You can use either a heat pump or a central air conditioning system to cool your home. In the past, most homes were equipped with a central air conditioning system, but heat pumps have become increasingly popular in recent years. Heat pumps aren’t the same as central air conditioning systems, however. They are two different types of heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems.
Central air conditioning systems and heat pumps have many of the same parts. They both have a pair of coils, a condenser and a blower. Heat pumps, however, have another part that’s not found in central air conditioning systems: a reversing valve.
The reversing valve is designed to change the direction in which refrigerant travels. Refrigerant moves between the two coils. In central air conditioning systems, refrigerant will always move in the same direction. In heat pumps, the reversing valve can change the direction of the refrigerant.
Cooling and Heating
Central air conditioning systems are designed exclusively to cool indoor spaces. Heat pumps, on the other hand, can cool or warm indoor spaces.
Heat pumps can cool indoor spaces by mimicking the mechanics of a central air conditioning system. They will absorb indoor heat using refrigerant, which they’ll transfer outdoors. Heat pumps can warm indoor spaces with the help of the reversing valve. As previously mentioned, the reversing valve will change the direction of the refrigerant. It allows heat pumps to absorb outdoor heat, which they’ll transfer indoors.
Because they can cool and warm indoor spaces, heat pumps require more maintenance than central air conditioning systems. Most HVAC technicians recommend an annual inspection for central air conditioning systems. If you have a heat pump, though, you may want to get it professionally inspected twice a year.
Heat pumps require more maintenance because they work year-round. You’ll probably use your heat pump during the spring and summer to cool your home, and you’ll use it during the fall and winter to warm your home.
You can expect to pay more for a heat pump than a central air conditioning system. Prices vary depending on the size, features and brand. But heat pumps usually cost more than central air conditioning systems.
Heat pumps may cost more, but they eliminate the need for a furnace. You won’t need a furnace if your home is equipped with a heat pump. You can use the heat pump to both cool and warm your home.