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5380 Long Ferry Rd
Salisbury, NC 28146
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“Great experience from start to finish. Everyone that I dealt with was friendly and professional. Reliable and reasonable. I highly recommend them.”

Charlotte Schardt - July 12, 2017
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General Question

Air Comfort Technologies is committed to you! We always strive to give our clients only the best service possible, whether it be commercial or residential HVAC systems we can do it all. Feel free to contact us with questions that are not listed on the FAQ.

Air Comfort Technologies does not try to push name brands on their clients, we provide the same service to every client no matter the brand or purchase price. We believe that every client deserves the same level of respect and service.

Equipment that we work on would be better described as general terms such as Furnaces, Heat Pumps, Air Conditioning, and Ventilation systems. Anything in the HVAC family, we can work on it. Please do not hesitate to ask a more specific question via email or phone.

The Emergency Heat switch on a Heat Pump thermostat confuses many people. The fact of the matter is that most people don't seem to understand exactly what Emergency Heat is and when they need to use it. Many people think that Heat Pumps don't work in cold weather and they are supposed to use the Emergency Heat whenever it gets really cold... WRONG!

What is Emergency Heat?

Simply put, all Heat Pumps in northern climates (below 35 degrees) need a supplemental heating source. Usually it is in the form of electric resistance heating - at the indoor unit. This is an all-electric Heat Pump, but it could also be a gas, oil, or hot-water back-up system as well. The supplemental heat is also referred to as second-stage or back-up heating, with first-stage being the Heat Pump only. Emergency Heat is when you use your supplemental heat (2nd stage) by itself, without the use of your heat pump (1st stage heat).

Different systems and thermostats have different ways of determining when the second-stage heat comes on to assist the heat pump, but it is always done automatically. The two stages will work together in the colder months, and it is not necessary to switch your thermostat to Emergency Heat. So now we know that Emergency Heat is basically when you use your supplemental heat by itself.

When should I use Emergency Heat?

As the name implies, it is only used in emergency situations. It is used when there is something wrong with first-stage heating (the Heat Pump itself). In other words, if you notice your house is cold and it isn't heating properly and you went outside and noticed that a tree fell and crushed your heat pump, that would be a good time to switch to Emergency Heat.

Or if you look at the picture below; this Heat Pump turned into a block of ice due to a malfunction. At this point, it isn't capable of providing any heat. Simply turn the thermostat to Emergency Heat and call for service.

During the winter months, you should try to make it a habit of looking at your outdoor heat pump. Check for signs of excessive ice or snow build-up on or around the heat pump.

The unit pictured actually froze so badly, that it ruined the heat pump and had to be replaced. If this problem was caught sooner, it might have just needed a minor repair instead of an expensive replacement.

What does Emergency Heat do?

When switching to Emergency Heat, the red indicator light will go on. And it will stay on until you stop using the Emergency Heat. This just lets you know you are in emergency mode. On a call for heat, no signal will be sent to the outdoor Heat Pump. Only the indoor unit and the back-up heat will run. On all-electric systems, this will provide enough heat to keep you going until the Heat Pump can be fixed. Gas/Oil/Hot-water system should provide plenty of heat.

Is Emergency Heat more expensive to run?

If you have an all-electric heat pump, then the answer is a definite YES! It is much more expensive to run your heat pump on Emergency Heat. And as the name implies, should only be run in an emergency until your heat pump can be repaired. Now if you have Gas or Oil heat for your backup system, then the answer isn't so clear. It depends on the cost of your fuel, the efficiency of your heating system, compared to your electric rate and so on. But it is safe to say that the price increase won't be as much as an all-electric system.

Why is the Emergency Heat light on?

As explained earlier, the Emergency Heat light will be on whenever your thermostat is set to Emergency Heat. But if your thermostat is not set to emergency heat and the light is on, then that usually indicates a problem with your heat pump. For more on this issue, see: Thermostat red light flashing or stays on.

Please keep in mind that the information found on our website is provided free of charge and Hannabery HVAC does not assume any liability resulting from the information we provide. We hope this information helps, but please note that these are just rough guidelines, and not all possible situations are covered. Your HVAC system should be inspected and repaired by a trained technician.

Heating and Air Conditioning equipment, no matter what kind you have, should be inspected, cleaned, and serviced at least once a year. The best scenario is to have the heating system checked in the Fall and the air conditioning checked in the Spring. Oil-fired equipment should definitely be cleaned and serviced annually; at the beginning of each heating season.

Many people have allergic reactions to pollen, bacteria, dust mites, and animal dander. Alergies including hayfever and asthma affect 41 million Americans or about one out of six people.

Cleaning your Air Ducts regularly helps drastically improve health, efficiency, cleaner environment and home, and to remove dust and dirt from new construction.