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its likely the outside control unit board its supposed to only kick on gas only when the temp is at freezing..
the inside thermostat is not selected for heat pump, open it an look at the jumper / switch.
or just replace the thermostat , then return it saying you couldnt figure it out. :P
there are a lot more variables here after that you cant know how to check.
If your thermostat has an emergency heat setting this means you have a heat pump system.
Yes you need to set the thermostat to heat for heating the house.
The emergency heat setting should never be used unless your outside unit is not functioning.
The emergency heat setting overides the heat pump (the outside unit will not be energized).
The emergency heat setting will run the auxillary heat (heat strips) only.
When the thermostat is set in the heat position the heat pump will run to heat your house.
If the heat pump can't keep up (extreme cold) then then the auxillary heat will kick in to augment the heat pump until it satisfies the thermostat settings. If your room temperature gets 2 degrees below your thermostat setpoint, your auxillary heat will kick on. Example, say you are going to be gone a couple of days and you turn your heat down to 60 degrees. When you return and it is 60 degrees in your house, you turn the thermostat up to 70 degrees. Since you are turning the temperature up 2 degrees or more (10 degrees in this case) from the 60 degree room temperature then the heat pump will come on and the auxillary heat strips. The unit will continue heating like this until the temperature in the house gets to 69 degrees and the heat strips will turn off and the heat pump will continue to run until the 70 degree setpoint is reached.
Hope this helps.
You need a strip heater for the air handler portion if you want heat. That will almost certainly require a circuit upgrade too. It would not be practical to 'add' the heat pump. You would need to replace the entire condenser (outside unit) to do that. You would also need a different thermostat and probably a new thermostat wire to the outside.
The Honeywell RTH2310B is a standard thermostat and is not compatible with a heat pump system. The terminals O and E are for a heat pump system. I am assuming that the terminals you described that do not match are from the old thermostat. What you will need to do is get a heat pump thermostat. Sometimes it can be hidden within a lot of other descriptions on the front of the box, but it will say heat pump and either 2 heat/1 cool or 2 heat/2cool. You should just need the 2 heat/1 cool heat pump thermostat. Hope this helps.
The T874R thermostat should be a heat pump thermostat. EM means emergency heat which you obviously are not using. That means that you just need to determine if your heat strip is on while you air conditioner is working. If so you may need to replace your thermostat or you heating relay or sequencer.
Most typical wiring for Heat pumps are as follows: Red-R, Yellow-Y , Blue(common)- C, Green-G, White To either W, or W1, or Aux, Black-E, I will need additional info like: is your system a Heat pump, Straight a/c w/ elec. heat, and also what kind of tstat are you trying to hook up? Digital, mechanical?