What’s the Difference Between Heat Pumps and Air Conditioners?

More often than not, customers get a bit confused when it comes to the difference between heat pumps and air conditioners. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about! In many ways, heat pumps function the same as air conditioners. The biggest difference is a heat pump can reverse itself to provide heat while an air conditioner can’t.

The Similarities

Both heat pumps and air conditioners take heat from inside your home and transfer it outside. Each system uses a compressed refrigerant to collect heat from inside your house.

The hot air passes over the coil in the air handler and transfers outside. Most people assume air conditioners cool the air in your home. The truth is they remove heat energy from your home and pump it outdoors.

A heating pump does the exact same thing when operating in cooling mode. In addition, it can be tricky to tell the two apart by physical appearance alone. Both have condenser units outdoors. If it’s running when you need heat, it’s a heat pump.  

The Difference Between Heat Pumps and Air Conditioners

While cooling mode is essentially identical between the two, heating is not an option for your air conditioner. While they both may rely on the same refrigeration principles, by the flip of a switch a heating pump does the exact opposite process.

By reversing the direction of the air, the coils inside the heating pump change what was once a liquid into a gas as it pulls heat from the air. This allows the heating pump to push warm air through the interior vents.

It does not generate heat through combustion, like a furnace. It moves heat from one place to another. Traditionally, heat pumps were found mostly in temperate climates, where heating is not a priority.

They could keep up with heating during occasional low temperatures with electric strips as a backup. Although often expensive to use, it provides a source of heat for the air passing through the heat pump.

With advancements in technology, heat pumps can better cope with ongoing colder temperatures and are found throughout the country.

What works for me?

Space should be considered when choosing the right system for you. Should you choose an air conditioner, additional space for a furnace is needed. Another factor is your energy source.

If you have access to natural gas, you may choose an air conditioner and furnace. If your house is electric, a heat pump is probably best. Another option for heat pumps is a ductless variety.

These do not connect to ductwork and multiple quiet indoor units may connect to an outdoor condenser unit. You may choose to use one or two in different rooms to boost heating or cooling. Or, you may create zone control of your heating and cooling in your entire house.

Curious? Ask us for an estimate.

Trust Hans to Evaluate the Difference Between Heat Pumps and Air Conditioners to Determine Your Options

With Hans Heating and Air by your side, we can help you understand the system you have. We can also recommend the best option for you if you’re looking to replace or are building a new home. In conclusion, the difference between heat pumps and air conditioners is, heat pumps provide both heating and cooling while AC units only cool.

Call us today at 334-721-8437 to find the best option for your home or repair or tune up your current air conditioner or heating pump. We serve customers throughout greater Montgomery, Alabama. We travel to communities such as Pike Road, Prattville, Hope Hull, Millbrook and Wetumpka.

Stay In Touch

Keep up with the latest tips and special deals - 
subscribe to our monthly newsletter.