It’s deceptively cold throughout the country right now, however, the fact of the matter is, we’re going to have to start thinking about warmer weather—and if our homes are ready for that warmer weather—very soon. This means that if your air conditioning system was on its last leg last summer, now is the time to consider a replacement.
But there are so many options to choose from when it comes to AC installation! Most homeowners are used to seeing what’s known as the central air conditioner—the AC system that has a single outdoor unit and an indoor unit connected to a series of ducts. Have you heard of the heat pump though? This is very similar in function and setup to the standard central air conditioner, with one important difference. It works as a heater, too! Read on to learn more.
First, What’s a Heat Pump?
Okay, so we’ve determined that you know what a central air conditioner is. Are you familiar with heat pumps, though?
We mentioned above how heat pumps are very similar to standard central air conditioners. This is true—a central AC system relies on refrigerant in order to cool your home. The AC system draws in warm air from your home, and puts it through a refrigerant process (where the refrigerant chances from a gaseous to liquid state under a high level of pressure). The cold, liquid refrigerant enters coils, and the air goes over these coils in order to bring chilled air into the home.
A heat pump does this too! But there’s one huge difference. The refrigerant process can be reversed with a simple adjustment on your thermostat that triggers the reversing valve. This way, the system pulls in warm air from the outdoors in order to provide you with heated air indoors, through the refrigerant process. An important difference between a heat pump and a furnace is that the former transfers heat while the latter generates it—making heat pumps more efficient HVAC systems since they do not lose any energy through exhaust.
Is a Heat Pump Installation Right for You?
It might be! Heat pumps work great in climates that have hot summers and relatively mild winters that rarely dip below freezing. Plus, heat pumps are versatile. If you have a failing central air conditioner and an aging furnace, you can replace it all just with one system.
Heat pumps do usually cost a bit more to install than a central air conditioner. But again, you’re paying for two systems in one. Plus when you consider the energy efficiency of this system, you may find yourself paying less in energy costs over the course of the year than you would with a traditional AC/furnace setup.
Should You Stick with a Central Air Conditioner?
A heat pump is pretty great for our climate. But, a standard central air conditioner may be the right choice depending on some factors. Say, for instance, you have a brand new furnace, or you’re using a boiler for your heating needs. In that case, it may not make much economic sense to switch to a heat pump right now, but it could be something for you to consider in the future!
Heat pumps are generally more cost-effective in the long run, but due to their year-round operation, they can wear down a bit faster than a central air conditioner. Of course, this can be mitigated with routine maintenance. We can help with that, too!