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What Are the Differences Between Heat Pumps and Air Conditioners?

Posted on: November 12, 2017

In the Lakeland area, both heat pumps and air conditioners are popular options for cooling a home. At a basic level, both system work nearly the same. A refrigerant is used to absorb heat from your home in the summer and release it outdoors, leaving the interior cool and comfortable. A heat pump, however, can be reversed, allowing it to extract heat from the outside air in the winter to warm your home. An air conditioner is often paired with a furnace to provide winter heating.

The Benefits of a Heat Pump

Because heat pumps combine both heating and cooling in one package, they are a convenient way to keep your home comfortable year-round. Their benefits include:

  • Energy-efficient cooling, with ratings from 14 to over 20 SEER
  • Energy-efficient heating, with HSPF ratings as high as 10 or above
  • No need for a separate heating system
  • No need for a natural gas connection or propane storage
  • Simple maintenance and reliable operation

Compared to air conditioners, heat pumps tend to be slightly more expensive initially. However, because an air conditioner requires a separate heating system, the combined costs to provide both heating and cooling are often comparable.

The Benefits of an Air Conditioner

Central air conditioners provide exceptional cooling performance, and when combined with a furnace, they can offer efficient, cost effective heating, as well. The benefits of a central air conditioner include:

  • Energy-efficient cooling, with SEER ratings of 14 to over 20
  • Inexpensive heating when combined with a high-performance furnace
  • Less costly than a heat pump when a heating system is already installed
  • Simple maintenance and reliable performance

Although an air conditioner requires the additional expense of a separate heating system, heat pumps can be less effective for heating at cooler temperatures than a furnace and may require a backup heat source occasionally. Typically, that would be electric resistance coils, which can be expensive to operate. In the Lakeland area, however, winter temperatures are seldom low enough to require frequent us of the backup heat source.

Choosing a Heat Pump or Air Conditioner

If you have an existing furnace, or another type of heating system, an air conditioner may be the most cost-effective choice for your home. It will provide efficient cooling and will work with your furnace to keep your home comfortable all year long. If you need both a heating and cooling solution, a heat pump may be the best choice, and it will require slightly less maintenance than separate heating and cooling systems.

Heat Pump and AC Installations in Lakeland, Florida

At Iceberg Cooling, we install and service both heat pumps and air conditioners. Our HVAC experts can work with you to determine which system will be the most cost-effective option for your needs, and we can provide a fast, professional installation.

We offer heating and cooling systems from some of the best manufacturers in the industry. For over 70 years, we have been serving homeowners throughout the Lakeland area and Polk County, providing quality heating, air conditioning, and indoor air quality services.

Contact us today at (863) 223-1849 to request an estimate or to schedule an installation!