Many homeowners scratch their heads over the differences between central air conditioners and heat pumps. After all, they appear very similar and both provide cooling. So what’s the difference? Learn below 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 really just the same machine. Both systems use a refrigeration process to extract heat energy and moisture from indoor air, and then release the heat to outside air, using refrigerant, copper coils, fans and a compressor. Moisture removed from the air then drips into a condensate collection pan and drains away. Both of these systems use a powerful fan indoors to circulate cool air (which results from heat removal) through ducts and into rooms.
How a Heat Pump Is Superior to an A/C
For all of the heat pump advantages, the main one is you get both cooling and heating using the heat pump. It provides high-efficiency cooling in summertime, and efficient heating in the winter. To warm your home, a reversing valve in the heat pump switches the refrigerant flow. As the inside and outside refrigerant coils flip-flop their roles during the process, heat energy is extracted from the outside air, brought inside and released into indoor air. A well-maintained air-source heat pump can deliver up to three times the heat energy as the electric power that goes into it. This is extremely more efficient than even the most efficient gas furnace, which can’t deliver better than 100 percent efficiency.
The ability to heat and cool makes air-source heat pumps a top convenient alternative for homeowners. However, there is a downside – in cold weather, a heat pump will struggle to extract enough heat from the outside air to comfortably heat a home. But most heat pumps come with emergency or auxiliary heating elements (or backup gas furnace) to take over when those outside temperatures fall below freezing for extended periods.
For help finding a quality heat pump or A/C for your Austin area home, please contact us at Airco.