Heat Pumps vs. Air Conditioners – What’s the Difference?


Have you ever wondered what the difference between a heat pump and an air conditioner is? Well wonder no more! We’ve outlined some of the key differences between these two common systems below:

While both devices can be involved in cooling your home (as an air conditioner is essentially a type of heat pump), the main difference between a heat pump and an air conditioner is that some heat pumps can actually have a dual function – they can cool your house during warmer months and help heat it when it’s cold outside. This is more accurately known as a reversible heat pump.

An air conditioning system makes use of refrigerant fluid to remove the heat that is inside your house and expel it outside, thus cooling the house overall. It can only move this heat one way (outside), cooling the interior of your home.

A reversible heat pump, on the other hand, makes use of a device called a reversing valve, which gives it its dual function. This allows the unit to reverse the refrigerant’s flow, which in turn allows it to act as a heater when needed as well as a cooling system, so while there is no particular difference in function during the summer, having a heat pump does eliminate the need for further heating equipment during the winter, depending on your needs. Heat pumps can’t normally replace the job of traditional furnaces when the temperature gets very cold, but they can provide and efficient complement to them or act as a backup heating system.

For more information, contact the experts at DC Cheeks today. 770-888-8788.