When you hear the phrase “heat pump,” you probably don’t immediately think of keeping your home cool in the summer. But the great thing about a heat pump is that you can use it for both heating and cooling purposes. So how can you use a heat pump for cooling your home and what differentiates it from an air conditioner?
During the heating season, a heat pump uses refrigerant to absorb heat from the outside air and transfer it inside your home. This process is simply reversed during the cooling season and heat is moved from the air inside your home to the air outside.
If you think this process sounds familiar, that’s because it’s almost exactly the same way the cooling process of an air conditioner works. In fact, a heat pump has the same components:
- Indoor coils filled with refrigerant that absorbs heat from the air inside.
- Refrigerant lines that connect the indoor and outdoor components of the heat pump.
- A compressor that increases the temperature and pressure of the refrigerant coming from inside your home.
- Outdoor coils that transfer the heat from the refrigerant to the outdoor air that’s blown over them.
Air conditioner vs. heat pump for cooling: which is better?
When you compare an air conditioner to a heat pump, you’ll realize that there really isn’t much of a difference when it comes to cooling your home. High efficiency heat pumps are known to be a little better at dehumidifying your home than an air conditioner, but this advantage is offset if you use a whole house dehumidifier. Heat pumps are also known to cool your home a bit more evenly than an air conditioner.
The real difference between an air conditioner and a heat pump is that a heat pump is able to both heat and cool your home from one unit. You can see substantial energy savings from a heat pump during the heating season, but keep in mind that many homes in the St. Louis area also have a backup source for heating when the temperature outside is too low for a heat pump to be used efficiently.
If you have any questions about using a heat pump for cooling, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly, your St. Louis area heating and cooling company.