Heat Pumps VS. Air Conditioners

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When residents from Robbinsdale and Shakopee evaluate options for their home’s cooling system, there are typically two contenders. The choices are a traditional air conditioner and a heat pump. But bringing the less well-known heat pump into a discussion about home cooling seems to raise more questions than it answers. So the pros at Blue Ox Heating And Cooling are providing a quick comparison to help homeowners make a wise choice.


Before delving into the operation of a heat pump, it is essential to understand how a traditional air conditioner works to cool your home. Many consumers would describe the function of an AC system as one that creates cool air somehow using a closed-loop of refrigerant. While it uses refrigerant in a closed-loop, the AC function is actually to pull the warmed air from inside your home and remove the heat. Then the remaining cooler air is recirculated back into your home. The function of a heat pump is very much the same. It also removes the heat from the air inside your home and recirculates the cooler air back indoors. So, in short, both of these devices work in a very similar manner to remove heat from your home.


When fall rolls around, we are done with air conditioners for the year and turn to a furnace or other heating system for winter warmth. However, if you have a heat pump, you can use the same device to warm your house in the winter. This dual function is possible thanks to a reversing valve that lets the heat pump absorb heat from the outside air and add it to the air that is recirculating in your home. So in the winter, the heat pump delivers warmed air to your house. No air conditioner is going to heat your home in the winter. So many consumers choose to purchase a single heat pump to replace their furnace and air conditioner.


You might be thinking that a heat pump is the perfect piece of HVAC equipment. And in some parts of the country, that is true. However, heat pumps face some challenges in climates that endure brutal cold. When the outdoor temperature drops below the freezing point, a heat pump works incredibly hard to draw any heat from the icy air. A heat pump would rely on auxiliary heat from an electric heater to keep you warm inside your home during the coldest months of the year. And as you know, electric heat can be very costly.


There are pros and cons to all heating and cooling equipment. For example, if you typically heat your home with a wood-burning stove, then a heat pump could be a viable option for three-season use. To ensure you are getting the best heating and cooling equipment for your home, call 952-208-4570 to set up a visit from the experts at Blue Ox Heating And Cooling for an evaluation of your home and price quote for your HVAC system.