Heat Pumps vs Air Conditioners

Heat Pumps vs. Air Conditioners, What is the Difference?

It’s springtime in Bozeman, and lots of homeowners are beginning to shop for ways to cool their homes in the summer, and one question we receive every year is “What is a heat pump compared to an air conditioner?”

Both a heat pump or an air conditioner are excellent options for heating and cooling your home, but which one you choose will depend on your current heating situation. If you already have an efficient furnace, air conditioning might be the best choice for you. If you have an older furnace or are looking for a furnace replacement, a heat pump might be a better option, because a heat pump can both heat and cool your house. Here are a few details about each product and how they work:

Air Conditioning

An air conditioner draws heat from the air inside your house and pushes it outside. It then uses refrigerant to replace the warm air inside your home with cool air. An air conditioner can only send energy one direction, which means all it can do is cool your house.

Air Conditioning is an ideal choice for people who already have an efficient heating system in their home. If you already have a high-efficiency gas furnace, an air conditioner is probably the right choice for you, because they typically cost less up-front than heat pumps.

Ductless Heat Pumps

The big mechanical difference for a ductless heat pump vs. an air conditioner is that a heat pump can reverse the flow of energy, so it can pull heat from the outside air to warm your home, but it can also pull heat from the air in your house and cool it off. Unlike an air conditioner, which can only be used during one season, a heat pump can be used to keep your home at a comfortable temperature throughout the year.

In the fall, when it’s cool, you can efficiently heat your home with a heat pump. If you are replacing a furnace or have an older, inefficient furnace and are considering adding AC, a heat pump is an energy-efficient choice that will satisfy both requirements. However, a heat pump isn’t as robust as a traditional heating system, so when it gets really cold, you will still need to use your furnace or another heating system from time to time.

Still have questions about heat pumps vs. air conditioners? Schedule your free consultation with Mountain Heating and Cooling today.

Air Purification

We get a fair number of folks asking about air purifiers.  Most commonly, I see one stuffed in the corner of your living room or bedroom while doing a bid.

The bottom line is we have some great solutions.  While they get to the same goal a different way, all of the products we carry have been tried and tested by our staff and customers.

  1.  We carry the GPS series plasma purifiers.  They are simple to maintain, cost effective to install, and can easily go with you when you move across town.  Here’s a video…
  2.  At the top end of the catagory (and best in it’s class) is the Trane ‘Clean Effects’ air purification/furnace filter.

The right fit for you depends on the problems you are looking to solve.  But I’ll rank them below for the big issues we most commonly see.


Both do a good job with dust, but they do it very differently.

  • The GPS makes the particles heavy and sticky.  So they get caught up in the filter.  Because of this, we recommend the filter be changed about 4 weeks after installation.
  • The Trane ‘Clean Effects’ filters out the dust by making it adhere to a membrane.  Wash and vacuum the membrane and you are good to good for another 3 months.
  • Winner:  We’ll give the edge to Trane on this one.  While both do well, the Trane does it on a more refined level.

Pollens & Allergies:

We have seen excellent results with both of the units related to pollens and allergies.  It’s important to note that this isn’t a medical solution, but we have seen success here at removing the source of the airborne issue that is causing the symptoms.   Again, edge goes to Trane, but it really depends on how you use your home related to windows and open doors.

Smoke and odor:

  • The GPS uses an ionizing technology that drops the smoke out of the air.  It also takes cooking, pet, spouse, kids, etc… odors and eliminates them.  Pretty nice for the price.
  • The Trane air purifier is in a dead heat on this one.  System owner’s report that being indoors during fire season was comfortable and odor free when combined with the cool air delivered through the ducts.

We don’t think there is a bad choice here.  And, with our 100% guarantee on the GPS unit, try it out, if it doesn’t work for you family we’ll upgrade you to the Trane.