4 Differences Between Heat Pumps and ACs in West Boca, FL

When selecting an HVAC system, most homeowners in West Boca, FL, opt for an air conditioning system. However, there are other choices, including heat pumps. It helps to know the differences between an AC and a heat pump, which we explain here.

1. Heating and Cooling

Air conditioners are only capable of cooling your home, which is why they are suitable for many South Florida homes. Our area has warm temperatures and high humidity for most of the year, making air conditioners practically a necessity for many homeowners.

However, at certain times of the year, it can get chilly here. You can use a heat pump for both cooling and heating because it can reverse the direction of the refrigerant. They can quickly switch from heating to cooling mode.

Both heat pumps and air conditioners have an indoor air handler that pulls air into the system, where it flows over the evaporator coil. In cooling mode, the refrigerant in the coil absorbs heat before cycling to the outdoor unit. The outdoor unit compresses the refrigerant to expel the heat.

For heating, a heat pump has a reversing valve that lets the refrigerant flow the opposite way. This process allows it to collect heat from the outside air and deliver it indoors.

2. Cost Efficiency

Heat pumps are costlier up-front than air conditioners mainly because they both heat and cool. However, since an air conditioner does not generate heat, you may need some source of heat, such as a furnace

Installation costs are also usually less for a heat pump compared to installing both an AC and a furnace. When it comes to the cost of operation, you can check the SEER rating of both systems, which tells you how much energy it will use while in cooling mode. For heating, a heat pump has much greater energy efficiency than a furnace because it transfers heat rather than generating it.

3. Durability

Air conditioners usually last 15 to 20 years, compared to 10 to 15 years for heat pumps. ACs have a longer lifespan because, unlike heat pumps, they don’t run all year round.

Note that the durability of the systems depends on various factors, including the quality of their components and how you maintain them. Correct installation also plays a crucial role in the durability and longevity of the system, so be sure to have a professional perform this task for you.

4. Maintenance Requirements

Both your air conditioner and your heat pump should have annual service in the spring from a professional like HI-VAC Air Conditioning Service. Because the heat pump runs throughout the year, it’s best to have an additional service in the fall. If you have both an AC and a furnace, the furnace should receive a tune-up in the fall.

It’s essential to invest in professional maintenance for both a heat pump and an air conditioner, as they can provide services such as checking airflow, refrigerant charge, indoor coil, etc. A service visit may also include lubricating motors and inspecting thermostat sensors and controls.

Additionally, for both these types of systems, there’s maintenance you should perform throughout the year. Remove debris, such as twigs and leaves, from around the outdoor unit. It also helps check that the gutters are not draining onto the slab the unit sits on, especially before the wet season.

You should also replace the air filter regularly, at least every three months. If you have pets or if household members have allergies or other health issues, you may want to check the filter every four to six weeks.

Whether you choose an air conditioner or a heat pump, we have experts who can help as you make your decision. Contact HI-VAC Air Conditioning Service to have us install your new HVAC system.

Image provided by iStock

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