Heat Pump Vs. AC - Which is better for my climate?

One size does not fit all when it comes to many things and that includes your heating and cooling equipment. Ensuring your home is comfortable is not an easy task when it comes to selecting the right equipment. So, which do you choose? A heat pump or an air conditioner? Which one will work better depends on the climate you live in.


How do Heat Pumps and Air Conditioners Work?

In the simplest terms, both heat pumps and air conditioners compress refrigerants to cause the refrigerant gas’ temperature to rise, it then flows through a condensing coil to be cooled to ambient temperature. As the gas passes through this coil it expands and its temperature drops quickly. A fan will pass air over this cooled coil to distribute the now conditioned air through the house.

Heat pumps are different from this only marginally. This is because they can reverse the above process too. Instead of cooling air, it can do the same process in reverse and produce heat. A heat pump will never produce its own heat; but instead, removes the ambient heat from the outdoor air.




Which is Better Suited to my Climate?

Air conditioners tend to be installed in climates where the summers are very hot and the winters are very cold. This includes places north of Virginia, Kansas, and the top end of California where temperatures can drop below freezing for extended periods. These are places where alternative heating, like a gas, forced-air furnace or other secondary heat sources would be managing temperatures in the winter.

Heat pumps are best suited to moderate climates where the temperature rarely dips below freezing temperatures. They are not as effective in colder temperatures. Basically, in cold temperatures and climates, there isn’t enough ambient heat in the air outside to increase the indoor temperature high enough to stay warm. It would cause the heat pump to be running near constantly without much effect. That is why heat pumps are best suited to areas like Georgia where temperatures rarely go below freezing and remain comfortable except for some parts of the summer.

Which of these units is right for you? A large factor in this decision is where you live. What kind of climate you experience. A Napoleon heating and cooling professional will be happy to help you select the right one.