Columbus, GA



Columbus, GA

Heat Pumps vs. Air Conditioners

Many times, we are asked what is the best HVAC system for me? The first answer from us at Dixie Electric, Plumbing & Air is always that it depends on your situation. One area that seems to confuse people is the difference between a heat pump and an air conditioner.

Heat Pumps Go Both Ways

An air conditioner can only cool your home. A heat pump can cool your home during summer and heat it during winter. In fact, during the cooling season heat pumps and A/C units operate in exactly the same say. They remove heat energy from the home by pumping it outside.

So What’s The Difference?

Heat pumps have a reversing valve on the outside compressor. It allows the unit to squeeze heat out of the outside air and move it into your Auburn, Opelika, or Montgomery, AL home. Right now, you’re asking how’s that possible when it’s cold outside?

Science Lesson

At the risk of boring or confusing you here’s the answer. Even cold air contains some heat, at least until the temperature reaches minus 459.67℉ which scientists call absolute zero. While heat pumps are less efficient as it gets colder, they are very common in the south where winters are moderate. Modern equipment can even be used in climates where the temperature drops below zero.

Are They Right For Me?

Heat pumps are an ideal choice for home heating if natural gas is not available and you don’t want to deal with the hassle of a propane tank. A modern pump will have no problem keeping your house warm in Central and Eastern Alabama.


It is important to understand another difference. Heat pumps are a forced-air system and the heated air is generally just a few degrees warmer than the thermostat setting, much lower than your body temp. When the air is blowing around it can feel cool on the skin even though it’s warming the house. The air from a gas or propane furnace is heated to a much higher temperature and will feel warm on your skin. If that’s a huge factor, you may want to opt for a traditional furnace.

Count On Dixie

If you still have questions about heat pumps or any other HVAC systems, call Dixie Electric, Plumbing & Air. For more great information like this be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.