Heat pump vs. central air conditioner
In this age of high energy costs and decarbonization, choosing the right cooling system for our homes is crucial. The two main options are heat pump vs. central air conditioner.
Shopping for a new cooling system?
Heat pumps operate as both heating and cooling systems. In cooling mode, they take heat from the internal air of the home and pump it to the outdoors. To produce heat, they collect it from outside and move it inside.
A high-efficiency heat pump is more desirable in areas with extreme temperature highs and lows. In cold climates, heat pumps use internal burners to melt ice and push warm air into the house, which may elevate operating costs.
In 2023, many U.S. homeowners may be eligible for free or reduced-cost heat pumps as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.
Learn more about heat pumps:
Central air conditioners
Air conditioners manufacture cool air by evaporating refrigerant. There are coils both inside (for cold air) and outside (for warm air).
AC units contain a compressor to change refrigerant into hot, high-pressure gas that travels through the coils. As it does so, it loses its heat and becomes liquid;. The liquid, in turn, goes through a valve and evaporates into cold, low-pressure gas. When the gas enters the coils, it absorbs the indoor heat and lowers the temperature.
Learn more about central air conditioners:
- Best air conditioner brands
- Air conditioner installation
- Air conditioner costs
- Air conditioner resources
How to decide: Heat pump vs. central air conditioner
Heat pumps and central ACs both provide whole-home cooling. But depending on your unique situation, one may be better suited to your home.
|Heat pump||Central air conditioner|
|Cools your whole home||✅||✅|
|Heats your whole home||✅||❌|
|Eligible for Inflation Reduction Act rebates||✅||❌|
|Better for mild climates||✅||❌|
|Better for extreme climates||❌||✅|
One of the major advantages of a heat pump is that it heats and cools your home. So, while an air conditioner is more expensive than a heat pump, a heat pump is less expensive than buying an air conditioner and a furnace.
Need help choosing which system is right for you? Our certified HVAC technicians can help.
Connect with a heating and cooling expert.