Auxiliary heating is an important part of a home heating system. It’s the backup plan that kicks in when the primary heat source can’t meet your home’s demands.
Depending on where you live, aux heat may come in the form of a fireplace, wood-burning stove, or space heater. If your home has more than one source of primary heat and you have an emergency thermostat installed, auxiliary heating can also include an emergency heat source like a pilot light or backup natural gas burner.
Regardless of the type you have, aux heat is a crucial element of any home heating system. Read on to learn what auxiliary heat is and how it works in your home.
What is auxiliary heating?
Auxiliary heating is a form of home heating that kicks in when your primary heating system can’t meet your home’s demands. Depending on where you live, auxiliary heat may come in the form of a fireplace, wood-burning stove, or space heater.
If your home has more than one source of primary heat and you have an emergency thermostat installed, aux heat can also include an emergency heat source like a pilot light or backup natural gas burner. Regardless of the type you have, auxiliary heating is a crucial element of any home heating system. It’s the backup plan that kicks in when the primary heat source can’t meet your home’s demands.
Why Have Auxiliary Heating?
You might be wondering why you would need a backup heating source, but when you consider the average amount of time it takes to respond to and repair a furnace breakdown, it’s easy to see the value in having an auxiliary heating source.
The average response time to a furnace breakdown is 2 hours and 20 minutes. The average repair time? 1 hour and 34 minutes. Whether it’s a furnace repair, clogged water heater, or frozen pipes, auxiliary heat can help you get through a breakdown, whether it’s a minor problem that can be fixed quickly or a complete system meltdown.
When you have aux heat as part of your home heating system, you’re less likely to be left without heat. Even if your furnace repair is quick and you have a gas furnace, it’s not unheard of for your furnace to be taken out by a gas leak. Having an auxiliary heating source means you’ll have to worry less about a complete heating system failure.
Types of Auxiliary Heating
Fireplaces that are used only for supplemental heating are known as secondary fireplaces. Primary fireplaces are used for primary home heating, while secondary fireplaces are designed for supplemental heating. Fireplaces can provide instant heat and are very efficient when used properly.
Heating your house with a wood stove is a terrific way to boost your heating system. They’re efficient, clean, and can be used as a primary source of heating if you have enough fuel for them.
Occasionally, you might need To heat one room such as the bedroom. They provide instant, targeted heat and are generally more affordable than other aux heat options. There are assorted brands as needed.
Kerosene Space Heaters
Electric Space Heaters
Natural Gas Space Heaters
Propane Space Heaters
A pilot light is an auxiliary heat source that’s included in some natural gas furnaces, hydronic (water-based) systems, and fireplaces. It’s a small flame that ignites when your furnace needs to come on, providing instant heat. If your furnace is on the fritz, the pilot light can also provide heat until you can get it repaired.
Back-up natural gas burner
Most boilers have a backup natural gas burner that kicks in when the primary burner fails. This type of backup burner can provide supplemental heat to your home.
Benefits of Auxiliary Heating
The most obvious benefit of having an auxiliary heat source is that you’ll always have immediate heat. No matter what the primary source of heat is doing, your auxiliary heating system will be ready to go.
Most aux heat sources are extremely efficient. to burn as brightly and cleanly as possible. That means less fuel is needed to heat your home.
Depending on what type of auxiliary heat you have, it can be placed anywhere in your home. Fireplaces, for instance, can be placed almost anywhere. You can even install them in rooms that already have primary heating systems.
Drawbacks of Auxiliary Heating
While the amount of fuel needed to keep the auxiliary heating system going is much lower than that needed to keep the primary system running, it still uses fuel. Depending on the type of auxiliary heat system you have, you may have to keep a constant supply on hand.
If you’re using a fireplace or wood-burning stove, you’ll need to make sure you have the space for it. Fireplaces can be placed almost anywhere, but wood-burning stoves typically require very specific placement.
Depending on the type of auxiliary heating system you have, you’ll likely have to stay on top of maintenance. From replacing parts to cleaning the system, there are many things that need to be done to keep your system running smoothly.
What is Thermostat Heating?
The thermostat heating has nothing to do with temperature, but rather the thermostat. A thermostat is a device that senses the temperature inside your home and controls the home’s heating system as needed. There are two types of thermostat heating systems: on-off and staged. Each type of system works differently and has different benefits and drawbacks.
How does Thermostat Heating Work?
On-off thermostat heating is a type of thermostat heating system in which the heating system is turned on when the thermostat detects a low temperature and turned off when the thermostat detects a high temperature.
This type of thermostat heating system is very simple and inexpensive to install. However, when the weather is difficult, such as during a cold snap, the system may not provide enough heat. Staged thermostat heating is a more complex type of heating system. It uses two or more thermostats
usually one for each heating zone
to control the heating system. For example, a single-stage system may be set to heat the downstairs at 65 degrees Fahrenheit and the upstairs at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. A two-stage system may have one stage for the daytime and one for the nighttime.
What is Thermostat-controlled auxiliary heating?
A thermostat-controlled auxiliary heating system is a type of staged thermostat heating system in which a thermostat is used to control an auxiliary heat system. A typical example of a thermostat-controlled auxiliary heating system is a furnace that has a second thermostat, or a manual control switch, in addition to the primary thermostat. You can control the heating system manually with the secondary thermostat or have it turn on when the primary thermostat reaches a certain temperature.
What are some thermostats for auxiliary heating?
A furnace thermostat, central air thermostat, or an outdoor air temperature sensor can be used to control the primary heating system. If you have a backup natural gas burner, a pilot light thermostat or potentiometer can be used to control it. You can also wire a sensor to a light switch to turn on a light or fan when the temperature gets too low.
How does a thermostat control auxiliary heating?
A thermostat is a control device used to regulate the temperature and flow of gases in a home’s heating system. It can also be used to supplement your system with auxiliary heat when your primary source of heat is insufficient.
A thermostat can be wired to several different sources of aux heat including a gas-fired furnace, a wood stove, or a fireplace. When your primary heat source isn’t able to maintain a safe temperature in your home, the thermostat kicks on the auxiliary source to keep you warm. The thermostat will remain on until your primary source of heat has a chance to come back online and catch up.
Emergency heating is a type of aux heat that is used when the primary heating system fails. There are a few different types of emergency heating, but they are all designed to provide enough heat to protect you from the elements while you wait for help.
Emergency Heat Basics
In case your primary heating system fails, emergency heat provides backup heat. However, you should not rely on it as your primary source of heat. Emergency heat should only be used as a last resort when you can’t rely on your main source of heat.
Emergency heat is often used in conjunction with a thermostat, which is a device that automatically turns on when your home’s temperature drops below a certain point. A thermostat-controlled source of emergency heat is typically a pilot light, a backup gas burner, or an electric heating element.
The thermostat detects when your home’s temperature falls below a certain level. When this happens, the thermostat activates the backup source of emergency heat until the temperature rises back to normal levels.
Emergency heating and heat pump systems
Heat pump systems are an efficient and affordable way to heat your home. They use the difference in temperature between indoors and outdoors to extract energy from the air, and transfer it into your house.
Heat pumps are a great option for those living in cold climates, as they can operate year-round without ever losing efficiency. Heat pump systems can also be cost-effective if you have a large house or multiple levels to heat.
You will need to account for additional costs involved with the installation of a heat pump system, such as installation fees, maintenance fees and electrical costs.
Heat pump systems are ideal for those looking to lower their energy bills by extracting heat from inside their house and transferring it into their home. They use the temperature difference between indoors and outdoors to extract energy from the air, and transfer it into your home.
Natural gas as Auxiliary Heating
Depending on where you live, the source of your primary heating system could be an electric furnace or a natural gas furnace. In most cases, the latter is more prevalent.
If you have a natural gas furnace, aux heat can come in the form of a backup natural gas burner. A natural gas burner is an emergency heating source that is typically installed inside your furnace’s burner compartment.
When your furnace isn’t able to meet your home’s heating demands, the thermostat activates the backup burner until the furnace can catch up again.
A quick note about pilot lights
Many homes with a natural gas heating source feature a pilot light instead of a backup burner. A pilot light is a tiny flame that ignites the furnace when the thermostat calls for heat.
It runs 24 hours a day and is fed a constant stream of gas from your home’s main supply. If your primary source of heat fails, the thermostat will activate the pilot light. When the primary source of heat is restored, the pilot light will go out. The pilot light may take a few hours to extinguish completely, however.
Is Auxiliary Heat Worth It?
Before you install auxiliary heat , you should know that it can be quite expensive. And while it’s necessary for some parts of the country, it may not be necessary for yours. Regardless, a backup heating source is always a good idea. Remember that auxiliary heat is the last resort.
Temperature-controlled air flow, thermostat-controlled shutters, and ceiling fans can all help reduce your home’s ambient temperature when you’re not there. Following these pointers, you can significantly decrease your need for costly supplemental heating.