‘Heating’ and ‘Florida’ might sound odd in the same sentence to someone not from the Sunshine State, but any Floridian can tell you that we still get drastic cold snaps that can leave our homes chilly and uncomfortable. On top of this, we tend not to invest in cold-weather clothing and other necessary equipment to withstand these cold snaps comfortably. As such, many of us may seek to invest in other ways of heating our homes.
The two main options you’ll find yourself facing are air conditioners with heating and heat pump systems. These systems will prove almost identical during warm summers, but differences between the two will become very visible during the Florida cold snaps. Here, we will compare and contrast the two, giving attention to which is more cost-effective and which one will heat your home quicker.
A/C with Heat: Explained
Air conditioners and heat pumps have no functional differences during the summer when they are in heat mode. Air conditioners take the air from the inside of the house (the warm air) and eject it outside. Typically, this is all air conditioners in Florida do, as people have little demand for heating in the sunshine state. These systems are typically not designed with heating in mind, and only do so with specially installed ‘heat strips.’ These allow the air conditioner to pump warm air instead of cold air.
Benefits of A/C with Heat
Cheaper Initial Costs
Heat pumps, unfortunately, are still quite expensive in today’s age. They are quite sophisticated, and as such can be expensive to purchase and install. Here, the heat pump can’t compete with the air conditioner, which has a significantly smaller first purchase and installation costs. On top of this, professionals who will work with air conditioners tend to be much more experienced with them, and as such the chances of running into issues with the systems is much smaller than what it would be with heat pump installation and maintenance.
Air conditioners are not as finicky as heat pumps. While a heat pump will often run into issues with reversing its cycle or with the voltage, it would be quite rare to run into any of these problems with an air conditioner. On top of that, a heat pump can often simply shut off at frigid temperatures – again, something an air conditioner will rarely do (unless it is suffering from a completely unrelated problem which will require maintenance). As such, when it comes to robustness, the air conditioner has the heat pump beaten.
Heat Pumps: Explained
Heat pumps work almost exactly the same way as air conditioners during warm summers. They take air from inside the home and move it outside, thereby cooling the house. However, a heat pump has a device inside it called a reversing valve. This means that the heat pump can swap the function of its inside and outside units extremely easily, unlike an air conditioner. This is one of the several advantages you might find a heat pump system would have over an air conditioner.
Benefits of Heat Pumps
Cheaper Running Costs
Once you switch an air conditioner from ‘cooling’ to ‘heating,’ the unit will start to incur costs of up to three times more than what a heat pump would do for the same setting. Heat pumps don’t really change their function in any great way, meaning that the costs of using a heat pump to warm your house will simply be lower. The price can be from as low as $50 to nearly $120 annually; depending on how often you use your heat pump system.
Heats the Home Faster
Heat pumps were designed with the intention of quickly heating a home. Therefore they do this job a lot faster than traditional air conditioning units. This is because while an air conditioner needs to go about actually creating heated air, a heat pump just uses hot air that it has built up. The difference can actually be significant enough for this to be an important factor in considering which you choose. Like with everything to do with your heating, always contact a professional contractor like the certified Trane Comfort Specialists at Adam’s Air Conditioning in Port St Lucie about your exact needs before you make your decision.