It’s a key question if you’re looking to get a new air conditioning system: what’s the difference between a heat pump and central air system? Both rely on the same basic technology, but they deploy it in different ways, which can have a big effect on your home. We’re all used to central air conditioning systems, but does heat pump in Land O Lakes, Florida make sense? 

Heat pumps are a category of HVAC units that offer both cooling and heating. In short, heat pumps offer all the cooling of an air conditioner, with decent heating ability in the winter. This makes heat pumps a good fit for homes located in the southern half of the United States where winters can be cold but rarely freezing.

How does central AC work?

Central air conditioning systems use a closed loop system that circulates refrigerant to cool the air. The refrigerant travels through a compressor valve that subjects it to a great deal of heat and pressure, then into a compressor coil that bleeds off the heat into the outside air. This reverts the refrigerant to a liquid state, though it’s still under a lot of pressure. It then moves through an expansion valve and into a series of evaporator coils. As it evaporates, it pulls heat from the surrounding air to cool it. The cool air is then blown with a fan through a system of ducts that distribute it throughout your house.

How does a heat pump work?

These systems work by moving warmed or cooled air from one place to another, depending on the season.

When it’s hot outside, the heat pump removes warm air from the inside of the house and places it outside, like an air conditioner. In this “cooling mode,” the outdoor coil serves as an evaporator and the indoor cool works as a condenser.

In contrast, when it’s cold outside, the heat pump extracts any heat from the outside air and circulates it inside the home. While in “heating mode,” the outdoor coil serves as a condenser and the indoor coil serves as an evaporator—a flip from where things stood in the summer.

What advantage does a heat pump have over traditional HVAC systems?

One of the most significant benefits of heat pumps as compared to standard HVAC systems is obviously the reduced cost of only needing to purchase one system. There is no need to install a separate furnace or a separate air conditioner for your home: just one, unified system.

Heat pumps are also much more energy-efficient systems than traditional HVAC units. So, apart from saving money on upfront costs, you will also benefit in terms of reduced energy bills.

So, what’s the catch? Heat pumps are ideal for moderate climates. They are not effective in regions that face extreme temperatures. This makes them a good fit for Florida, where we have hot summers and mild winters.

Knowing the difference between a heat pump and a central air system will help you determine the right kind of unit for your home. The experts at Leonard’s Air can help with the decision and installation. Whichever system you want, our trained staff will set you up right. Give us a call today!

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