air conditioner

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

July 14, 2020

When you need a replacement heating or cooling system, you might not be sure which type to purchase for your Alexander City, AL, home. An air conditioner offers relief from the long, hot summers, but you’ll need a heating system for the chilly winter nights. Here’s what you need to know about the differences between a heat pump and air conditioner.

Air Conditioner Functionality

Air conditioners offer cooling functions, and they also dehumidify your home. They use a chemical refrigerant to transfer heat from your home to the outdoors. Many homeowners pair an air conditioner for cooling with a furnace for heating. This is a wise solution in places with hot summers and cold winters. The two systems will use the same air handler and air ducts, but they don’t share any other equipment.

Heat Pump Functionality

Heat pumps perform both heating and cooling functions. In the summertime, they work the same way as a central air conditioning system. They also use a chemical refrigerant, usually the same type as an air conditioner. When you need heating, the heat pump cycles its refrigerant in the opposite way as an air conditioner. The reverse cycling allows it to absorb heat from the outdoors and bring it into your home. Heat pumps are an energy-efficient choice for moderate climates. According to the Department of Energy, a heat pump could lower your heating costs by 50 percent compared to electric furnaces.

Auxiliary Heating

When the outside temperature drops below freezing, heat pumps aren’t as efficient at warming your home. In order to ensure that your home will be warm enough, the heat pump automatically turns on its auxiliary heater. The auxiliary heating uses a lot of electricity, so it shouldn’t be used as a primary heating source.

To learn more about the differences between heat pumps and air conditioners, check out Advanced Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC’s heat pump services or air conditioning services, or contact us today for additional details.

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