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The Difference Between Heat Pump and A/C Systems

Understanding the difference between heat pumps and A/C systems will be beneficial when you have to choose one for your Woodstock home. Deciding between the two systems will depend on the climate you live in and the comfort levels you are accustomed too. Reviewing the pros and cons of each heating and cooling system should make your decision easier and leave you with the satisfaction that you made the right choice for your home.

Heat Pump

Although the difference between heat pump and A/C systems is significant, they work in a similar fashion. Both systems are designed to transfer the heat from inside your home to the outside when in cooling mode. However, a heat pump is fitted with a reversing valve that allows it to transfer the heat from outside into your home when in heating mode. This allows the unit to heat your home without using electric heat strips, which increase energy consumption significantly.


  • Heat pumps are widely considered in the industry as the most efficient heating and cooling systems on the market because, as the Department of Energy notes, they use less energy to get the job done.
  • They maintain a consistent temperature throughout the home, eliminating the cold spots common with traditional gas furnaces or heat strips.
  • Heat pumps are equipped with auxiliary heat strips — emergency heat — to provide heat in times when the temperature dips below its working threshold.


  • Heat pump systems are more expensive than their straight cool counterparts.
  • They are not suited for climates where the average temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit without a secondary heat source.
  • Heat pumps provide a consistent temperature to heat your home. It is not, however, as rapid or intense as gas furnaces or electric heat strips.

Straight Cool Systems With Electric Heat Strips

Straight cool air conditioning systems are fitted with electric heat strips. The straight cool systems are adequate alternatives to the heat pump. This is especially true in northern parts of the country where temperatures commonly dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, rendering a heat pump inefficient. Although the electric heat strips produce adequate heat rapidly, they consume significantly more energy when in use.


  • Straight cool systems are less expensive than a heat pump system to purchase.
  • The electric heat strips produce heat rapidly to warm your home.


  • Straight cool systems equipped with electric heat strips use far more electricity than their counterpart when heating your home.
  • Heat strips sometimes malfunction and remain on even when the unit is set to cool, doubling the workload on your system while also increasing your electric bill significantly.

Before deciding on which type of system to purchase, schedule an appointment with a heating and air-conditioning contractor and let them evaluate your situation. Knowing the pros and cons as well as the difference between heat pump and A/C systems will help you to make an informed decision and choose the right equipment for your home.

Homeowners in the greater-Atlanta area seeking additional expert advice regarding the difference between heat pump and A/C systems can contact Reliable Heating & Air.

For more then 35 years, Reliable Heating & Air has provided outstanding customer care and support to its valued customers.


The Difference Between Heat Pump and A/C Systems