During the chilly winter months in Vancouver, a heat strip can bring comfort and save you money in the long run. Here’s everything you need to know about using heat strips for heat pumps.

What Are Heat Strips?

All heat pump systems are made up of at least three components: the air handler, the condensing unit, and the inside coil. The air handler is found inside the home and includes a fan and blower motor. The fan pulls in the surrounding air, heats it, and circulates it throughout your home. Your condensing unit is found outside and uses the coil and refrigerant to collect heat. The refrigerant then gets moved to the inside coil, which is connected to or installed in the air handler. The indoor coil then pushes heat into your home’s ducts.

A fourth component, the electric heat strip, is also installed inside the air handler. Heat strips are made up of coils. Electricity, which flows into your home from the power grid, energizes these coils. They then resist the electricity, and heat is made. Heat strips turn on, the blower motor blows air through them, and heat is circulated around your home. Additionally, the air handler pulls in cold air to be warmed.

How Heat Strips Compare to Other Heating Options

Heat strips need a lot of energy to function and are inefficient. Heat pumps collect heat already present and use a little electricity to move the heat through your home — they are very energy efficient. Gas furnaces need propane or natural gas to produce heat. Although some furnaces are more efficient than others, they are generally less efficient than heat pumps.

When Do Heat Strips Turn On?

In general, if the outdoor temperature falls under 32 degrees Fahrenheit, heat strips are used. Heat strips can be utilized for backup or emergency heat; you can switch between the two. In the first case, the heat pump and strip will work simultaneously. In the second, your heat pump system will depend on the strip completely.

Tips on Using Heat Strips to Lower Heating Expenses

Although heat strips are energy inefficient, if used in the right context, you won’t have to worry about huge repair bills and staying warm. If your heat pump fails, having a heat strip is a lifesaver. Extreme cold temperatures can lead to burst or frozen pipes. Heat strips can prevent that by raising the temperature as much as 25 degrees, keeping you warm so you don’t incur medical costs, and giving you extra time to get the heat pump diagnosed and repaired. You’ll also save on hotel expenses.

The weather varies, and you might experience a long stretch of cold weather. Although an appropriately sized heat pump can warm the house in most cases, during unusually cold weather, it may not work as expected. Having a heat strip will keep you prepared for emergencies.

Fix your thermostat to a temperature you can handle. By doing so, your heat pump will turn on and off infrequently and be less likely to need backup heating. Keeping the heat strip on for a long time will increase your heating bill and strain the power grid. If you want to raise the thermostat, do so no more than 2 degrees. Anything above that might turn on the heat strip and make your heat pump work extra hard. If your heat pump is properly working, the outdoor temperature isn’t too cold, and the heat strip still turns on, the heat pump may have failures with the control board or electrical system.

Different Sizes of Heat Strips

Heat strips typically come in sizes from 3 to 25 kilowatts. A larger heat pump means a larger heat strip. The size is based on the climate and square footage of your home.

Contact Us Today

When you work with Northwest HVAC Heating & Cooling in Vancouver, a trained and knowledgeable technician will meet with you to discuss all of your heating options. Founded in 1997, we’re a family-owned business that’s proud to offer a wide array of heating, cooling, indoor air quality, and ventilation services. Our fully trained technicians can work on all makes and models of systems.

At Northwest HVAC Heating & Cooling, our goal is to help maintain your home’s comfort with quality heat pump services. Contact us today to schedule a free estimate for your project.

company icon