Home Improvement

Heat Pumps vs. AC Systems: Which Is Right for You?

Back in the 90s, only 68% of homes across the US had air conditioning units to keep cool in the summer. Today, this number is closer to 90%, as all new construction includes AC systems as a standard feature.

But if you’re buying an older home that doesn’t have HVAC services, or if your current system is out of date and inefficient, you might be wondering what the best options are for keeping your home cool.

Both heat pumps and AC systems can do that job, though only one of these can handle both heating and cooling. Wondering which option you should choose to keep your house comfortable during the hot summer months?

Read on below to learn the difference between these two systems and to decide which one will solve your HVAC problems today.

Heat Pumps Do it All

The name might be misleading, as heat pumps are primarily used to cool the home, not to heat it. Heat pumps cool the home by pushing hot air from the inside of your home to the outside.

It literally displaces the heat, leaving your home feeling cool and comfortable.

But heat pumps can also be used for heating services. To heat the home at temperatures above 30 degrees, heat pumps reverse the process by pulling the warm air back into the house.

However, heat pumps are only effective at keeping a house warm when the outside air is above 30 degrees. Once temperatures start dropping below freezing, you’ll start to have heating problems. The heat pumps will have to switch over to a supplemental heating supply in order to warm up the house.

This makes heat pumps a great all-in-one solution for homes in mild climates, where winter temperatures rarely dip below freezing. They can work well in harsher climates, so long as they are paired with auxiliary sources of heating.

If you plan to use your heat pump all winter long, make sure to have it inspected by a heat pump technician to ensure it’s ready to handle the coming cold.

AC Systems Specialize in Cooling

Central air conditioning systems are really good at one thing; keeping your home cool and comfortable in the heat of summer. Paired with ductwork that connects each room in your home, a centralized air conditioner controls the temperature of your home from one centralized location.

AC systems are more effective at cooling larger homes to lower temperatures. They are very efficient and very quiet. Plus, they work as a dehumidifier, removing moisture from the air, which also helps our bodies feel cooler.

The only downside about AC systems is that they cannot produce heat. You’ll need a completely separate heating unit unless you live in Hawaii or the tropics, where heat won’t be needed.

Almost everyone in the US will need a household heater, however, so an AC system will need to be paired with a furnace in order to make your home livable year-round.

Choosing the Right Cooling System

AC systems and heat pumps both accomplish the goal of keeping houses cool in the summer. But only heat pumps can also keep homes warm when the temperatures drop. And they work well, so long as the outdoor temperatures rarely dip below freezing.

Choosing a system depends on many factors, such as your budget, your climate, the size of your home, and your indoor temperature preferences.

It helps to consult a local HVAC technician to provide direct recommendations for your situation.

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