AC Versus Heat Pump | Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning

Residential hvac

Summer is finally over. If your air conditioner needs repair more than once throughout the summer, it may be time to replace the unit. When the time does come to replace your air conditioner, one of your choices is whether you want another air conditioner or a heat pump. These units are very different, so understanding each product’s differences and advantages will help you decide.

What an Air Conditioner Does

An air conditioner removes heat from the home and expels it into the yard. It does this by depressurizing coolant in a coil until the coolant is very cold. The coolant then absorbs heat from the air in the home.

Once the heat inside the home has been absorbed, it is moved along the coil until it reaches its exterior. The coolant is then pressurized until it becomes very hot. The air conditioner unit blows warm air into the yard, and the cycle begins again. Air conditioners reduce both temperature and humidity in the home.

What a Heat Pump Does

A heat pump works like an air conditioner, pressurizing and de-pressurizing coolant to remove warm air inside the house and blast it outside. The difference between these two units is that the heat pump can be reversed to work like a furnace. To do this, the heat pump absorbs heat from the outside and blasts it inside.

Heat pumps are efficient in warm places like Modesto, where the season’s lowest temperatures are generally in the 40s. In colder climates, heat pumps work less efficiently than furnaces because they rely on warmth outside the home to heat the interior. The less heat the air outside contains, the less efficiently the heat pump will operate.

The Benefits Of Heat Pumps

  • Why You Should Choose a Heat Pump: Deciding between a heat pump and an air conditioner can be challenging. Air conditioners are the traditional appliance for keeping a home cool in the summer. An appropriately sized air conditioner will do its job well. However, heat pumps have many advantages over air conditioners.
  • Heat Pumps Are Easy to Maintain: With a heat pump doing the job of the air conditioner and the heater, the homeowner has only one appliance to maintain instead of two. This can lead to lower repair bills and less yearly maintenance.
  • Heat Pumps Are Energy-Efficient: Heat pumps are known for their efficiency, especially in mild or warm-weather climates like Modesto. In fact, heat pumps can heat a home using about 50% less electricity than an electric furnace.
  • Homeowners Are Likely to Have a Backup: Often, people with an air conditioner and furnace combo will keep their furnace, even when replacing their air conditioner with a heat pump. This means the furnace can be used as a backup if the heat pump should ever break down.
  • Heat Pumps Improve Home Value: Home buyers like buying homes with energy-efficient appliances and home systems. With a heat pump installed in your house, your home may enjoy a boost in value.
  • Heat Pumps Are Cost Efficient: Because heat pumps are so efficient, they often cost less than a furnace and air conditioner combination. Using a heat pump year-round can help a homeowner save hundreds or thousands of dollars on their utility bill.
  • Heat Pumps Are Space Efficient: Heat pumps take up about half the space of an air conditioner and furnace combination. They’re an excellent product for tiny homes with little space to dedicate to the HVAC system.

When to Get an Air Conditioner

Of course, heat pumps aren’t for everyone. Heat pumps cost hundreds or thousands more than an air conditioner. This makes air conditioners an attractive option for homeowners on a budget.

How to Get Started

Whether replacing your air conditioner with another or with a heat pump, the first step is to contact a reputable HVAC contractor. Your HVAC contractor will assess your current system, tell you whether or not it’s a good idea to replace your air conditioner and estimate what you will pay to make that replacement.

Get at least three bids from three professionals before making your final selection. Bids should be itemized and detailed so that you know what to expect when the work is finished. Check each contractor’s references and licensure to ensure they’re certified and qualified to do the job. When the time comes to pick a professional, make sure you sign a contract.

Contact an HVAC professional in your area for more information about heat pumps and air conditioners. At Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning, we’re happy to answer any questions about which unit is right for you. Contact us today for more information.

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