The Difference Between Heat Pump and A/C Systems

The Difference Between Heat Pump and A/C Systems

When you hear the terms “heat pump” and “air conditioner,” it seems clear the function that each performs. Well, yes and no. Heat pumps and air conditioners have their similarities, mostly in the way they use the air inside a domicile to provide heating or cooling. But at the root, they work in dissimilar ways and for different purposes. Here’s the difference between heat pump and A/C systems and how they provide the pleasant temperatures you require.

Heat Pump Possibilities

Heat pumps do what they sound like they do. That is, they pump heat. More specifically, they pump air inside and outside the house. When the temperatures rise, they pump hot air outside to cool down the house. When they drop, the process reverses, and a valve activates to bring warm outside air into the home. Of course, this only works for so long, and when it gets too frigid outside, the heat pump turns on an auxiliary heat provider and brings warmed air inside. Several heat pumps are available. The standard model involves the above process of bringing in or warming up outside air. Other types of heat pumps are geothermal, meaning they gather heat underground. There are also water-sourced pumps that derive their heat from a lake or similar body of water. As part of a heat pump system, a mini split inverter can monitor the heat levels and keep them consistent.

Air Conditioning Advantages

The air conditioning process is a bit more involved. HVAC systems using air conditioning also bring warm air into a home, but not before cooling it down by passing it through a device that uses freon or a similar refrigerant. They remove the heat from the air, conditioning it, and then blow it through a vent, a system of ducts, or similar conduits throughout the house. The system recirculates that air. Air conditioning can come from a large central HVAC system, window units, or mini split systems.

Different Jobs, Similar Results

So what’s the difference between heat pump and A/C systems? Obviously, a heat pump keeps you warm while an AC unit cools you down. But here’s the kicker: a heat pump can keep you cool as well. It draws heat out of your home and passes it through the machine, exposing it to a coolant. This reduces the temperature of the air and pushes it into your house. Things cool down considerably—perhaps not as cold as an air conditioner can make it, but by a considerable amount.

If you have other questions about heat pumps, air conditioning units, mini splits, and more, contact us today for a consultation!