How long should a heat pump run?

How Long Should A Heat Pump Run?

Is your heat pump running all the time? Assuming that everything is working fine the run time of a heat pump is solely dependent upon the outdoor weather.

If the temperature outside is extremely cold, or below 32 degrees, it’s normal for a heat pump to run nearly constantly. If it’s summer your heat pump should still be running but it won’t be running around the clock and instead should be close to in sync with your air conditioner unit.

Heat pumps are used all year round and their main purpose is moving hot air for both heating and cooling. It can move hot air from the inside of your home to the outside in the summer, and from outside to the inside of your home in the winter. This is why it’s perfectly normal if your heat pump runs a lot, and at all times of the year.

Heat Pumps In The Winter

If your heat pump is running around the clock in the winter that is perfectly normal. Heat pumps are used to heat homes in the colder months by taking the heat energy out of the cold air outside and blowing it into your home. These are efficient heating systems up until the point that the outdoor air hits the freezing point of 32 degrees.

Another way heat pumps help your HVAC system in the winter is by way of their defrost cycle. This prevents frost from building up on the coils when it’s cold outside.

If the winter months get down below 32 degrees where you live you will need an additional heating source inside the home, such as an electric, gas, or oil-powered furnace. Failure to have one of these will result in the indoor temperature of your home dropping below the desired temperature and increased energy bills due to around-the-clock operation.

Heat Pumps In The Summer

In the summer months, heat pumps go into cooling mode and are used to remove the heat energy out of the air inside your home and direct it outside. This allows your air conditioning unit to cool more efficiently as there is less heat inside for them to cool down. Because of this having a heat pump in the summer can save on energy costs and increase the comfort level inside your home by allowing your outdoor unit to not run as much.

Difference Between A Heat Pump And Furnace

Heat pumps and furnaces both serve the same purpose as far as they provide your home with heat, and they are both tied into your home’s HVAC system, but they do it in a different way.

Heat pumps can be used all year round and instead of creating heat they move the heat energy already in the air, be it into or out of the house. A furnace is different because it burns some kind of resource, be it energy, gas, or oil, and creates electric heat from this resource, unlike the heat pump which gets its heat from existing heat energy in the air.

How a heat pump works

Do You Need Both?

Depending on where you live you may need both a heat pump and another heat source. If the winter months where you live don’t drop below 32 degrees the heat pump alone will suffice in heating your home. If the winter months where you live do drop below 32 degrees you will need to create additional what they call emergency heat, or new heat by way of a furnace to keep the indoor temperature of your home comfortable.


Heat pumps should run for different durations depending on the time of the season. If its winter time your heat pump will run nearly all the time. If it is a warmer time of the year your heat pump will still run, but it should not be running around the clock.

If you have any further questions make sure to reach out to the manufacturer of your heat pump or to consult a licensed technician.