Heat Pump vs Air Conditioning – Which is More Cost Effective?

Published on: April 11, 2013

Whether you are designing a new home or looking into HVAC equipment replacement for your current home, it’s important to evaluate energy efficiency and costs of operation for your prospective system. Air conditioning is an important concern in states that experience high temperatures, and most homeowners in these regions want to be sure that they have effective cooling equipment. Our experts can help you evaluate the issue of heat pump vs air conditioning – which is more cost effective.

What Is the Difference Between a Heat Pump and an Air Conditioner?

While heat pumps and air conditioners are similar in design, a heat pump provides both heating and cooling. Both systems use indoor and outdoor coils to transfer refrigerant. As refrigerant is compressed, it becomes hot. As it moves into expansion coils, the expanding refrigerant becomes cold. An air conditioning unit restricts the direction of this process, limiting the expansion and cooling to the indoor coils. A heat pump permits the reversal of this process, enabling the indoor coil to be used for either expansion for cooling or compression for heating.

Heat Pump vs Air Conditioning – Which Is More Cost Effective?

When you are examining the costs of purchasing and installing HVAC equipment, it’s important to recognize that more efficient systems will be somewhat more costly. Your installation budget will help you decide on units that are affordable. Your needs will also affect your choice.

Are you located in a region that doesn’t experience much cold weather? A heat pump isn’t really necessary for those who don’t need winter heating solutions. In this case, it’s more sensible to invest in the efficiency of an air conditioner. While heat pumps can be very efficient, home air conditioning units tend to be more cost effective and energy efficient for cooling use.

If you face a season of chilly weather each year, then a heat pump is more cost effective because it addresses both heating and cooling needs. If your temperatures are rarely below the 40’s during the winter, the heat pump is ideal for heating your home.

If you experience weather conditions that drop below freezing, however, a furnace is more efficient than a heat pump for warming your household. Homeowners in these situations often select furnaces and air conditioners for addressing their heating and cooling needs. A dual fuel system provides the most cost effective operation because it merges a heat pump with a furnace to address heating and cooling needs.

How Do I Select the Best System for My Home?

Our AC contractors can do a load calculation to determine your household needs. If you are in the design phase of your new home construction, we can consult with your architect to provide equipment options and ideas. If you are replacing existing equipment, our experts will be happy to evaluate your home and needs to provide you with the most appropriate choices.

Can I Install My Own Replacement Equipment?

HVAC equipment is very specialized. You may be handy with home improvement projects, but it’s important that your equipment be installed and serviced correctly so that it operates safely. Our technicians work with many brands and train so that they are able to install equipment quickly and correctly. Improper installation can lead to damage and possibly affect the terms of your warranty. Selecting a properly licensed air conditioning company can provide you with an extended warranty in some cases.

Do I Need New Equipment to Improve My Energy Costs?

While recently manufactured equipment is more efficient than those systems produced just a few years ago, there are other steps that can be taken to keep your costs contained with your existing AC unit or heat pump. Some of these include:

-Use a programmable thermostat to regulate temperatures more carefully

-Change your air filter frequently, starting the summer and winter seasons with new filters

-Make sure that ducts and vents aren’t obstructed by furniture or other materials

-Use window coverings to reduce heat exchange

-Have a tune-up performed each year

How Does a Tune-Up Help?

Over time, your equipment’s moving parts can become loose or dry out. Fan belts can crack or break. Refrigerant can leak. Our technicians check these issues and make necessary adjustments to make sure that your AC unit or heat pump functions according to manufacturer guidelines. We also check your ducts and thermostat for issues. We often catch problems that could lead to a system malfunction later. We can reduce your potential need for repairs significantly. Improved efficiency is another benefit, limiting your energy costs. You can contact our contractors to discuss the benefits of this type of air conditioning service if you aren’t quite ready to replace your equipment.