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Heat Pump Balance

Nest thermostat Heat Pump Balance settings are for systems that have a heat pump and auxiliary (AUX) heat. You can choose how much AUX heat your system will use when your heat is running. AUX heat can cost about 2 to 5 times as much as running your heat pump.

  • Heat Pump Balance lets you select a level of comfort and savings 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 what setting you choose, Heat Pump Balance determines how often AUX heat is used.

Heat Pump Balance details

If Heat Pump Balance is enabled, you don't have to worry about
setting the lockout temperature. Just choose whether you want
more comfort, more savings, or a balance between the two.
Your Nest thermostat will adjust your lockout temperature based
on how your heat pump is working.

Because AUX heat is so expensive, running the heat pump longer
can be cheaper than using AUX heat.

Heat Pump balance.

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 Wi-Fi. If it isn’t, you can use Early-On, but your thermostat won’t take specific measures to avoid expensive AUX heating.

Google Home app

Note: Use the Home app if you have a Nest Thermostat.

  1. Open the Google Home app Google Home app.
  2. Tap Favorites or Devices .
  3. Select your thermostat.
  4. Open Temperature Preferences.
  5. Select a Heat Pump Balance setting.

Nest app

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

On 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.

Heat Pump Balance options

Keep in mind that no matter what setting you choose, how much AUX heating you use ultimately depends on your system. One system might not need to use AUX heating often, while another system might need to use AUX to keep the system heating, even if the Max Savings setting is selected.

  • 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’ll 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 savings. 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. Your lockout temperature will be between the temperatures 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 you set. The AUX lockout temperature can be changed in Settings  Nest settings icon  Equipment  Heat Pump.

Auxiliary (AUX) heat 

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 effective when it's very cold outside. Your system can use AUX heat to help keep you comfortable in harsh weather or help change the temperature in your home quickly.

Heat pumps are very effective 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 AUX heat, which is more expensive, but can heat your home quicker.

AUX heat can turn on when it's too cold outside, or your heat pump needs to defrost.

Lockout or Breakpoint temperatures

Note: Normal programmable thermostats have one way to control AUX 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 or 4.4ºC, then AUX heat will come on when the outdoor temperature is below 40ºF or 4.4ºC.

Your Nest thermostat can 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 or breakpoint temperature automatically. So you won’t need to set a lockout temperature yourself, as 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 inside 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.

Troubleshoot missing Heat Pump Balance settings

If the Heat Pump Balance doesn’t appear in the app or on your
thermostat, you might have an incompatible system, or there
could be a wiring issue that makes your thermostat think you
have an incompatible system. 


Heat Pump balance.

  • If your system blows air through vents in your home, you have a forced air system, but you might 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, True Radiant will appear as an option in the Nest Sense menu.
  • If your system has a heat pump, but there’s no Heat Pump Balance setting in the app or on your thermostat, your thermostat might not be wired correctly.

Check your thermostat's wiring

Important: Do not touch the wires in your thermostat while you check them.

  1. Pull off your thermostat’s display. If there’s no wire in the O/B connector, your system isn’t 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, Heat Pump Balance won’t appear 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 the wires are configured incorrectly, contact a local professional to help you correct your system wiring and setup.

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