When it starts to get hot outdoors, knowing whether to choose heat pumps vs air conditioning units can help you stay comfortable. However, there is a lot of confusion about “what is the difference between a heat pump and an air conditioner?” And ultimately, the best option to choose will depend on several factors.
For instance, a heat pump can push hot air out of your home to keep you cool. It can also reverse the flow of warm air so that it heats up inside your home. On the other hand, a traditional air conditioner only cools the air.
That being said, let’s look at some of the key factors when deciding between these two as well as the main differences.
Read More: The Importance of Energy-Efficient AC Units
Heat Pumps vs Air Conditioning 101
The best way to explain the difference between a heat pump and an air conditioner is to start with their definitions:
What Are Heat Pumps?
A heat pump is part of an HVAC system. Heat pumps pump cool air outside to leave your space warm, or move hot air outside to keep your space cool. In other words, heat pumps move heat based on how you have the thermostat set.
This is a big difference between an air conditioner and a heat pump since AC units can’t heat a home.
Furthermore, a heat pump system operates in two parts. It has an indoor air handler and an outdoor unit. A refrigerant line is used to connect these two parts. From there, a compressor moves the refrigerant throughout your system.
Lastly, an evaporator coil or condenser coil chills the air. You can select from water-source heat pumps, air-source heat pumps, and geothermal heat pumps. Each type of heat pump has a different energy source.
What Is An Air Conditioner?
An air conditioner is an HVAC system that circulates cooled air throughout an indoor space. Air conditioners draw air from outside and then cool it before releasing it into your home. Air conditioners utilize refrigerant gasses that help to evaporate the air from outside and remove the heat.
Once the air is cooled, ducts or vents help circulate the air throughout your home and keep you cool. An air conditioner cannot be used to heat the home, unlike a heat pump. Therefore, if you have an air conditioner, you’ll need another source of heat, like a furnace.
What Is The Difference Between An Air Conditioner And A Heat Pump? – Recap
Both of these HVAC systems use electricity and refrigerants to control the temperature of the air inside your home. However, the primary difference is that air conditioners remove heat by forcing the warm air outside, whereas heat pumps can move heat in both directions from one area to the next.
Additionally, a reversing valve is used in heat pumps, which can bring warm air inside during colder weather. However, air conditioners can require less maintenance and are ideal for hot weather locations when you simply need to cool your house.
So What’s The Difference Between A Heat Pump And Air Conditioner? — Ask The Experts
Whether you choose a heat pump or air conditioner depends on several factors. The area that you live in, the weather, your budget, and more should all go into your decision. Heat pumps can be energy efficient, however, they may also have a higher initial cost.
Air conditioners may be more affordable to get started, but they may not be able to heat your home like a heat pump. The best course of action is to contact HVAC specialists at UIC Heating and Cooling today.
They’ll help you with air conditioning installation in Elmhurst and understand your options based on your family’s needs.