Heat Pump or AC Unit: Which Is Best for Cooling Arizona Homes?
With one of the United States' most extreme climates, Arizona presents a few challenges when it comes to heating and cooling homes.
Heat pump units are among the most popular HVAC systems in the country, but they’re not ideally suited for every climate. In some cases, they even require a backup heater to provide adequate efficiency and comfort. If it’s time to replace your heating and cooling unit, you may be considering a heat pump for a variety of reasons. Find out if it’s best suited to cool Arizona homes before making the investment.
What Is the Difference Between an AC Unit and a Heat Pump?
Air conditioning units do one thing: cool your home. Heat pumps, on the other hand, can provide both heat and cooling, depending on the season. In the summer, a heat pump keeps your home cool. During cooler temperatures, it does double duty as a heat source.
Heat pumps essentially work by moving warm air from one place to another to keep your home at a comfortable temperature year-round. In the summer, they move warm air from inside your home to the outside. In the winter, they work in reverse. They neither create nor destroy heat; they simply move it around to create a more comfortable temperature inside your home.
Although heat pumps function like any other air conditioner during the summer, when temperatures drop they provide a more efficient form of electric heat than any other system. While they’re not ideal for very cold climates due to their inherent limitations, they can be perfect for Arizona homes. They provide more than enough heat for the mild winters typically experienced in this particular climate.
The Efficiency Question: Energy and Expenses
When you’re weighing your options for controlling the temperature in your home, you’ll want to make sure you’re taking efficiency into account every step of the way.
Heat pumps have become incredibly efficient, so you’ll see a several-fold return on your investment over the lifespan of a new unit. The ability to replace two separate units with a single system that is capable of doing double duty also speaks for itself.
The price point is a consideration for many homeowners, as heat pumps do tend to be a larger up-front expense. If you’re planning to be in your home for the foreseeable future, you’ll definitely realize savings in energy bills over the course of your unit’s lifetime. Then again, there are tax credits and rebates to consider, as these can also tip the balance a bit. An added incentive: the state of Arizona does offer scaling rebates on the purchase of a heat pump.
Why You Might Want an Air Conditioning Unit
On paper, it seems like a no-brainer: a heat pump does two jobs with a single unit, and an air conditioner essentially offers half the functionality. However, there are some reasons why a heat pump system may not be ideal for your household.
If you’ve just replaced your heating unit, for instance, you probably won’t want to fork over the cash to buy a brand new unit for cooling that renders it obsolete. It’s also wise to consider your future plans. If there’s a chance you’ll be moving soon, you may not be in your home long enough to see a return on the relatively steep up-front investment. For some, the long-term savings potential more than makes up for the higher up-front cost. Others may prefer a lower initial cost, regardless of future savings.
Making the Right Choice for Your Household
As with many things in life, there’s no real one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to the heat pump vs. air conditioner debate. In the end, there are a number of variables to consider that will tip the balance in either direction, depending upon the unique needs and demands of your home.
It’s also important to note that, in order to fully realize the savings and efficiency, you must ensure any unit is appropriately sized for your home. If it’s too large or too small it simply won’t be as efficient, cost-effective or comfortable. This is where it pays to work with experienced professionals who can help you determine which choice will be best suited to the needs of your household.
At Mason Mechanical, we understand how difficult it can be to make the right decision when it comes to something as important and complicated as heating and cooling. We’ll help you explore all your options, working to find the best possible solution while addressing all your concerns and questions. When you arrive at your decision, then we’ll make sure the unit is appropriately sized to provide the very best in both comfort and efficiency.
Call us today to discuss all your heating and cooling options, so you can keep your cool all summer long.