Heat Pump vs AC. Who Is The Winner?

While the Savannah home market is growing towards heat pump vs air conditioner systems. Which one is better for your home? In our area, there are a few factors that will help you decide which is best for your home. We will discuss what heat pumps are, how heat pumps work, what an air conditioner is, and which HVAC system will suit your home best.

What is the same between a Heat Pump vs Air Conditioning Systems?

Your home is cooled the same with an air conditioner vs heat pump. The pros to the cooling system for both of these units is that they can have a SEER rating well above 20 SEER. This means that both types of systems the potential for massive energy savings when dealing with the electric utility company.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency does have many factors that come into play, such as the installation technicians being properly trained on the correct methods of your air conditioner or heat pump installation. A poorly installed system with a factory SEER rating of 20 can actually have a SEER rating of 10 if the technicians do not follow all of the procedures pertaining to refrigerant and welding practices. 

We have factory-trained technicians and if you would like more information about our team, click here!


Another similarity between heat pumps and air conditioners is the fact that they both use Refrigerant 410a as of the time of typing this article. The refrigeration cycle of both air conditioners and heat pumps are very similar during the cooling mode, and this is the most common use of the systems here in Savannah GA.

What is a Heat Pump?

How does a heat pump work

In the simplest of terms, a heat pump is an air conditioner that has the ability to reverse the refrigeration cycle so that it pulls heat from the outdoor air and uses that heat to heat your home. The air source heat pump is the most common heat pump you will see in the United States. 

These are units that have a fan that collects the heat energy from the outside air to heat up the coils and in turn, heat the air in your home. 

You may also see or hear of a Geothermal heat pump or a water source heat pump, and these heat pumps use groundwater to help heat and cool the outdoor coil. These are great to use in cooler climates to heat your home all winter consistently.

Air Source Heat Pump
Air Source Heat Pump
Water Source Heat Pump
Water Source Heat Pump
Ground Source Heat Pump
Ground Source Heat Pump

What is the Energy Efficiency of a Heat Pump?

Compared to a furnace, a heat pump is much more efficient due to the higher energy costs of fossil fuels such as propane and natural gas. In the cooling mode, the difference between an air conditioner vs heat pump efficiency is minimal. We have the ability to provide you with heat pump systems with a SEER of 21 for a traditional HVAC system, and over 36 SEER in ductless or mini-split heat pump systems.

Cons of a Heat Pump?

A heat pump extracts its heat energy from the outside of your home to heat the inside of your home, and this works great for the Savannah GA heating climate most of the time. The downside related to this the fact that your home’s heat pump system can only pull heat from the outside air until the outdoor ambient temperature reaches approximately 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

 In reality, the outdoor unit, oftentimes called the condenser unit, begins to drastically lose efficiency once the outdoor temperature dips below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This also assumes the system is clean, properly maintained, and is operating as designed by the manufacturer.

Can it be too cold for a Heat Pump?

Yes, your home’s heat pump system does have a backup heating system to support the outdoor coil if it gets too cold outside. This supplementary heat can, however, be extremely inefficient when it comes to energy consumption resulting in higher than normal energy bills.

A popular con when it comes to the heat pump debate is the temperatures of the air coming from the air handler coil during the winter months are often much cooler than the air coming from furnace units. 

We find the difference between a heat pump vs ac furnace is that we commonly see temperatures for a heat pump air handler coil to be around 85 to 95-degree air while a furnace can produce temperatures well above 130 degrees during the winter months

What is an Air Conditioner?

An air conditioner is similar to heat pump HVAC systems during the cooling period, but during the heating mode, an air conditioning system can not produce heat. This means that the heat source for an ac unit is typically a gas furnace. A gas furnace is great for home heating due to the high air temperatures that come from a gas furnace.

Homeowners often enjoy the heating air system that is put off by a furnace vs a heat pump coil temperatures.

Cons of an Air Conditioning Unit?

The cooling process of an air conditioner unit in your home can be similar to heat pumps when it comes to cooling energy efficiency. So, with the rising prices of fossil fuels such as natural gas, clients are leaning to the more energy efficiency of central air & heating system of air source heat pumps. 

Heating systems, in general, that are combined with air conditioners are far less efficient when it comes to central air conditioning than the heat pump air systems.

The Pros Choice of Heating and Cooling

The Pros Choice of Heating and Cooling

As we weigh in many outside sources such as the effect fossil fuel has on climate change, and since both ac units use the same refrigerant for central air conditioner cooling, and as a technician that has to work on your home air conditioners, in the argument of air conditioner vs heat pumps, we lean more towards heat pumps.

 The central air conditioners cooling portion of both are so similar that most homeowners would call them the same; the heating source is the main deciding factor of our winner being heat pumps by a landslide.

Final Thoughts

The decision on which one is best for you depends on your personal situation and differs from one homeowner to the next. What works for your neighbor may not work for you. Luckily, Service Emperor is here to help you make the right decision. Our highly qualified technicians are only a phone call away

We will happily discuss the pros and cons of each heating and cooling system in detail so you can make the right decision once you are armed with all the facts. We can customize a solution that fits your needs and budget.

So if you’re ready to pull the trigger and make the decision on updating your HVAC system, give us a call! We’re here to provide you with all of the equipment and installation services for your new air conditioner or heat pump. We want it to be perfect, so we’ll make sure that everything is matched up properly!

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Tersh Blissett

CEO of Service Emperor and part-time HVAC Guru

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