Strictly speaking, an air conditioner does not cool your home: instead, it extracts heat. When a liquid evaporates, it absorbs heat from its surroundings. This is the same system that your body uses to cool down. Your AC unit cycles freon through a set of evaporator coils which pushes the hot air in your home over a special set of fins, which allows the freon to evaporate, and as it does, it absorbs heat from the air flowing over it. This heat is then expelled through the condenser coils on the outside of your home. But what happens if you reverse the function of your coils? You end up with a heat pump.
The Cost of Installing a Furnace and an AC Unit
A brand new AC unit will cost between $3,000 and $10,000, depending on the size of your home and whether you buy a basic unit or a highly efficient one. A furnace will cost between $2,500 and $14,000, again depending on the size and efficiency of the unit you buy. This means that you could pay as a little as $5,500 or as much as $24,000 to buy two separate pieces of machinery to both heat and cool your home.
The Advantage of a Heat Pump
A heat pump can extract heat from the air in your home and expel it outside, or it can extract heat from the air outside your home and expel it in your home. Thus, when you buy a heat pump, you only need one piece of equipment to both heat and cool your home. It will cost between $2,000 and $8,000 to install a heat pump in your home. Thus, if you have the need to both heat and cool your home, you should save money by installing a heat pump.
Limitations of a Heat Pump
A heat pump can extract heat from the air outside of your home even as the temperature falls, but the closer the temperature gets to freezing, the harder your machine has to work to heat your home. Thus, if you live in an area that has a lot of nights that reach temperatures at or below freezing, your heat pump will not efficiently heat your home. Thus, heat pumps are better for people that live in temperate climates.
A heat pump may not be right for everyone, but if you have moved from a northern climate to the south and are used to using both an AC unit and a furnace in your home, you should at least consider buying a heat pump to save on costs while still effectively heating and cooling your home. Contact a local HVAC contractor, like Snipps Heat & Air Inc, for more information.