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If you heat your home with a heat pump, you can rest easy, knowing you’re taking advantage of a highly efficient electric heating and cooling system. Heat pumps move heat between the indoor and outdoor air using refrigerant, just like an air conditioner. The biggest difference is that heat pumps feature a reversing valve, allowing them to heat your home in the winter as well.

Standard heat pumps can extract sufficient heat from chilly outdoor air down to about 40 degrees. As the temperature approaches and dips below freezing, the heat pump shuts off, and a backup electric heat strip comes on. This is similar to the heating element in a toaster, warming the indoor air that circulates over it. Heat strips are not very efficient, which is why they are reserved for auxiliary or emergency use.

You may be wondering—should you install an electric heat strip for your heat pump? Depending on your HVAC system’s design and the climate in your area, the answer is probably yes. Here’s what you need to know to make the right decision.

You Should Install an Electric Heat Strip for Your Heat Pump If…

  • You live in a cold climate: As a Northern Utah homeowner, you regularly contend with subfreezing temperatures in the winter. A backup electric heat strip is critical for home comfort during cold snaps.
  • You’re worried about your heat pump breaking down: The electric heat strip doesn’t just supplement the heat pump when it’s cold outside—it also acts as an emergency heat source if the heat pump breaks down. This is just what you need to keep your home comfortable until an HVAC repair technician arrives.

You May Not Need an Electric Heat Strip If…

  • You have a cold-climate heat pump: Standard heat pumps are mostly used in warm climates that rely primarily on air conditioning. However, advances in heat pump technology now make it possible to heat homes more efficiently in northern climes. You may not even need a backup electric heating element if you have this type of system in your Utah home.
  • You have a dual-fuel heating system: This non-traditional heat pump and furnace pairing offers the best of both worlds. In mild weather, the heat pump provides highly efficient home heating. And when the temperature drops, the gas-fired furnace acts as a far more efficient backup heat source than an electric heat strip.

Most heat pump installations in Utah include a heat strip component by default. If you’re not sure whether your heat pump has one, consult with an HVAC technician at Parley’s PPM Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.

Our team provides a wide range of HVAC services, including 24/7 emergency heat pump repair when you need our help after hours. To request a visit, please call 801-226-3033 if you live in Utah County, or reach us at 801-229-2665 if you’re a Salt Lake County resident. You can also contact us online with any questions you have.

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