So, what’s better? An air conditioner or heat pump?
When you think about heating and cooling, what are the two systems that pop in your head? Did you think of air conditioners and furnaces? That’s what I thought. Did you know there are other systems that could be more beneficial than the air conditioner/furnace setup?
Simply defined, a heat pump is an HVAC system that uses electricity to both cool AND heat your home. It is like an air conditioner. But, it is able to reverse the process air conditioners use and provide warm air for your home as well. Heat pumps range in efficiency and can enhance home comfort.
So, which one is better for your home? Well, that depends on a few things.
- Utility rates. Electric heating may result in savings – particularly during the spring and fall when heating demand in most areas is not as high. Lower gas bills sounds like a big perk to me.
- When compared to other electric heating methods… heat pumps come out on top. While other electric heating methods (i.e. space heaters, heat strips, etc.) have to use electricity to create original heat, heat pumps engage in heat transfer, which requires less electricity. So, if you want electric heat, but don’t want to have an extra-high electric bill, a heat pump is the way to go.
- Where you live. This factor is a little more complicated. The only areas in the United States that may not enjoy a heat pump are the southern-most portions of Florida and Texas. In those areas, an air conditioner paired with an air handler may be all you need. But, in other parts of the country, heat pumps have the advantage. In the South, a heat pump with an air handler could be all you need for year-round heating and cooling. And, in Midwestern and Northern regions, you can pair your heat pump with a gas furnace for that extra punch in winter.
Still confused? Talk to your local HVAC contractor. They can tell you which unit they typically install in homes. So, tell me, how do you like your heat pump?