Air Conditioner vs. Heat Pump-Climate Is the Key

When it comes to heating and cooling equipment, numerous people are perplexed by the many alternatives available. Whether you are having your unit fixed or need to replace it, understanding the variations between your options can help you make more knowledgeable selections. Heat pumps and air conditioners each have their own attributes, and deciding on the best one to have put in will depend on your local weather and how you heat and cool your home.

Throughout the summer, air conditioners and heat pumps operate the same. Refrigerant in a cold, liquid state moves to the evaporator coil. The unit’s blower blows air past the coils, cooling the air. The coils then absorb heat from the home and the refrigerant inside expands into a gas. This gas moves outside to the condenser where the refrigerant loses its heat as a fan blows over the coils. The refrigerant then moves into a compressor to be compressed back into a cold, liquid condition to move back into the home’s evaporator coils and repeat the process.

In the wintertime, heat pumps turn this cooling process backwards. So instead of drawing heat from the home and expelling it outside, heat from the outdoors is pumped into the house. These are commonly not very effective if you live in an area where it typically freezes in the winter, but for mild areas in the South with average winter lows around 45 degrees Fahrenheit, this appliance works effectively for warming a residence.

If you have an air conditioning system installed, you will still need to have another heating unit to keep you warm through the winter. If you have an existing furnace that continually needs fixing, consider a heat pump to replace it and your A/C system if you live in an area with a mild winter climate. Talk to your HVAC service technician to determine if you require a new heating or cooling unit, and what your best options are.

Keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer time is a matter of having the appropriate equipment for the job. Your decision to have either a heat pump to heat your home or an air conditioner and auxiliary furnace will determine how comfortable your home is through the year.