What’s the Difference Between a Heat Pump and an Air Conditioner?
When it’s time to replace your Jupiter, FL home’s cooling system, you’ll have a few choices. The most important difference between a heat pump and an air conditioner is that heat pumps heat and cool, while air conditioners only cool. We offer quality heat pump services and air conditioning services, including replacement and installation. Read on to learn about the differences between a heat pump and an air conditioner so that you can make an informed decision about your home’s comfort.
Functions of a Heat Pump
A heat pump offers both heating and cooling functions. It’s able to do this with a chemical refrigerant that absorbs heat and transfers it through a closed-loop system. During the summertime, it transfers heat out of your home. This process also condenses humidity out of your home’s air. The excess moisture drains into your home’s wastewater system. The unit’s reversing valve allows it to transfer it into your home during the wintertime. When you have a heat pump for your Florida home, you won’t need a separate heating system. The pumps can efficiently heat your home even if the temperature drops as low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
Types of Heat Pumps
There are three types of heat pumps. An air-source heat pump also transfers heat between the outdoor air and your home, explains the Department of Energy. A geothermal heat pump, which is also called a ground-source heat pump, transfers heat between your home and pipes that are buried at least six feet under the soil surface. Water-source heat pumps transfer heat between your home and a small body of water, such as a pond.
Parts of a Heat Pump
Heat pumps are split systems. There’s an indoor unit, which consists of the air handler and evaporator coil. The outdoor unit contains the compressor and condenser.
Functions of an Air Conditioner
Air conditioners transfer heat out of your home. They do this with the same type of chemical refrigerant as a heat pump. The cold refrigerant enters the evaporator coil, and warm air from your home passes over it. The air gets cold, and a fan blows it back into your home’s ducts. When the air cools, moisture condenses out of it. The moisture is drained away into your home’s wastewater system.
Types of Air Conditioners
There are three types of air conditioners, and they only transfer heat from your home to the outdoor air. Window or room air conditioners cool one room at a time, and they’re placed into a window frame. Central air conditioning systems cool an entire home. Mini-split air conditioners have up to four small indoor units mounted onto a ceiling or wall. They’re connected to a larger outdoor unit. They facilitate zoned cooling.
Parts of an Air Conditioner
Air conditioners can be split or packaged cooling systems. A split cooling system has an indoor unit and an outdoor unit, just like a heat pump. A packaged air conditioner has all of the equipment in one outdoor unit. The unit can be mounted onto your home’s roof or on a concrete slab next to your home.
What to Consider When Choosing Between a Heat Pump and Air Conditioner
Another difference between air conditioners and heat pumps is longevity. Air conditioners last about five years longer than heat pumps. Energy efficiency is also an important consideration when choosing between a heat pump and an air conditioner. When a heat pump runs in the cooling mode, its energy efficiency is measured with the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). This is also the case for air conditioners. When heat pumps operate in heating mode, their efficiency is measured with the heating season performance factor (HSPF). Because air conditioners don’t heat, they don’t have this type of rating. Choose an air conditioner or heat pump with the highest SEER rating that fits into your budget. Comfort features are also important. Both heat pumps and air conditioners offer variable-speed motors and fans.
To learn more about the differences between heat pumps and air conditioners, take a look at Stephen K. Denny, Inc.’s air conditioning or heat pump services, or reach out to us today.
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