Heat Pump vs Air Conditioner: A Cooling Battle!

Heat Pump vs Air Conditioner | Which Way to Choose?Carpet vs hardwood floors? Paint vs wallpaper? Tile vs laminate? Heat pump vs air conditioner? The number of decisions you have to make for your home seems to be endless. And when these decisions are linked to large investments, it can become a battle. To get started in this face-off, let’s compare heat pumps and air conditioners.

The Difference Between Heat Pumps vs Air Conditioners

A heat pump operate as both a heating and cooling systems. When it’s in the cooling mode (in the summer), it takes heat from the internal air of the home and pumps it to the outdoors. To produce heat, it collects it from air, water, or the ground outside and move it inside. Both systems are powered by outdoor units and use the science of thermal energy to transfer heat in the air from one place to another.

An air conditioner, much like your refrigerator, absorbs the heat from air that passes over the coil, and the resulting cool air is moved into your ducts and through the home. The collected heat is then expelled through an exhaust process.

When the heat pump is in the cooling mode, there is no functional difference between a heat pump and an air conditioner. They pull heat from inside the home and dumps it outside, giving you cooler air inside your home. Yet, unlike the AC, a heat pump can act in reverse when summer is over and take heat from the outside of the home and move warm air inside the home.

Although that is definitely a convenient feature, one of the main reasons many people choose to install an air conditioner over a heat pump is that selecting the right size heat pump can be a challenge (though not impossible). It’s generally easier to select the right size furnace for heating and the right size AC for cooling since they are separate and independently of one another.


Both heat pumps in cooling mode and air conditioners use the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER), which tells how efficiently they use electricity.

Heat pumps also are rated according to the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF); this refers to the power used when the unit is in heating mode (winter). Because a heat pump’s coils are located outside, they can become ice collectors- so they use burners to melt the ice and push warm air into the house.

So, Which One Is Right To Cool My Home?

When it comes to investing in home comfort, it’s important to review the pros and cons of each heating and cooling system. If you’re still confused which system is best for your home, call Point Bay Fuel to speak with a professional cooling expert to help you choose. Give us a call today at 732-349-5059 (or fill out a contact form on our website) for a free, convenient estimate, and one of our trained equipment professionals will set up an appointment to come out to meet with you/your family to discuss your options.