Turn on the emergency or auxiliary heat switch on the heat pump thermostat if the unit has been off for over eight hours for repair or a power outage. This enables the heat pump to use the supplemental heat strip to provide heat for the home until it is able to pull heat from the outside air and draw it into the home. Turn off the emergency switch, after eight hours, to maximize the efficiency of the heat pump.

Tip

  • There are some programmable thermostats especially designed for heat pumps. When purchasing and installing a programmable thermostat, ensure it is labeled for use with heat pumps.

About the Author

Kenneth Crawford is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. His work has appeared in both print and online publications, including "The American Chronicle." Crawford holds an associate degree in business administration from Commonwealth College.