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Which Is Better, A Heat Pump Or An Air Conditioner?

Which Is Better, A Heat Pump Or An Air Conditioner?

For individuals who live in a moderate or diverse environment, the question of whether to choose heat pumps or air conditioners is one that merits discussion. One factor to take into account is the price, which can have you wondering what to do next.

Although the price of installation is higher, heat pump systems are only around 5% more expensive than central air conditioners. In contrast to a traditional air conditioner, heat pumps are also operational all year round. Wear and tear has the potential to increase service contract costs and void warranties.

Continue reading to learn more about the many types of air conditioners and heat pumps that are available, as well as the benefits of each. Another option is to compare the costs of numerous HVAC systems to see which best meets your cooling or heating requirements!

Air Conditioner Vs. Heat Pump: Which Costs More?

An indoor space is normally heated by a heat pump by bringing thermal energy from the outside into the building via the refrigeration cycle.

Similar to a heat pump, an air conditioner moves heat from one location to another. But an air conditioner puts the heat from the air outdoors.

Many heat pumps can also function in the other direction, drawing heat from an interior space and dispersing it into the atmosphere to cool.

What Should I Choose Between The Two?

Which Is Better, A Heat Pump Or An Air Conditioner?

It’s crucial to decide exactly what you want to achieve with each system before choosing between a heat pump and an air conditioner.

Hold off on making a rushed purchase of a heat pump right immediately if saving money on heating your home is your first concern.

Consider enhancing your insulation rather than concentrating on improving the performance of your heating system.

Consider the following additional variables when choosing between a heat pump and a central air conditioning system:

The Price

One of the most important factors to take into account when deciding between a heat pump and an air conditioner is, of course, your budget.

The cost of HVAC systems is a major expense for many households. So that you know what to expect, let’s compare the price of an air conditioner to that of a heat pump.

Usually, heat pumps cost more than air conditioners. Keep in mind that a heat pump can serve as a “all-in-one” system in certain circumstances when comparing the price of a heat pump with an air conditioner.

Therefore, in the appropriate environment, a heat pump can help homeowners avoid the costs associated with building a furnace and air conditioner.

These gadgets are powered by electricity, which is usually more expensive than gas. Heat pumps use more electricity when the outside temperature is below 40 degrees. The price of a heat pump will increase in an unsuitable climate.

In addition, heat pumps have a shorter lifespan than furnaces and need regular maintenance to function properly. As a result, using one will cost more money overall.


Which Is Better, A Heat Pump Or An Air Conditioner?

The price of an air conditioner might vary from $3,810 to $7,480. The price is influenced by the sort, size, and energy efficiency rating.

Don’t forget to take installation costs into account. The price could range from $2,550 to $3,600 depending on the size of the unit, where you want to put it, and how much ductwork you need. A model that consumes less energy can result in long-term savings.

The kind and size of a heat pump, its energy efficiency ratings, where it is placed, and how much ductwork is needed all affect the cost of the device as well as installation.

When installed by a geothermal professional, house heat pumps can cost as little as $3,875 or as much as $22,000.


In order to get a heating system ready for the winter, maintenance is needed in the fall. Additionally, in order to prepare for the summer, an AC needs maintenance in the spring.

Over a large portion of the United States, air conditioners are often on during the hot summer months but off during the chilly winter months.

A heat pump can be used continuously all year long in the interim. However, it will need to be maintained more frequently due to the large increase in wear and tear.

Filters will probably need to be replaced more frequently. Furthermore, it’s feasible that the added cost of filters alone would make whatever savings you anticipate from your heat pump insignificant.

The cost of labor varies from $80 to $160 per hour, while a normal service call for a heat pump is from $50 to $180. Preventative maintenance costs between $159 and $615 per unit annually, plus $25 for parts.

Costs for basic AC maintenance could range from $75 to $200. Long-term maintenance contracts are priced between $150 and $500.

Remember that HVAC professionals bill an hourly fee of $50 to $150 for repairs that aren’t included in their regular scope of work.

The best way to determine exact costs and obtain assistance choosing the right size heat pump for your home or place of business is to consult a local HVAC expert.


The cost of replacing a heat pump might be anything between $4,167 and $7,417. This range comprises the price of the necessary supplies, labor, and any other charges that could be necessary.

In contrast, depending on the model, replacing an air conditioner in a domestic environment might cost between $5,000 and $10,000. The pricing includes the cost of labor as well as any necessary permit fees.

This range includes AC systems with variable rotational speeds as well as a wide range of system sizes and levels of functionality.

What Are The Different Air Conditioner Types?

Which Is Better, A Heat Pump Or An Air Conditioner?

Portable air conditioners, split-type air conditioners, window air conditioners, and central air conditioners are all available. There are only a few different kinds of air conditioners available.

Condenser, evaporator, and compressor are all components of a central air conditioning unit. Typically, it is on the roof. The supply and return ducts, which are mounted on the walls of a house or business, are connected to the unit. On the other hand, a split-type air conditioner uses ductwork to deliver air and has separate outdoor and indoor units.

Another option is a mini-split AC, which has a smaller footprint and doesn’t require ductwork to provide air. Where the cold air is distributed is through the thin indoor unit, which is mounted on the wall.

Another choice is a wall AC unit, which combines all the elements into a single container that you can hang on a wall or window. One room at a time can be effectively cooled off by this air conditioner.

It is feasible to contrast a portable air conditioner with a window-mounted air conditioner. However, moving it from one room to another is rather simple.

What Kinds Of Heat Pumps Are There?

Which Is Better, A Heat Pump Or An Air Conditioner?

The two most common device types in the heat pump business are air source heat pumps and geothermal heat pumps.

A heat pump that gets its energy from the air around it is known as an air-source heat pump. A geothermal heat pump, in contrast, draws heat from the earth.

Depending on the design, the two main categories for heat pumps are split and packed.

A packaged unit houses each component of its system in a separate cabinet. This is significantly different from a split-type heat pump, which has two independent, unique exterior and indoor components.

A packed unit might additionally have a gas furnace or electric heating coils in addition to the heat pump. These aid the heat pump’s capacity to provide warm air within the building during cold weather.


A heat pump that is utilized for both heating and cooling may have a shorter lifespan than an air conditioner. An all-year-round heat pump is expected to last 15 years, according to HVAC installers. In the US, the average heat pump needs about 8 years to pay for itself.

Environmental And Energy Efficiency

Since heat pump HVAC systems use less energy than central air conditioners, the federal government, your state, or your local utility provider may offer you a tax credit or refund.

When comparing heat pumps and air conditioners, it’s important to take the environmental friendliness of each product into account.

Contrary to popular opinion, natural gas used in residential settings doesn’t pose a significant threat to the environment.

A furnace powered by natural gas is more environmentally beneficial than a heat pump driven by electricity up until we have access to more environmentally friendly ways to create energy on a bigger scale.


How Many Times An Hour Does A Heat Pump Start?

Everything depends on the cooling capacity of the appliance, the room’s temperature, and the relative humidity. An appropriate shutdown should last between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on the aforementioned factors.

2 to 3 cycles per hour is the suggested maximum. Additionally, avoid continuously operating your HVAC system.

What Setting For My Heat Pump Should I Use Throughout The Winter?

It’s preferable to maintain the heat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the fall and winter. A heat pump set to 68 degrees Fahrenheit will keep the rooms cozy when everyone is home.

In Conclusion

Despite their similarities, air conditioners and heat pumps have a few fundamental differences. Your home could be heated by a heat pump in addition to cooling it.

Heat pumps, however, are only suitable for temperate climates with moderate heating needs. Buy a separate heating and cooling system if the temperature in your area routinely falls below 30 degrees.

Which Is Better, A Heat Pump Or An Air Conditioner?

What do you think?

Written by HVAC Contributor

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