Some Austin homeowners wonder whether all heat pumps are also air conditioners, and what the difference is between a heat pump and a central A/C system. The difference is really not a big one, but our Austin cooling professionals will explain below.

The primary difference between heat pumps and air conditioners is that a heat pump can be used to both heat and cool your home, as it works in reverse to provide heat.

An air conditioner essentially removes the heat from inside your home and takes it outdoors. A heat pump can do both – take heat inside and send it out, or bring heat from the outside air indoors to provide heat in winter months.

A common belief among homeowners is that air conditioners add cool air to their homes, but the fact is it’s a matter of transferring heat energy. Your A/C system absorbs the heat in your home when it’s warm and discharges it outdoors. Heat and air systems have evaporator coils, but that’s a topic for another time. Think of how cold it is inside your refrigerator, but how hot the coils on the back get. This is because the heat from inside the refrigerator is dispersed to the coils. It’s basically the same principle.

Heat pumps work best in climates that don’t get extremely hot or cold during the summer or winter seasons. For instance, this type of heating and cooling system probably wouldn’t be super effective for heating a home in an area where lows drop below 32 degrees F, because there must be a backup or supplemental heating source which is usually substantially less efficient.

With various types of air conditioning systems available today, it’s hard to know which is best for your needs. At Schneider Mechanical we can help you determine what type of air conditioner you need, proper sizing for your home and more. Give our Austin HVAC experts a call today!