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AC vs. Heat Pump: Which System Is Better for My Florida Home?

If you’re looking to install a new cooling system for your Florida home, you’re not limited to an air conditioner. You also have the option of installing a heat pump.

When deciding if you should go with an air conditioner or heat pump, start by asking yourself a few questions:

In this blog, we’ll explain the answers to the above questions and walk you through the most cost-effective option for a Florida home.

Want to directly ask a professional your questions? Trust Climate Design to help you determine whether an AC installation or heat pump installation makes more sense for your Florida home.

Question #1: How does a heat pump work?

The primary difference between the two cooling systems is that an AC can only cool your home while a heat pump can cool and heat your home.

When it comes to cooling your home, ACs and heat pumps work similarly. Both systems absorb and transfer heat from inside your home and release it outside.

Since a heat pump can also heat your home, let’s compare it to a furnace. A furnace produces heat through an ignition process to warm your home. A heat pump, on the other hand, runs on electricity and uses the same process it does to cool your home—just in reverse. It pulls heat from the outside and releases it into your home to heat it.

Question #2: How does an AC compare to a heat pump in price?

If you look at the prices of an AC installation compared with a heat pump installation, heat pumps are slightly more expensive. However, when you compare the cost of a heat pump with the cost of installing an AC and a furnace, installing a heat pump is significantly less expensive.

Since Florida has mild winters, you may not need a furnace. Installing a heat pump system instead will keep you comfortable in colder Florida weather at a lower cost.

Here’s a breakdown of the installation cost ranges for an AC, furnace, and heat pump in Florida:

The bottom line? The cost of both an AC and furnace installation could cost an average of $12,000. On the other hand, a heat pump installation costs an average of $7,800, which could save you over $4,000.

Question #3: How energy efficient is a heat pump?

Beyond the installation costs for a heat pump, let’s also look at energy efficiency. To give you a better idea of how efficient a heat pump system is, check its SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio).

The higher a heat pump’s SEER rating, the more energy efficient it is—which means the less your monthly energy bill will be.

When comparing an AC to a heat pump, both air conditioners and heat pumps come in different models with a range of SEER ratings. So, if an AC and a heat pump have similar SEER ratings, they will be comparable when it comes to efficiency.

However, when you compare a heat pump with a furnace, heat pumps are more energy efficient because they aren’t spending energy to produce their own heat.

Question #4: Is an AC or heat pump better for my Florida home?

To answer this question, consider the following points:

Current systems: If you just want to replace your AC system because your furnace is in good condition, you might choose to replace the AC only or upgrade to a heat pump system for more energy efficiency. If it’s time to replace both your air conditioning and furnace, your best bet is to go with a heat pump. And if you don’t currently have a cooling or heating system, you should definitely consider a heat pump installation.

Florida’s climate: Because of the way heat pumps heat homes, they aren’t ideal for climates that dip below 30° F. Heat pumps are most effective in areas with moderate climates, like Florida.

Your heating preferences: Do you like your heated air hot? If so, you might want to consider going with an air conditioner and furnace. Furnaces produce hot air that’s around 120° F. On the other hand, a heat pump’s hot air is typically around 90° F. Even though both furnaces and heat pumps make your home warmer, the heat pump’s air might feel less warm than the furnace’s.

All in all, which is better for your Florida home: AC or heat pump?

Heat pumps are better for your home if you:

  • Need both a heating and cooling system
  • Want to save money on a heating and cooling system installation
  • Live somewhere with mild winters (above 30° F) like Florida
  • Want an energy-efficient option for heating your home

Air conditioners and furnaces are better for your home if you:

  • Recently replaced your furnace or it’s in good condition
  • Live somewhere with cold winters (below 30° F)

Heat pumps or ACs, Climate Design has you covered

Whether you decide to go with an AC installation or heat pump installation, rest assured Climate Design will get the job done. With almost half a century of experience serving the Central Florida area, we work hard to earn—and keep—the trust of our lifelong customers.

Contact us today for a recommendation on AC vs. heat pump for your home, plus get a free estimate!