Heat Pump or Central Air Conditioner – What’s Right for You?
The systems are similar in several ways: outdoor units power both, and both use energy to transfer heat from one place to another. The difference is that air conditioners only cool, while heat pumps can cool or heat your home – with some limitations, as we’ll soon see.
Heat pump advantages
The key advantage for a heat pump is that you can use it the whole year, since it can provide efficient cooling and heating (a heat pump is typically 3-4 times more efficient than an electric heater, for example).
Heat pumps operate with some limitations, though: below freezing, a heat pump becomes less effective and less economical to operate. The good news is if you already have a an efficient home heating system, a heat pump can be integrated with it to give you significantly better efficiency down to about 32 degrees.
In some homes, the seasonal cost savings from running a heat pump as a heater can offset the cost of running separate systems for the year – meaning you get your air conditioning free.
Central air advantages
They key advantage for central air conditioners is that they only have only one job – and today’s models do it extremely well, and at a lower up-front cost than heat pumps.
Modern, high efficiency central units are cost effective, quiet, and reliable – and a big upgrade from older units. If your A/C system is more than 10 years old, it’s probably time to start thinking about an upgrade – technology has come a long way in a decade.
The efficiency of both heat pumps and central A/C units depends greatly on how well your system was installed, how well it’s maintained, how well-matched it is with the cooling load of your home, and how well sealed your ducts are. Contact us to learn more.
Ready for an A/C or Heat Pump upgrade for your home? Contact Carroll today for a FREE Estimate!