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March 5, 2023

Heat Pump vs Air Conditioner: Which Is Best for You?

If you need help choosing the best way to cool your home, get expert advice and professional installation services from the experienced heating and cooling technicians of Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing. Call (317) 563-8122 for an appointment today!

Keeping your home and family comfortable is a priority, especially when the outdoor temperature starts to climb. You have several options for home cooling, but how do you choose the right one? Many homeowners, for instance, struggle to decide between a heat pump vs air conditioner to cool their homes. 

Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing, Greenwood’s AC installation experts, can help you determine the best home cooling method for your budget and preferences. We understand that you want an energy-efficient and reliable way to stay cool. Both heat pumps and air conditioners fit the bill, but they each have pros and cons that make them better in some situations than others. 

We work closely with local homeowners to help them select and install the right cooling system. This comprehensive guide gives you an overview of each system, highlights its advantages and disadvantages, and helps you weigh your options. 

The Basics of Heat Pumps 

Heat pumps provide both heating and cooling by moving heat energy between the indoors and outdoors, rather than actually heating or cooling the air like a traditional air conditioner or oil or gas furnace.

Heat pumps have two components: an indoor air handler and an outdoor unit. During the summer, the indoor unit pulls warm air out of your home and transfers it outdoors, efficiently cooling the space. In the winter, you can reverse the valve, and the unit will pull heat from outside and use it to warm your home. 

For many homeowners considering a heat pump vs air conditioner, the ability of the heat pump to produce warmth as well as air conditioning is an attractive selling point. As long as the outdoor temperature stays above 30 degrees, the heat pump is an efficient and effective way to keep your home warm. If the temperature drops below 30 degrees, the heat pump triggers a supplemental heat source to ensure adequate warmth and save energy.

Heat Pump Pros and Cons 

A well-maintained heat pump is a reliable source of heating and air conditioning. The systems use less electricity than other HVAC options, making them both budget and environmentally friendly.  But as with any heating and cooling option, heat pumps have pros and cons. 

Pros of Heat Pumps

  • Heat pumps provide both heating and cooling with a single unit.
  • Heat pumps use electricity, so you do not have to purchase and store a fuel source like oil or propane.
  • Heat pumps produce more heated or cooled air with less energy than a furnace or air conditioner.
  • Heat pumps require minimal maintenance, usually only two service visits per year.
  • Heat pumps work with your existing ductwork.

Cons of Heat Pumps 

  • Heat pumps cannot produce heat on their own when the outdoor temperature drops below 30 degrees.
  • Heat pumps do not work during power outages.
  • Heat pumps have a shorter lifespan than other heating and cooling systems and typically require replacement after about 15 years.
  • Heat pumps are more expensive to install upfront than traditional furnaces. 

The Basics of Air Conditioners 

A central air conditioner is vital to many Indiana homes, ensuring total comfort on scorching hot summer days. Like a heat pump, an air conditioner removes heat from the air, providing a steady supply of cool and comfortable air even when the outdoor temperature nears the triple digits.

Air conditioners also have two components, an outdoor compressor and condenser unit and an indoor air handler and evaporator unit. The coils inside the indoor and outdoor units contain a refrigerant that pulls heat and humidity from the air, and fans blow the treated — or conditioned — air back into the rooms. The unit releases heat and excess moisture outside, so you feel cool and comfortable inside. 

Central air conditioners rely on ductwork to circulate cooled air throughout your home. Other options, like window air conditioners and ductless mini splits, can keep smaller spaces cool. However, in any case, an air conditioner only cools rooms and doesn’t produce heat. 

Air Conditioner Pros and Cons 

When thinking about a heat pump vs air conditioner, consider the pros and cons of air conditioners. 

Pros of Air Conditioners 

  • Air conditioners can improve air quality since they have air filters to remove dust and other contaminants from the air.
  • A central air conditioner provides quiet and efficient whole-house cooling.
  • Air conditioners provide consistent and reliable cooling because the cooled air travels through whole-house ductwork.

Cons of Air Conditioners

  • Air conditioners require an additional source of heat, which takes up space and creates more expense.
  • Air conditioners cost more to run than other cooling options.
  • Air conditioners do not work during power outages. 

How to Choose Between a Heat Pump and an Air Conditioner

Both heat pumps and air conditioners are viable options for heating and cooling your home. Ultimately, the best decision depends on your preferences, budget, and climate. Consider some of these factors when making your decision.

  • Costs. The initial cost for a heat pump is higher than that of an air conditioner, especially if your home needs ductwork. If your existing ducts need repairs or replacing, that work can increase the installation cost by thousands of dollars. 
  • Energy efficiency. Heat pumps are generally more energy efficient than air conditioners, especially when you invest in an Energy Star-rated model with a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). New air conditioner models are more energy efficient than ever before, but they still cost more to operate than a heat pump. 
  • Preferences. In a mild climate where winter temperatures rarely dip below freezing, a heat pump will keep your home comfortable in every season. However, in colder regions, the heat pump will need to use supplemental heat that sacrifices efficiency, especially if you prefer to keep your home at a higher indoor temperature.
  • Durability. With proper maintenance,  heat pumps and air conditioners have a similar lifespan. However, an air conditioner may last slightly longer because it only runs for part of the year.

If you have an aging air conditioner, but your existing furnace is still in good condition, a new air conditioner may be the most cost-effective option. However, if you live in a moderate climate where a heat pump can handle both heating and cooling, then a heat pump is likely the best option. 

Get Help with the Heat Pump vs Air Conditioner Decision

As Greenwood’s leading heating and cooling service provider, the team from Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing can help you select the perfect system for your home. We can ensure that your family is comfortable no matter the weather or the season and help you save money on energy bills with high-quality installation, maintenance, and repair services. Our experienced, certified team has the knowledge and skills to provide the most technologically advanced and budget-friendly heat pumps, air conditioners, and more to local homes.

To learn more about our HVAC services and how our family-owned and operated company can help you make the best choice of heat pump vs air conditioner or solve any other heating and cooling issue, call us today. Our highly qualified technicians provide exceptional customer service at fair, upfront prices. For heating and air conditioning services in the Greenwood, IN, area you can trust and customer service that stands above the rest, call the Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing team at (317) 563-8122

Author Bio:

Brittany Katterjohn

Brittany is a marketer, entrepreneur, and writer with previous business development experience in the home maintenance industry. She currently manages the marketing for Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing and has a passion for helping people by simplifying seemingly complicated topics related to home maintenance and repair.

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