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.