Air conditioner vs heat pump – side by side they can look identical. This may lead you to believe that there isn’t any difference, but you would be mistaken. Despite some units looking similarly on the outside, a heat pump has a special advantage.
But you wouldn’t guess its secret power in the hot weather months. As far as functionality goes, a heat pump and air conditioner serve the same purpose in a seasonably warm climate–both can remove moisture and absorb heat from the air to reduce your indoor temperature.
However, the difference between these two units is revealed in the winter.
A heat pump takes its functionality one step further by reversing its cooling process and heating your home. It does this by absorbing heat from outside and bringing it indoors when it’s chilly.
A heat pump is not a replacement for a gas furnace in northern states, but here in Florida where the winters are mild, it does a great job at keeping us warm when we need it. Since it transfers heat instead of generating it, it uses less energy to get the job done, too.
The Scoop on Air Conditioners
Air conditioners require coolant to work properly. As the refrigerant moves between the evaporator and condenser parts, it undergoes a cycle of increasing and decreasing pressure and temperature. As the pressure rises and falls, so too does the temperature.
This is a law of thermodynamics and it does a great job at collecting hot air from inside your house in the warm weather months. Once collected, it carries that heat outside.
Air conditioners always work in this way, but heat pumps mix things up when Jack Frost nips at your nose.
What’s Hot About Heat Pumps?
Air Source Heat Pumps work much like air conditioners in that they use thermodynamics to transfer heat from the air to coolant and back to the air again. However, that isn’t the only way they work.
Heat pump systems can grab and release heat from one of three distinct sources—air, water, and earth. So how does it use water and earth?
Geothermal source heat pumps can circulate heat between your house and a water source such as a well or soil deep underground. These types of heat pumps work the most efficiently.
Unfortunately, water or earth-sourced heat pumps aren’t for everyone; they only work out if your property is ideal. Your lot needs to be large enough to fit the system and the right terrain needs to be present. You even need a certain soil.
If a heating and cooling expert like Action Air Conditioning confirms that your property can support a geothermal source heat pump, the benefits are incredible. It’s a strong, long-lasting system that will use 60% less energy than traditional HVAC systems.
Air Conditioning vs Heat Pump Function
If you ever stood in front of a running air conditioner in the Summertime, you know how hot the air is that comes out. That is the heat that your AC collects from your indoor air. A heat pump blows the hot air inside instead to provide your home with heat.
As soon as you set your thermostat to heat your home, a heat pump reverses the refrigerant flow. During this switch, the two units swap roles, moving heat from the outside and into your home.
When you own an AC unit, it is either paired with an air handler or a furnace, but a heat pump takes the place of a furnace by doing the job of both. Yes! Standard HVAC systems perform the same function of an electric heat pump system with an air handler.
Where Can I Find Heat Pumps Near Me?
We hope this has been able to clear up your potential air conditioning vs heat pump questions. Contact Action Air Conditioning if you want to make the move from a furnace to a heat pump system.
Action Air Conditioning has been serving Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties for more than three decades! When it comes to cooling solutions, you can always rely on us to deliver excellent customer service and a wide range of options.
If you’re in town, don’t forget to visit our showroom in Tampa, Florida. We have the largest collection of cooling units in the area! If you need help deciding what new unit you want, our friendly representatives are standing by to answer all of your questions.