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Cost Comparison: Heat Pump Vs. AC Unit

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The typical home will use a furnace for heat and an air-conditioning unit for cooling. The drawback of this system is that, you have to purchase two separate pieces of equipment, which means you increase your installation costs and the need for space to house your equipment. In some cases, you can simplify life by purchasing one piece of equipment, a heat pump.

How Do Heat Pumps and Air Conditioners Compare?

A heat pump may look similar to an AC unit in that you will have a set of coils outside your home and a set of coils located inside your home in your mechanical room, but an air conditioner will only cool your home. It accomplishes this by using the inside coils to extract heat from your home and the outside coils to push heat into the outside air, but what if you reversed the function of the coils? You could then use the outside coils to absorb heat from the outside air and use the coils inside your house to push the heat into your home. While a heat pump may look like an AC unit, it is one piece of equipment that you can use to keep your home comfortable year round. 

Which Is More Expensive?

The cost of an AC unit will depend on several factors, including the size of your home and the efficiency rating of the model you buy. Still, you can expect to pay between $3,000 to $10,000 for a new AC unit. A heat pump will cost around $6,000. "I'm better off with an AC unit," you might say. Not so fast. Remember that if you buy an AC unit, you still have to buy a furnace, which can cost between $2,500-$14,000. You can eliminate this cost with a heat pump, so the heat pump is the cheaper option in the end. 

Is a Heat Pump Right for Every Climate?

Before you jump on the heat pump wagon, you need to consider the climate in your area. Heat pumps lose efficiency as temperatures approach freezing, so if they are best suited for areas that have mild winters. 

Final Analysis

If you are going to buy an AC unit, and you have an occasional need to heat your home, buy a heat pump. In that air-source heat pumps are up to 250% efficient and the most efficient furnaces are only 97% efficient, you will save money by using the heat pump. For more information on what's the best option for your home, contact a local air conditioning installation company (such as American Independent Heating & Air Conditioning).