Let’s take a look at a few reasons that might help you decide whether to replace a heat pump with an air conditioner or vice versa. Depending on where you live, sometimes the best air conditioner for your home could be a unit that cools and heats. On the other hand, a heat pump could be better than a standard central AC unit if you live somewhere with very hot and cold months. A heat pump can cool your home in the summer and warm it in the winter. It saves space and money because it does both jobs in one. Heat pumps are also good for the environment because they use less energy. They keep your home at a comfortable temperature without sudden blasts of hot or cold air. Even in cold places, heat pumps can still keep you warm.
Alongside picking between the two, make sure to also learn more about the components of your unit and the signs for maintenance or repairs, such as when the air conditioner is running while the heat is on.
- Both central AC units and heat pumps provide cooling power. However, heat pumps also provide heating power.
- In many situations, heat pumps can save energy costs and are much cheaper to operate than both a central air conditioner unit and furnace.
- Heat pumps also don’t burn any fossil fuel, making them energy efficient and environmentally safe.
For more advice on AC repairs, you can look at our guide to replacing a condenser on your air conditioner. But, if it’s time to replace your system, efficient heat pumps provide the best utility and can have an efficiency rating of up to 20 SEER. You might also want to learn what does filter reset mean on an air conditioner and what is a mini-split A/C unit.
When to Replace Heat Pump With Air Conditioner
The fundamental difference between these two units is that a central AC provides cold air by removing hot air from inside, circulating it through a cooling process, and pumping it back into the room. On the other hand, a heat pump does the exact same thing as an AC unit to cool but has additional parts to work in reverse, providing warm air. Heat pump equipment is the most efficient form of heating and cooling in moderate climates, as it is able to maximize efficiency levels by using electrical energy to transfer heat rather than create it.
While the heat pump cools the same way as an AC, it can take air from outside, transfer it through a heating process, and pump it into the house. To learn more, you can read our comparison of a heat pump vs AC. You may also be interested in learning the differences between an electric and gas AC.
If the cost of natural gas is high in your area, it may be a good idea to calculate the cost to see if a heat pump would be worthwhile.
So which one is right for you? Below, we’ll help you understand how to think about these two options when it comes time to make the big decision. And for those who use window units, we have an article that shows you how to change the power cord on a window AC unit.
Measuring the Expense
In many cases, but not all, heat pumps are more economical. However, heat pump efficiency depends on the climate in which you live. If you live in an area that requires both long seasons of summer heat and mild winters, then a heat pump is likely to be a great solution. However, be aware that the initial investment is expensive. It’s usually much more than the average cost of other investments.
Homes that get a significant amount of snowfall or cold weather should wait to consult an HVAC expert before purchasing a heat pump.
However, if you live in an area that only has a hot climate or just experiences mildly cold weather. Then, it may be better to stick with a central AC unit. It’ll be better than traditional air conditioners in providing a cool and comfortable atmosphere. You can also upgrade to a central cooling system if you already have an existing traditional air conditioning setup.
Extreme Cold Temperatures
One main issue with heat pumps is that they are less effective in a colder climate. So for those who live in areas of severe winter weather that stay consistently under 25 degrees, a heat pump won’t be the best solution. In such cases, using a gas or electric furnace yields the best results.
STAT: The EPA says that air-source heat pumps can save owners up to 50% on heating costs compared to an electric furnace or baseboard heater. (source)
How much does a new heat pump cost to install?
The unit itself cost’s around $4,000-$8,000, depending on the size and power of the unit. But the entire installation cost averages $10,000-$20,000.
How much money do heat pumps save?
On average, depending on the climate, heat pumps can save owners anywhere from 20-70% on annual heating and cooling expenses.
What does a heat pump do to save energy?
The energy-saving principle is that a heat pump doesn’t generate any heat but instead moves the existing heat around within the air it’s circulating.