If your air conditioner is currently on its last leg, you might be preparing for an upgrade. However, finding the perfect replacement isn’t always as easy as some homeowners think. There are many excellent options on the market — and sorting through them all can be enough to make anyone dizzy.

Are you considering a central air conditioner or heat pump? Both can be used to cool your home and have various benefits — but which one is right for you? Below, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of a central AC unit vs. heat pump so that you can make a confident, well-informed decision.

The Difference Between a Heat Pump and Central AC

There are a few similarities between heat pumps and central air conditioning units. Both cooling systems have an indoor unit (air handler) and an outdoor unit (compressor). Also, believe it or not, neither of these systems creates cold air. Instead, they work by removing heat.

So, how do these HVAC systems differ from each other? When it comes down to it, heat pump systems can be used to heat and cool a home while central air conditioners have a furnace or heat strip to provide heat. This can be a big deal — especially if you’re planning to replace your AC and heating system at the same time.

Now that you know what sets these two systems apart, it’s time to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a central AC unit vs. heat pump in more detail. There are many more factors you should consider before making a replacement decision.

Central Air Conditioners

Central air conditioning systems are a highly popular choice among homeowners and have a fairly straightforward cooling process. The air inside your home is sucked into the AC via ducts, sent to the outside unit where it’s stripped of its heat. Once the cooling process is complete, the cooled air will be sent back out into your home. These AC units have many important parts — such as an evaporator coil, condensate drain line, and refrigerant — that help remove the heat from the air and keep your home comfortable.

If you’re new to central air conditioners, you might be wondering what you can expect from installing one of these systems. There are many benefits to these units, but there are also a few potential drawbacks to keep in mind.

Pros

Many people rave about their central air conditioners — and for good reason. These AC systems provide dependable, consistent cooling throughout your home. As a result, you won’t have to worry about one room having warm spots while another is cold.

Cons

If you’re stuck choosing between a central air conditioner or heat pump, it’s important to know what you can expect from these systems. This includes the downsides.

It’s also worth mentioning that these AC units can have higher upfront costs. Fortunately, though, there are many energy-efficient options on the market that can help you save money on your monthly energy bills. Many homeowners see these higher installation costs as a worthy investment.

Heat Pumps

If you’re considering installing an air conditioner or heat pump, it’s crucial to know how each system works. Now that we’ve discussed central ACs, it’s time to move on to the next option. Essentially, heat pumps work as do air conditioners for cooling. The air inside your home is sucked into the AC via ducts, sent to the outside unit where it’s stripped of its heat. Once the cooling process is complete, the cooled air will be sent back out into your home for you to enjoy.

Of course, these systems can also be used to heat the air. Heat pumps have a reversing valve that allows the unit to switch from cooling to heating mode. For extreme cold temperatures an emergency heating strip is used. Although this can be more costly when in use, our area seldom has many days of extremely cold weather. 

There are various types of heat pumps to choose from, but the most common is the air source heat pumps that pull heat from the air.

Pros

Along with being incredibly versatile, heat pumps are known for being highly energy efficient. What does this mean for you? All-in-all, you may save energy and lower your utility bills in the process. When choosing between a central air conditioner or heat pump, though, it’s important to note that every make and model is different. You can potentially find a central air conditioner that’s just as energy efficient as a heat pump — if not even more so.

If you’re considering a heat pump installation in New Orleans, LA, you might also be happy to hear that they tend to require less maintenance than central ACs.

Cons

When discussing the merits of a central AC unit vs. heat pump, you should also keep your region’s climate in mind. Heat pumps are well-suited for milder climates and often struggle to provide ample warmth when temperatures drop below freezing. Luckily, that’s something we seldom have to worry about here in New Orleans and the surrounding areas.

Need HVAC Services? Contact the Experts

Now that you know the pros and cons of a central AC unit vs. heat pump, you can find a solution that benefits you and your family. Whether you need help heating your home during the winter or keeping cool during the summer, Keefe’s is here to assist you. We’re proud to offer Lennox heating and cooling options to our customers. Rest assured that our experienced Comfort Consultants can help you find a central air conditioner or heat pump that fits your needs. Contact our Experts for more information about our services!

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