Should I Buy a Heat Pump or an Air Conditioner?

What is the Difference Between a Heat Pump and an Air Conditioner?


“Should I invest in a heat pump or a central air conditioning system?”

What you need to ask yourself to better answer this question is: How much heating and cooling you will need throughout the year and the temperatures in your surrounding area.

A heat pump and an air conditioner are both similar in how they operate.

  • Air Conditioners:  Your central air conditioning is a closed loop system that circulates refrigerant for cooling. Your air conditioner takes the hot air from inside your home and breaks it down from a gas to a liquid. Your air conditioner will loop this cycle until your home reaches the ideal temperature set by the thermostat.
  • Heat Pumps: can cool and heat your home, so because of the heating feature the heat pump can be used all year. The heat pump pulls in heat from the outside air and puts it back in your home for heating during the winter time. The heat pump is also able to take the inside heat out of your home to cool it. Heat pumps, unlike furnaces, do not burn fuel to produce heat. Instead, they operate similarly to a refrigerator.


FAQ: Why not just invest in a heat pump because it can do both?

Depending on the surrounding weather conditions around your home, you might need the full capabilities that only comes with having an air conditioner and a furnace for heating. An HVAC technician from One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning Elk Grove Village will be well equipped to help you inspect your home and help you decide what option might be best for your home.

Which Option is More Cost Effective?

A heat pump is more efficient because it can do both heating and cooling. It is also important to note that because of this efficiency, most heat pumps cost more money to install in a home than an air conditioner. Heat pumps are also much larger than standard central air conditioners.

Air Conditioners are more compact and have the ability to fit into tighter spaces.


When Is It More Appropriate to Buy An Air Conditioner Over a Heat Pump?

If you are happy with how your furnace is heating your home, then it is recommended to invest in a new air conditioner. The cost to install will be less than a heat pump, and an air conditioner is more efficient than a heat pump when it comes to cooling.

When to Consider a Heat Pump Instead?

You should consider a heat pump if you have no prior heating or cooling systems installed in your home. A heat pump is ideal for climates where the temperatures in the winter do not go below 40 degrees. If your home experiences winter below freezing point, then a furnace is the right option.

While a heat pump comes with the bonus of being able to provide heating and cooling needs, it is still not able to beat an air conditioner or a furnace in their specialities of heating and cooling by itself.

But, If you are currently using an oil based heating system, the heat pump can pay for itself in energy savings alone!

Both HVAC Systems Require Regular Maintenance

To ensure that your heat pump and air conditioner runs efficiently for many years they need to have proper maintenance, and the same goes for any HVAC equipment. It is important to have a heating and cooling technician conduct routine annual maintenance.

Maintenance by trained HVAC technicians include:

  • Lubricating interior parts
  • Changing filters
  • Repairing any fans
  • Inspecting for any refrigerant leaks.

Doing this annual maintenance for your heating and cooling systems will help reduce the need for costly repairs in the future.

How Can I Improve My Home’s Energy Efficiency?

Here is a list of how you can drastically improve the energy efficiency of your home.

  • Getting a programmable thermostat installed will improve the energy efficiency of your home and will only heat or cool during specific designated times set.
  • Changing the air filters will help improve your heating and cooling efficiency as the HVAC equipment will have accurate temperatures. Dirty filters block the flow of air in your HVAC unit.
  • Making sure your ducts and vents are not being blocked, and have them properly cleaned regularly whenever possible.
  • As mentioned before, having an annual maintenance will set yourself up nicely for a comfortable summer and winter.

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