Should You Get an Air Conditioner or a Heat Pump?

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 choice is whether you want another air conditioner or a heat pump. These units are very different, so understanding the differences and advantages of each product will help you make your decision.

What an Air Conditioner Does

An air conditioner removes heat from home and expels it into the yard. It does this by depressurizing the coolant in a coil until it is freezing. 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 boiling. Next, the air conditioner unit blows warm air out 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 depressurizing 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 house’s interior. Therefore, the less heat air outside contains, the less efficiently the heat pump will operate.

Why You Should Choose a Heat Pump

Deciding between a heat pump and an air conditioner can be a challenge. 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 energy efficiency, especially in mild or warm-weather climates like Modesto. Heat pumps can heat a home using about 50% less electricity than an electric furnace.

Homeowners Are Likely to Have a Backup

People who have an air conditioner and furnace combo will often keep their furnace, even when they replace their air conditioner with a heat pump. The stove can be a backup if the heat pump breaks down.

Heat Pumps Improve Home Value

Home buyers like to buy homes that have 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 to operate than a furnace and air conditioner combination. As a result, using a heat pump year-round can help a homeowner save hundreds or thousands of dollars on their utility bill over time.

Heat Pumps Are Space Efficient

Heat pumps take up about half the space of an air conditioner and furnace combination. As a result, they’re an excellent product for tiny homes with little room to dedicate to the HVAC system.

When to Get an Air Conditioner

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

How to Get Started

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

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

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

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