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Heat Pump or Central AC: Exploring Your Air Conditioning Options

vent-low-on-wallWhen it comes time to install a new air conditioner, it can be hard to determine what the right choice is. After all, there are so many options on the market today. If you’ve always had a traditional central air conditioner, an easy choice could be to just stick with this model and make a slight upgrade to get a newer one. This might end up being the perfect option for you, but it’s certainly not the only option.

There is, after all, the heat pump! Heat pump systems are set up similarly to traditional central air conditioners. In fact, just like central AC systems, in the summertime, they work by drawing heat out of your home and putting it through a refrigerant process in order to return chilled air back into your home.

Read on to learn why this matters, and what benefits there could be to choosing a heat pump versus a central air conditioner.

What Is a Heat Pump?

Technically, a central air conditioner is a type of heat pump system—it pumps heat out of the home and releases that heat outside. However, when your HVAC professional uses the term heat pump, what they mean is a particular type of system that works as both an air conditioner and a heating system.

You can think of a heat pump system as an air conditioner that has the ability to switch the direction it operates. There is a component inside of it called a reversing valve, and with this component, the heat pump can alter the flow of refrigerant so that the system either absorbs heat from inside your home to release it outside (cooling mode) or vice versa (heating mode). It functions the same way in whatever mode it’s in, and all it takes to change from one to the other is adjusting the thermostat.

What Makes a Heat Pump a Good Choice?

Having a heating and cooling system all in one is an appealing choice for many homeowners. Not only does this mean you have all your seasonal comfort needs managed in a single unit, but you also have energy savings in heating mode. A heat pump is even more efficient than an electric furnace because instead of generating heat, it transfers heat, which uses less energy.

If you need to replace your air conditioner and your heating system isn’t very far behind, it may be a good idea to go with a heat pump system.

Can a Heat Pump Ever Be the Wrong Choice?

Sure! There are situations where a heat pump might not be the best choice for your specific home and needs. For instance, if you find yourself not using the heat pump as an air conditioner, or if it’s not powerful enough to manage your heating needs, then it’s not going to be as cost-effective as a standalone air conditioner or heater.

Heat pumps can also struggle in extremely cold temperatures, which we do get our share of. For this, there is another option called the dual fuel system, which uses a backup gas furnace to conserve more energy. We’re happy to talk to you about this option and more when you call our team!

For expert heat pump service in Minnetonka, MN, look no further than Residential Heating and Air Conditioning. Contact us today! 

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