Cooling and heating systems are very important for every home because there are times when it becomes too cold or too hot. There is a wide range of options when it comes to cooling, with each of them having their own pros and cons. One of the most common debate you will find when looking for a cooling and heating option is a heat pump and air conditioner. Both of these options function the same because they both work like a normal air conditioner. The only difference between them is that heat pumps can do the opposite and provide heating if needed. In simpler terms, a heat pump is just an air conditioner that is able to reverse itself.

Air conditioners are just heat pumps that pump heat in one direction – inside to out. Heat pumps can go both directions, taking heat from inside the house to outside and from outside to the inside of the home.

Heat pumps, air conditioners, and fridges use the same method to transfer heat energy. People think that fridges and air conditioners add cool air to the inside, but they actually remove heat from the inside. They absorb heat from indoors then discharge it outdoors. This causes the air inside the home to cool down. When the house is cold and you need it to heat, the heat pump will extract heat from the outdoor then transfer it inside.

Heat pumps have limited efficiency when it is super cold because it is transferring heat and not generating it the way a gas furnace does. Heat pumps will work efficiently when the temperature is over 35 degrees. It is not efficient when temperatures are below that. This is why it is common to find heat pumps paired with a boiler or furnace. The furnace or boiler will step in and provide heat when the temperature is too low.

If you are considering replacing your home cooling system, you have to choose the right option. There are different factors that are going to determine the best option for you, but the two main are your cooling needs and budget. Heat pumps have become more popular in areas experiencing a more moderate climate.

The initial investment for a heat pump can be high, but you will be able to recover it after a couple of years because your energy costs will be reduced and you will be less dependent on oil and natural gas.

One of the reasons why people choose air conditioner over heat pumps is because is the cost of getting such systems. Natural gas is cheaper than electricity in some areas, and there are people who find it cheaper to use furnaces throughout their home.

If you use a propane or all-electric home, then you should choose a heat pump because it is way more efficient than pairing an AC with propane or electric furnace. You will end up saving a lot in energy costs.

A heat pump will provide cooling for your home during the warmer months and provide heating during the colder months. If there are months when you experience very low temperature, then you need to get a furnace that provides heating during such months.

A heat pump can help the furnace be more efficient during the low-temperature months. It will pre-warm the air so that the furnace doesn’t have to work hard when heating the air being drawn from the ducts.

With a heat pump, you don’t have to deal with fluctuations of temperatures, which commonly occur when the furnace or central air system is starting up and produces an initial spurt of warm or cold air. The temperature will be consistent.

Which options should you choose?
If you have an efficient heating system and looking for cooling, then you should choose an air conditioner. If it is a new home or you need to replace the entire HVAC system, then you should consider heat pumps.

There are pros and cons to each of the two options, and this is why it is a good idea to look at your current system and see which of the two options works best for you. The climate of the area you live in will also be one of the factors to consider when making your choice.

Video Transcript:

Hello, Steve here from FurnaceUSA and have you ever wondered what is the difference between an air conditioner and a heat pump?

Because the confusing part is they look identical from the outside. So you’re looking at two units. One is a box. One is a box. So you might think well you know, you might as well just get a heat pump or your muzzle just get an air conditioner. But there are some pretty big differences between the two.

So, the primary difference between them in the summertime: a heat pump and an air conditioner is the exact same thing. They do the identical thing. They’re both equally clear host. A heat pump in the summertime is an air conditioner. Mechanically, what’s going on inside the unit is identical to what’s going on virtually inside of a heat pump. So they’re both just cool.

So the differences in the wintertime: a heat pump can help your furnace, save you some money on utilities. So you know basically this kind of comes down to what it does? It absorbs heat from the outside and it brings that heat to the inside and your furnace distributed. So, where it gets a little bit tricky is that you know depending on how much your electricity costs are in the area relative to your gas costs. It can sometimes not be very cost effective to even have a heat pump. So, I’m up in the Pacific Northwest and up here. What the issue has been if you go back in number years, it used to be a great value to put in a heat pump. So, you know what a heat pump could essentially do is to save you a ton of money on utility bills because electricity was relatively less expensive.

Because what you’re choosing to do in the wintertime is use electricity to absorb the heat of the outside air and it can do. It can absorb heat right down to like you know minus 10 degrees or sometimes beyond depending on the type of heat pump. So it absorbs heat from the outside air. It brings that heat into the house and then the furnace fan distributed. Where you know either choice that you’re making is to basically heat your house in a roundabout way with electricity, in a much more efficient way the electricity, instead of using gas to heat your house, right? With like natural gas to heat your furnace and heat your house.

So, it everything makes sense in less the utilities cost too much for the heat pumps. So, if that’s the case then you might just stick with the furnace. So if you are electricity costs are too high and for that, I would say just you know to reach out to us and we can tell you for your specific area if that’s an issue or not. But currently, you know the Pacific Northwest, it’s usually a better value right now to just get an air conditioner instead.

So you know why would you not just buy a heat pump every time if it could potentially save you some money. Well relatively, they’re more expensive. It will cost you more either on a monthly plan will cost you more as you know as a purchase. So if you have to pay and possibly thousands of dollars more upfront for it and if you’re only going to save a little tiny bit like let’s say you’re going to save 50 bucks per year. Right? But it’s going to cost you 2000 dollars more upfront to buy a heat pump instead of just an air conditioner. That’s going to take you to know 40 years to pay for the cost differential so you know in reality the only benefit that you’re getting is that it’s going to save you a little bit money in fact because in the summertime it’s the exact same things.

Generally, our opinion here at FurnaceUSA is that air conditioners usually are a better value in less some circumstances apply. That makes a heat pump better value because maybe your input cost for your furnace whether it be propane or natural gas is higher which makes the heat pump, you know a better value or are more cost-effective. So those are kind of your choices but yeah reach out to us today. Message us today and we’ll give you lots more information about heat pumps and air conditioners. Here at FurnaceUSA and if you found this information useful. Be sure to subscribe to our channel. Thank you.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

The fastest way to determine whether you have a heat pump or not is to turn theheat on at your thermostat. Once you feel hot air coming through your vents, walk outside and see if the outdoor unit is running. You see, a heat pump is an air conditioner that can also provide heat during the winter.
In many ways, heat pumps are functionally the same as conventional air conditioners. The only real difference is that a heat pump can reverse itself so it can provide heating when needed. So basically, it’s an air conditioner that can reverse itself. They are absorbing heat inside and then discharging it outdoors.

If you live in a relatively mild climate, they cost far less to operate than a traditional furnace or central air conditioning unit. In some cases, you can get three times the amount of heat or cooling for the same cost. Single unit – With a heat pump, there’s only one unit to buy and maintain.

Heat pumps in our region are often the appliance of choice to provide both heating and cooling for homes. They’re as energy efficient as central air conditioners and gas furnaces, and are simple and safe to operate, since they don’t use combustion fuel.
Yes. This seems too good to be true, but we assure you, it’s not. In essence, a heat pump is an air conditioner that can also work in reverse to heat your home. So itcan effectively replace your air conditioner and furnace.
To change an air conditioning unit into a heat pump will take more than what is worth. You can buy a new heat pump with less hassle and cost. Install electric heat strips in the air handler for backup heat or if you have a gas furnace change the wiring for heat pump heat staging control.
Homeowners can pay between $500 and $4,000 for central air conditioningThefinal cost will depend on the unit, additional installation items such as ductwork andthe professional’s installation rates. Here are some additional factors that will determine the kind of system you will need, as well as its price.
You can add a heat pump to an existing furnace for those times of year when the climate is moderate and it might be more economical to run a heat pump rather than use gas, propane or oil. Heat pumps can also be added to work in conjunction with furnaces and other HVAC systems.
Heating With a Dual-Fuel Heat Pump. As long as the temperature is above 35 degrees F or so, a heat pump can pull heat from the outside air for less than it costs to fire up the furnace. The furnace kicks in for only the coldest months. In contrast, a high-efficiency gas furnace is about 90 percent efficient.
The fastest way to determine whether you have a heat pump or not is to turn the heat on at your thermostat. Once you feel hot air coming through your vents, walk outside and see if the outdoor unit is running. You see, a heat pump is an air conditioner that can also provide heat during the winter.

*The information above does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified attorney.

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