Learn about Heat Pump Balance and how to change settings

Heat Pump Balance is for systems that have a heat pump and auxiliary heat. It lets you choose how much expensive auxiliary heat your system will use when your heat is running.

Auxiliary (AUX) heat can cost about two to five times as much as running your heat pump, and it can turn on even when your heat pump could have efficiently gotten your home to a comfortable temperature without auxiliary heat.

Heat Pump balance lets you select a level of comfort and energy savings that you like: more comfort, more savings, or a balance between the two. You can change this option any time in the Nest Sense menu.

No matter which setting you choose, Heat Pump Balance monitors how efficiently your heat pump is working, the current weather, and the weather forecast to determine how often to use expensive auxiliary heat and how to best use it in the future.

Learn about auxiliary (AUX) heat 

Auxiliary (AUX) heat is a second source of heat that comes with some heat pump systems. Heat pumps are the main source of heat most of the time, but they aren't efficient when it's very cold outside. Your system can use AUX heat to help keep you comfortable in harsh weather or to help change the temperature in your home quickly.

Heat pumps are very efficient compared to most other heating systems, but they take longer to heat your home the colder it gets outside. So heat pumps are sometimes paired with powerful auxiliary (AUX) heat, which is much less efficient but can heat your home quicker.

AUX heat can turn on when the heat pump alone isn't working fast enough, it's too cold outside, or your heat pump needs to defrost.

Learn about lockout temperatures 

Normal programmable thermostats have one way to control auxiliary heat: the AUX lockout temperature. If it gets colder outside than the set lockout temperature, your heat pump will use AUX heat. For example, if your AUX lockout temp is 40ºF/4.4ºC, then auxiliary heat will come on when the outdoor temperature drops below 40ºF/4.4ºC.

Your Google Nest thermostat will use Wi-Fi to check the outdoor weather conditions near your home. When the weather outside gets colder than your lockout temperature, your thermostat will start using AUX heat.

If you have a heat pump with AUX heat, your Nest thermostat will use Heat Pump Balance to determine your lockout temperature automatically. So you won't need to set a lockout temperature yourself, your Nest thermostat will set one for you.

If you have a dual fuel system, a type of system with a heat pump outside and a separate heater installed insider your home, you won't be able to use Heat Pump Balance. If you have a dual fuel system, you can set a lockout temperature manually in the Nest thermostat's Equipment menu.

Learn more about Heat Pump Balance 

Heat Pump balance. If Heat Pump Balance is enabled, you don't have to worry about the lockout
temperature. Just choose whether you want more comfort or more savings,
and the Nest thermostat will learn to adjust your lockout temperature as

Because auxiliary heat is so expensive, running the heat pump longer can be cheaper than using AUX heat. Heat Pump Balance can automatically turn the heat on early to reduce AUX heat use as much as possible and get to your target temperature on time.

Heat Pump Balance can turn on the heat up to five hours before a scheduled temperature if necessary.

Nest heat pump graph 1.

How Heat Pump Balance works while you sleep

Some people will tell you that setting low nighttime temperatures if you have a heat pump will waste energy. This is supposedly because AUX heat will be needed to warm up your home when you get up in the morning. But the Nest thermostat learns how quickly your home heats and cools, so it can adjust the temperature while you sleep to minimize AUX heat use to warm up your home in the morning. So you can turn down your nighttime temperature if you want, your Nest thermostat will simply raise the temperature if needed to avoid using auxiliary heat.

If you're a night owl, you might see Nighttime Heat on your Nest thermostat and in the app. When this happens, your thermostat has calculated that it can save energy by temporarily increasing the temperature in your home slightly while you sleep so it can get to your morning temperature using less (or even no) AUX heat.

Nest heat pump balance graph 3.

How to change Heat Pump Balance settings 

You can change Heat Pump Balance settings from the Nest Sense menu on your thermostat or with the Nest app

To use Heat Pump Balance, your thermostat must also be connected to W-Fi. If it isn't, you can use Early On which is a similar feature, but your thermostat won't take specific measures to avoid expensive AUX heating.

Note: If you have a heat pump with auxiliary heat:

  • How early your system will start cooling your home is determined by Early-On. See the article below for details on how to change settings.

           Learn about Early-On and how to change settings

  • How early your system will start heating your home is determined by Heat Pump Balance.

  • Keep in mind that your system won't turn on early to heat or cool your home if your thermostat is set to Eco Temperatures.

With your thermostat

  1. Press your thermostat ring to open the Quick View menu.
  2. Select Settings Nest settings icon.
  3. Select Nest Sense.
  4. Select Heat Pump Balance then choose the setting you want. See below for details on each option.

With the Nest app

  1. Tap Settings Nest settings icon.
  2. Select your thermostat.
  3. Tap Heat Pump Balance.
  4. Select a Heat Pump Balance setting.

Max Comfort: This is the default setting for Heat Pump Balance. If you choose Max Comfort, your Nest thermostat will try to get your home to the temperature you want, even if it means using expensive AUX heat. Max Comfort generally gives you higher AUX lockout temperature, which means it will typically turn on sooner and more often.

Max Savings: If you choose Max Savings, your thermostat will try to use your AUX heat as little as possible to help increase your energy savings. Your heat pump may turn on earlier to reach your target temperature, and your lockout temperature will be set to a lower temperature which means AUX heat will typically turn on later and less often.

Balanced: If you choose balanced, your heat pump will use AUX heat when needed to reach your target temperature. Your heat may still turn on early, and your lockout temperature will be between the temperature used for Max Savings and Max Comfort.

Off: If Heat Pump Balance is off, your thermostat will use your AUX heat based on a lockout temperature that you set. The AUX lockout temperature can be changed in Settings Nest settings icon  Equipment  Heat Pump.

Troubleshooting when Heat Pump Balance settings are missing 

If you don’t see Heat Pump Balance in the app or your thermostat’s Nest Sense menu, you may have an incompatible system, or there could be a wiring issue that makes your thermostat think you have an incompatible system.

  • If your system blows air through vents in your home, you have a forced air system, but you may not have a heat pump. If your forced air system doesn't have a heat pump, your system will use Early-On instead.

  • If your floors warm up to heat your home or you have radiators, you should see True Radiant as an option in the Nest Sense menu.

  • If your system has a heat pump, but you don't see the Heat Pump Balance setting in the app or on your thermostat, your thermostat may not be wired correctly. check your thermostat's wiring in the steps below:

    1. Pull off your thermostat’s display. If there’s no wire in the O/B connector, your system is not configured as a heat pump.

    2. If you don’t have a wire in the W2/AUX connector, you don’t have AUX heat. Heat Pump Balance controls AUX heat. Since you don’t have AUX heat, you won’t see Heat Pump Balance as an option.

    3. If you have wires in both the W1 and W2 connectors of your Nest thermostat, your system is a dual fuel system, and won’t use Heat Pump Balance. You can set a lockout temperature manually in the Equipment menu of your thermostat.

    4. If you think that the wires are configured incorrectly, contact a local pro to help you correct your system wiring and setup.

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