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When winter comes, heat pump owners often wonder if they should leave them on all the time. Doing so heats the home throughout the season but can also increase energy bills. Here are some tips on whether to keep your heat pump running constantly or when you should turn it off to maximize your heat and savings.

Should You Always Leave It On?

Air source heat pumps work efficiently in heating and cooling modes, making them a versatile choice for year-round comfort. Unlike boilers or furnaces, which cycle on and off to maintain a comfortable temperature, heat pumps can run continuously without wasting energy. This continuous operation helps maintain consistent indoor temperature.

However, there are a few factors that affect how your heat pump operates in winter:

  • Outdoor Temperatures: Heat pumps become less efficient as the outdoor temperature drops. In frigid conditions, the heat pump may need to work harder and longer to meet your heating needs.
  • Thermostat Settings: Your thermostat settings determine how often your heat pump runs. If you’ve set your thermostat too high, your unit may run more frequently, consuming more energy.
  • Proper Sizing: The size of your unit should be suitable for your home. An undersized unit may struggle to keep up with heating demands, leading to continuous operation, while an oversized unit can lead to short cycling, reducing efficiency.

These are some considerations if you keep your heat pump on all season. You can also turn it off periodically to maximize savings.

A Heat Pump on the side of a Palatine house covered in snow.

When to Turn Off Your Heat Pump in Winter

Turning off your heat pump can help optimize its performance and save on energy costs. Here are some times you might consider turning it off:

  • Vacations: If you’re leaving your home for an extended period, adjusting your thermostat settings is an energy-efficient solution. Lowering the temperature when you’re away will reduce stress on your heating system.
  • Maintenance: Regular maintenance is essential for your heat pump to operate. Turn it off when scheduling maintenance visits so HVAC technicians can safely fix any issues for it to function properly.
  • Backup Heating: Some heat pump systems come with backup heating sources, like electric resistance heaters. You can use these backup heaters when outdoor temperatures become extremely cold, helping your heater maintain its efficiency.

In general, heat pumps can run continuously in winter without wasting energy. They can maintain a consistent indoor temperature efficiently. However, outdoor temperatures, thermostat settings, and the proper sizing of your unit can affect how your pump operates and the amount of electricity it uses. Alternatively, you can turn off the heat pump to save money and energy if you’re going on vacation or want to use an alternative heater.

Allied Air Conditioning and Heating is Here to Help Fix Your Heat Pump!

If you have any concerns about heating performance in cold temperatures or need assistance with heat pump installation or maintenance, don’t worry. Contact Allied Air Conditioning and Heat. Our expert HVAC technicians are always available to help you make the most of your heat pump while keeping your home comfortable and your energy bills in check.


Interested in a boiler for your home or commercial space? Allied Air Conditioning & Heating Corporation partners with IBC and Carrier brands to not only ensure the right fit for any demand but outstanding reliability and lasting performance.



Through our relationship with Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., participating HVAC dealers offer a variety of flexible options for financing your new HVAC product or system. That way, you can invest in your home’s comfort without breaking your monthly budget.

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