Infrared heaterMy electric bill seems way too high during winter, what can I do? This is a question we get asked a lot, and if you’re wondering the same thing, you must have a heat pump. The big jump in your electric bill during the winter time is usually caused by the back-up heat(emergency heat) strips built into your furnace.

So how does it work? Along with the heat pump outside, you have an electric furnace inside your home. The electric furnace contains the blower motor and your electric heat strips. Imagine a very large toaster inside your furnace. The heat pump outside and the blower motor inside run together whenever your thermostat tells it to turn the heat on. Whenever the heat pump can’t keep up with the demand, your thermostat tells the furnace to kick in the electric heat strips. When just the heat pump is heating your home, it’s actually pretty efficient, when the electric heat strips come on, that’s when things get expensive.

So, the biggest thing you can do to save money is prevent your heat strips from coming on. Here are a few things we recommend to our heat pump customers:

  • If you have a programmable thermostat, turn off the program during the winter time. If the thermostat is set to drop the temperature during the day, it will have to heat it back up during the evening, more than likely using the heat strips to do so. Set the thermostat at a comfortable temperature and never change it more than a couple degrees at a time.
  • Don’t buy the cheapest thermostat you can find. Cheap thermostats often kick in the heat strips a lot sooner than they need. With the better thermostats, the installer can set it up to control the heat strips a lot more effectively.
  • Keeping the interior doors open will increase your comfort. When the doors are shut, the furnace blows warm air into the rooms, but air gets trapped inside. With the doors open, the air can circulate around the home, keeping the temperature in the entire home the same.
  • Make sure to check your furnace filter monthly and change it when it appears dirty
  • Schedule a heating tune-up to make sure your furnace and heat pump are working correctly