Air Conditioner vs. Heat Pump: Which is Best

Written By Robert Holt
October 19, 2019
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Air Conditioner vs. Heat Pump: Which is Best

Are you tired of suffering through hot summer nights? Most Americans agree it’s time for some cooling relief.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration,100 million homes and 87% of all households use air conditioning in America, accounting for 12% of U.S. energy costs.

However, the way homeowners cold houses differ. Traditional air conditioning has some competition. Heat pumps are taking part in the market share. Let’s investigate which is the better buy.

Heat Pump

A heat pump cools your home, transferring warm air to the outside in the summer. It also heats the house in colder months by transferring warm air inside.

In general, a heat pump is less expensive to purchase and operate than an air conditioner and furnace combination. Air-Source heat pumps may reduce heating costs as much as 50% compared to baseboard and furnace heating systems.

Heat pumps also beat standard air conditioners in dehumidifying the home, giving your space a more comfortable and pleasant atmosphere in the summer. Ductless and geothermal heat pumps also have consumer benefits, including federal incentives that may help reduce installation costs.

There are drawbacks. If you live in areas with frigid, cold temperatures, your home will require an additional heating source. The heat pump’s size will affect output. If it is too small for space, it may not heat efficiently, wearing out sooner than expected.

Air Conditioner

The most significant difference between heat pumps and air conditioners is that air conditioners only cool the home. Like a refrigerator, air conditioners cool warm air as it flows over coils.

You’ll save up to 40% on energy costs by replacing a cooling system that’s more than ten years old. However, homeowners with air conditioners must have a separate heating system, such as a furnace.

Although air conditioners last longer than heat pumps, due to seasonal use,  heat pumps are far less expensive than baseboard and furnace heating systems.

Both air conditioners and heat pumps use approximately the same amount of energy. However, a heat pump can’t work effectively in the cold weather.

Unless a homeowner is using another heat source, the heat pump will inflate the electric bill.

However, during a moderate climate, it’s twice as efficient as a traditional furnace. Finding the best system to heat and cool your home depends on several factors, including the weather in your area.

Hybrid Systems

A heat pump cools
Image via Flickr by Green Energy Futures

A furnace and air conditioner combination will work well in cold climates. Some property owners may prefer a hybrid system to ensure maximum efficiency.

Dual fuel units have heating and cooling systems, which include both a fuel pump and a furnace. The back-up heater only turns on when the weather is no longer warm enough for the fuel pump to run effectively.

Professionals can evaluate your heating and cooling needs to help you decide on the most efficient system for your home.

After all, upgrading your heating and cooling systems may help you save enough money in energy expenditures overtime to pay for itself.

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