Consider the Advantages of a Heat Pump Over an Air Conditioner Before You BuyIf you’d like to save money on your next HVAC system purchase, you might consider switching from an A/C-furnace set-up to a heat pump. This is an all-in-one heating and cooling system that can save money on both installation and operation. When it comes to heat pump advantages over an air conditioner, this is the main one.

For residential cooling, an air-source heat pump – the most common type – uses the same technology as a central air conditioner. Rather than directly creating cool air, it uses refrigerant to extract heat from indoor air and transfer it outside, where the heat is released into the surrounding air. The subtraction of heat inside creates cool air, which is then circulated through the house. The indoor heat removal takes place in an evaporator coil, while the outside heat release occurs in the compressor/condenser unit.

The main advantage of heat pump technology is the ability to also provide super-efficient heating. This occurs when a reversing valve changes the direction of the refrigerant. Now in heating mode, the outside condensing coil switches roles so that the refrigerant now extracts heat from the cold outside air and transfers it inside. The inside coil releases that heat into the home, where it gets distributed the same way as cool air during air conditioning.

A heat pump provides about the same cooling output as a heat pump with an equivalent seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). Heating is where a heat pump really has an efficiency advantage over a gas furnace. A well-maintained heat pump can provide three times the heating efficiency of a high-efficiency gas furnace. This advantage does have two caveats:

  • In areas with cold winters, the heat pump will require an emergency heating backup system (usually either an electric resistance heating element or a gas furnace).
  • When natural gas is relatively cheap, it might still be cheaper to heat with gas than electricity, even though the heat pump is much more efficient.

For more information on heat pump advantages, please contact us at Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal. We provide superior HVAC services in Northwest Arkansas.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Springdale, Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about heat pumps and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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