Air Conditioner or Heat Pump: How to Make a Choice?

Is the summer getting intolerable for you? If so, then most probably you’re thinking of getting the best technology or device for your home or office space to deal with it.

It is very obvious that you’re facing a little dilemma on whether to go with a heat pump or an air conditioner; which one would be the best option to serve your purpose.

In this article, we will help you figure out just that. You will get everything you need to know about heat pumps and air conditioners starting from their basics to the pros and cons followed by a comparison.

Analyze them, know your priorities, and make the decision. Are you ready? Let’s get started!

air conditioner benefits

What is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump is a technology that transfers the inside heat of the house to the outside or vice versa. Generally, a heat pump is used to eliminate the heat that is inside a house or building to the outside air in summer.

But in winter, the function of the heat pump just reverses. In cold weather, when you need heat in your homes, a heat pump extracts the heat from the outside air and transfers it to the inside.

Types of Heat Pump

Heat pumps are broadly divided into two major types. They are:

Air Source Heat Pump

This kind of heat pump uses the heat from the outside air in winter and expels the hot air from the inside to the outside in summer.

Geothermal Heat Pump

This type of heat pump utilizes the heat from the soil in winter to supply hot air into the house and expels the heat from the inside air to the soil or water in the hot weather.

Considering the design of the heat pumps, they are divided into two types. Those are as follows:

Split Type

This type of heat pump consists of two different indoor and outdoor units.

Packaged Unit

Such heat pumps contain all the components of the system combined within one single cabinet.

Heat Pump Components

The heat pump constitutes a good number of components. Each is required for different functions. The components that more or less all  heat pumps possess along with their functions are as follows:

Compressor: Transports refrigerant which is a compound responsible for heat exchange converting liquid to gas and absorbing the heat from the environment to transfer it somewhere else.

Coils: Condenser and evaporator coil for heating and cooling the air.

Reversing Valve: Changes the refrigerant flow.

Thermostatic Expansion Valves: Regulate the refrigerant flow.

Accumulator: To adjust with the season and the weather.

Air Ducts: To allow the hot or cold air released from the heat pump to flow throughout the house.

Refrigerant Lines: This component is applicable only for split-type heat pumps to connect the components from the inside to the outside.

Heat Strips: This generally comes with the packaged unit for providing extra heat on cooler days.

How does a Heat Pump Heat?

In winter, the reversing valve of the heat pump changes the system from cooling to heating. So that the heat from the outside air is extracted and pulled inside the house.

heating-radiator

Generally, a heat pump has the ability to heat up a house up to 70 degrees, but as long as the outside air is above 30 degrees. So, if the temperature goes below 30 degrees, the heat pump needs to utilize the additional heat sources.

Advantages of a Heat Pump

There are several advantages to having a heat pump. Some of the most mentionable are listed below.

  • Reducing the need to access natural gas or keeping a propane tank.
  • The home duct system of the heat pump ensures heat is distributed equally to every corner of the house without leaving any spaces cold.
  • As heat pumps don’t consume fossil fuels, they are more environmentally friendly.
  • The biggest advantage of a heat pump is providing two separate services in two different seasons, saving money for any other device or their maintenance.

Disadvantages of a Heat Pump

Even though heat pumps offer some very impressive benefits, there are few drawbacks as well.

  • In freezing winters, heat pumps won’t be enough to warm up the entire house.
  • In colder winters, you might have to use additional heaters or furnaces along with a heat pump to heat up your house.

What is an Air Conditioner?

The air conditioner does the same work as the heat pump in summer, that is, eliminating the heat inside the house to the outside air. But it also cools down the air inside by releasing cool air.

Types of Air Conditioner

There are different types and designs of air conditioners. The most usual and popular among them are listed below.

Central Air Conditioners: This type of AC packs the evaporator, compressor, and condenser in one single unit. The unit is connected by supply and return ducts that are installed in the walls of the houses.

Split-type Air Conditioners:  These air conditioners have two different outdoor and indoor units and the air supply takes place through the ducts.

Window Air Conditioners: This kind of air conditioner is ideal for a room as it combines all the components in one box that can fit a window.

Air Conditioner Components

The components of the air conditioner are somewhat similar to the heat pumps. This includes an outdoor unit consisting of the condenser, compressor, and fan.

The indoor unit has an evaporator and a fan. The refrigerant moves through the condenser and evaporator and the cool air produced moves through the ducts with the help of the fan.

AC components

AC Coils of HVAC systems require regular cleanup

Advantages of an Air Conditioner

An air conditioner bears some advantages compared to heat pumps. Those are as follows :

  • AC’s are very efficient for cooling down larger rooms and keeping the house cool for a longer period.
  • Air-conditioned rooms reduce dehydration.
  • AC improves the air quality of the room by removing allergens and is beneficial to patients with respiratory problems like Asthma.

Disadvantages of an Air Conditioner

There are some clear and obvious disadvantages of air conditioners. They are:

  • AC’s cannot produce or extract heat from the outer environment like heat pumps.
  • AC generally requires fossil fuel to run.

Comparison Between an Air Conditioner and a Heat Pump

To make it easier for you, let’s make a short comparison between heat pump vs air conditioner on some important factors to consider while buying them.

Purchase Cost: Generally, air conditioners are way costlier than heat pumps.

Installation Cost: Usually, the outdoor units of the heat pump cost more for installation than installing AC or indoor heat pumps.

Energy Efficiency: If you’re looking forward to improving your energy efficiency in the house, the heat pump should be your ideal option. Because heat pumps are more effective in saving energy than ACs.

Durability: If you’re not down for compromising the durability and longevity of your cooling device, then go for air conditioners. Because heat pumps don’t last more than 15 years.

Final Words

Do you still have confusion about which one to go for? Think about what matters to you more; saving money and energy or durability and longevity. Then choose wisely by evaluating heat pump vs air conditioner.

Hope this article was able to help you solve your dilemma. Thanks for reading till the end.