Heat Pump or Air Conditioner: Which One is Right for Cooling Your Home Published on March 28, 2016 The amount of decisions you have to make to manage your home seems to be endless: carpet or wood, high-efficiency appliances or standard, wood panelling or wall paper. Let’s add one more - air conditioner or heat pump. It’s tempting to want a heat pump when you hear they can have lower annual energy costs, but how can you be sure a heat pump is really right for your home’s heating and cooling needs? And how is it different from an air conditioner anyway? As far as cooling your home, heat pumps and air conditioners are practically the same. The air conditioner takes heat from inside the home and dumps it outside, cooling the air in your home. The heat pump operates the same so, in the cooling season, they operate alike and, all things equivalent, cost about the same to keep your home cool. But, not like an air conditioner, a heat pump can be reversed when the heating season begins. The reversed system can take heat from the outside of the home and push it inside, giving you warmer air inside your home. You have one piece of equipment that does dual work, keeping your home comfortable year-round, and lowering your energy. Whereas a heat pump can be your “heater” in cooler temperatures, if you have a standard air conditioner instead of a heat pump, you will have a totally separate system to heat your home – usually a gas or electric furnace. A furnace is a more robust heating system and is essential for certain cooler climates. That’s because a heat pump has trouble when the temperatures hit about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or 4.4 degrees Celsius. As strange as it sounds, during cooler temperatures, a heat pump is intended to extract heat from the outdoors and use it to heat the inside air. Just because the air outside feels cold, there is still plenty of available heat for the heat pump to work properly, but in exceptionally cold climates there is not enough heat available outside to heat the air inside to high enough temperatures needed to keep warm. So while a heat pump may be ideal during the winter months for someone in Daytona Beach, someone living in upstate New York with a heat pump would probably also need a furnace for the more extreme temperatures. If you don’t have a furnace that kicks in when the freezing temperatures hit, the heat pump can run for hours trying to keep your home warm enough. In some areas, heat pumps can function as geothermal systems, and the heating source is better for the environment as it is not burning fossil fuels and, instead, uses the Earth’s actual temperature to heat and cool. This is a wonderful alternative for particular northern climates, but more land must be available in order to install the essential piping for a geothermal system. Just what you needed – one more thing to think about when it comes to your home comfort; but, remember, it’s important to examine the pros and cons of each heating and cooling system so you don’t end up purchasing a system that turns off when extreme temperatures hit, or investing in additional systems when one would suffice. If you still aren’t convinced which system is best for your home, call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning to schedule a complimentary in-home quote. We are available to answer any and all of your questions to make sure you make the right decision for your home.