Air Source Heat Pump vs Air Conditioning
What is the difference between an air conditioner and a heat pump? Are they the same?
What are the Similarities Between Heat Pumps and Air Conditioners?
When looking for an HVAC system to cool your home, either a heat pump or air conditioner can do the job. Both systems use compressed refrigerant to collect heat from your home as the air passes through coils in the air handler and transfers it outside. Heat pumps and air conditioners basically move heat from the home to the outside. People often think that air conditioners cool your home by producing cold air, but the truth is they cool your home by taking heat energy away from it and pumping it to a location outside the home. An air conditioner pulls heat out of a home, just like a heat pump operating in cooling mode. See the similarities? In fact, if you look at the outdoor unit of an air conditioner and a heat pump system, it is difficult for the average person to distinguish them. so,
Difference Between Heat Pump and Air Conditioner
While the cooling modes are basically the same, the heating modes are completely different. The air conditioner doesn't provide heating, but the heat pump does. Thanks to the reversing valve in the outdoor unit, even in extremely cold temperatures, the heat pump can absorb thermal energy from the outside air and transfer the heat into the home and then release the heat into the air. Heat pumps can heat and cool, but air conditioners cannot, which is the main difference between the two HVAC systems. Air conditioners are often paired with stoves to provide heat during the colder months. The air conditioner and stove together are a complete heating and cooling system.
Although a heat pump can heat a home, when the outside temperature drops below freezing, the heat pump's efficiency suffers because the unit requires more energy to maintain a warm temperature inside the home. A typical heat pump system adds an auxiliary electric heater to the indoor unit to supplement heat when the outdoor temperature drops. But since electrically assisted heating is inefficient, adding a furnace can solve this problem, creating a system that relies on a heat pump as the primary heat source but automatically switches to the furnace when appropriate. This technology is efficient and smart.
Do I have a heat pump or air conditioner?
The best way to tell if you have a heat pump or air conditioner is to look at the manufacturer's label on the side of the outdoor unit. Find the model number (M/N) and write it down. Once back inside, enter the number into your internet search engine. The results will tell you what kind of system you have (among many other things).
Should I buy a heat pump or an air conditioner and a furnace?
So, which type of HVAC system is right for your home, an air conditioner and a furnace, or a heat pump that can heat and cool your home?
Although a heat pump can draw heat from a cold environment, it can be very inefficient when temperatures drop below freezing. This is why most heat pumps work with furnaces to provide efficient heating in winter. It's called hybrid heating.
However, in areas with mild winters, you may only need a heat pump. For example, in many areas in the north, heat pumps are very efficient. They're an excellent option that doesn't require a lot of modding.
Additionally, you may be eligible for various tax credits, rebates and other heat pump upgrade incentives.
Learn more about the different types of heating and cooling systems available.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.