Heat pumps vs. Air Conditioners

Heat Pump Advantages: How Do They Compare to Air Conditioners?

Many homeowners scratch their heads over the difference between a central air conditioner and a heat pump. After all, they look very similar and both provide cooling. So what’s the difference? Read on to learn about some heat pump advantages.

How Heat Pumps Resemble Central A/Cs

When it comes to household cooling, a heat pump and A/C are essentially the same machine. Both systems use the refrigeration process to extract heat energy and moisture from inside air, and then release the heat into the outside air, using refrigerant, copper coils, fans and a compressor. Moisture removed from the air drips into a condensate collection pan and then drains away. Both systems use a powerful fan indoors to circulate the cool air (which results from heat removal) through ducts and into rooms.

How a Heat Pump Is Superior to an A/C

Among all the heat pump advantages, the main one is you get both cooling and heating with the heat pump. It provides high-efficiency cooling in the summer, and efficient heating in the winter. To warm your home, a reversing valve in the heat pump switches the flow of refrigerant. As the inside and outside refrigerant coils flip-flop their roles in the process, heat energy is extracted from the outside air, brought inside and released into the interior air. A well-maintained air-source heat pump can deliver three times the heat energy as the electric power that goes into it. This is far more efficient than even the most efficient gas furnace, which can never do better than 100 percent efficiency.

The ability to heat and cool makes air-source heat pumps a convenient alternative for homeowners. However, there is a caveat – in cold weather, a heat pump will struggle to extract sufficient heat from the outside air to comfortably heat a home. But most heat pumps come with an emergency or auxiliary heating element (or backup gas furnace) to take over when outside temperatures fall below freezing for extended periods.

For help finding a quality heat pump or A/C for your Houston area home, please contact us at Airtron Heating & Air Conditioning.

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