What Does Auxiliary Heat Running Too Long Mean

Have you ever noticed that sometimes your heating system seems to be running for longer than usual? If you have an auxiliary heat system in your home, this could be the reason behind it. In this article, I will delve into the topic of what it means when auxiliary heat runs too long and discuss the potential causes and solutions.

Understanding Auxiliary Heat

Auxiliary heat is an additional heating source that kicks in when your primary heating system, such as a heat pump, is unable to meet the desired temperature. It usually consists of electric heating elements that provide supplemental heat during cold weather conditions. While it can be an efficient way to warm your home, it is important to understand why it might be running for extended periods of time.

Possible Causes for Auxiliary Heat Running too Long

There could be several reasons why your auxiliary heat is running for longer durations. Here are a few possibilities:

  1. Cold weather: If the temperature outside drops significantly, your primary heating system may struggle to keep up. This can cause the auxiliary heat to activate and run for longer to compensate for the temperature difference.
  2. Faulty thermostat: A malfunctioning thermostat can miscommunicate with your heating system, causing it to run longer than necessary. It is important to ensure that your thermostat is functioning properly and set to the desired temperature.
  3. Inefficient insulation: Poor insulation in your home can result in heat loss, causing your heating system to work harder and rely more on the auxiliary heat. Inspecting your insulation and sealing any gaps or cracks can help improve energy efficiency.
  4. Inadequate system maintenance: Regular maintenance of your heating system is crucial to ensure its optimal performance. A lack of maintenance can lead to issues with the primary heating system, triggering the auxiliary heat to compensate.

Addressing the Issue

If you notice that your auxiliary heat is running for excessively long periods, it is important to take action to address the underlying issue. Here are a few steps you can take:

  1. Check your thermostat settings: Ensure that your thermostat is correctly set to the desired temperature and operating mode. Adjust the settings if needed and monitor the performance of your heating system.
  2. Inspect your insulation: Examine the insulation in your home, paying attention to areas such as windows, doors, and attics. Seal any gaps or cracks to prevent heat loss and improve the efficiency of your heating system.
  3. Schedule regular maintenance: It is recommended to have your heating system serviced by a professional on a yearly basis. Regular maintenance can help identify and address any issues before they escalate and cause excessive auxiliary heat usage.


When auxiliary heat runs for extended periods, it may indicate underlying issues with your heating system or home insulation. By understanding the possible causes and taking appropriate measures, such as adjusting thermostat settings, improving insulation, and scheduling regular maintenance, you can help optimize the performance of your heating system. Remember, if you are unsure about any aspect of your heating system, it is always best to consult with a professional.