AC and Heating Pumps vs. Conventional AC

Looking to replace your current HVAC system but don’t know whether to buy an AC and heating pump or a central air conditioner? Fortunately, Quick Serve Pro is here to help you out! While both systems function similarly to condition homes by relying on refrigerants to release indoor heat outside, containing an indoor and outside unit, and using the same process to cool homes, the heating is where the real difference is. This article will cover the advantages and disadvantages of these two HVAC systems, their differences and similarities, and help you determine which one is better for your home.

Heat Pump

Heat pumps can be used to both cool and heat homes. The thing is, heat pumps don’t produce air; rather, they transfer it. During the summer, heat pumps cool homes by moving warm air from the inside to the outside. Heat pumps reverse the airflow and transfer warm air from the outside to boost inside temperatures during the winter.


AC and heating pumps utilize electricity instead of natural gas or propane. This type of HVAC system requires ductwork to evenly distribute heated and cooled air around your house, reducing the number of cold spots while keeping everyone comfortable. Heat pumps are incredibly energy-efficient and will help you save money on your monthly utilities, especially if you live in an area with mild winters. Heat pumps run on very little energy, but can produce large amounts of cool and warm air!


Heat pumps are an excellent HVAC system option for homeowners that live in moderate climates. However, if you live on the east coast or in an area where temperatures dip below freezing in the winter, a heat pump will neither be efficient nor comfortable. Heat pumps work well in temperatures as low as 40 degrees. Once temperatures drop below freezing, heat pumps have to work even harder to reach a comfortable indoor temperature, raising your utilities drastically. This is because when temperatures drop below freezing, AC and heating pumps switch to emergency heat mode, which utilizes electric-resistant heat strips and requires more electricity. In addition, heat pumps require a larger initial investment than a standard HVAC system comprised of a central air conditioner and a furnace. Since heat pumps run all year long rather than seasonally, they wear out faster than conventional air conditioning systems. Heat pumps usually need to be replaced every 15 years, and servicing them may cost more than conventional air conditioners since they need to be maintained more frequently (at least twice a year). Another disadvantage to purchasing a heat pump is that since it is powered by electricity, it won’t be able to supply heat or air conditioning if the power goes out. Finally, you can’t forget about the ductwork! If your home doesn’t have existing ductwork, an HVAC technician will need to install it, which can cost an additional several hundred dollars.

Central Air

Central air conditioners and heat pumps both extract indoor heat and release it outside to cool homes. Central AC is extremely good at doing one thing—cooling your home. But, it cannot heat your home or bring hot air inside. For that, you’ll need to purchase a furnace or electric-resistant heat strips.


Central air conditioners are ideal and an efficient way to cool large homes. In addition to cooling your home, conventional air conditioners filter the air to improve indoor air quality and reduce allergens. When paired with a furnace or electric-resistant heat strips and an air handler, this type of HVAC system works extremely well in any type of environment, no matter how extreme the temperature becomes. A conventional AC system costs less than a heat pump. Plus, conventional HVAC systems usually outlast heat pumps since both the AC and furnace units get a break between seasons.


The biggest disadvantage to conventional air conditioners is that they cannot supply heat on their own and need to be paired with a heat source to produce heat. Because you will need to house both an air conditioner and a furnace, including the outside unit, you will need to have enough space inside and outside of your home. Central air conditioning also requires existing ductwork; if you don't already have ductwork in your home, installing it can be an expensive project.

Which System Is the Best Fit for You?

AC and heat pumps and conventional air conditioners have a lot of similarities. For example, both systems require existing ductwork and use electricity. Additionally, when in cooling mode, heat pumps and central air conditioners cool homes by releasing hot air outside. So how do you decide which HVAC system is best for you? Consider the following factors to help you make the best decision.


Cost is always an important consideration, especially if you are on a tight budget. Conventional HVAC systems (including a furnace) can range from $7,000 to $13,000 while heat pumps typically cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000.

Energy Efficiency

In the summer, your utilities will cost about the same whether you are using an AC and heating pump or a conventional air conditioner (if they have the same SEER rating). However, throughout the winter, the system you select can make a huge impact on your utilities. If you live somewhere that has mild winters, buying a heat pump will lower your utilities. However, if you live in a state that experiences extremely cold temperatures during the winter, installing a heat pump will only increase your energy bills drastically, and it is advised that you buy a conventional air conditioner and furnace instead.

Life Expectancy

Because heat pumps are used year-round, they typically last about 15 years. Conventional air conditioners, on the other hand, can last up to 20 years since they are only used seasonally. Keep in mind that scheduling routine check-ups and maintenance will help extend the life of your HVAC system further.

How Can Quick Serve Pro Help?

Finding the best HVAC system for your home and your budget is extremely important for your comfort. At Quick Serve Pro, we prioritize finding an HVAC system for our clients that best suits their homes and lifestyles. We’d be more than happy to help you choose an HVAC system so that you can avoid extra costs, maintain constant comfort, and enjoy a long-lasting system. Give us a call today to start shopping for the perfect HVAC system for you!

Special Offer
Save Big Now
on your next home improvement project
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Contact Us
Trusted by some of the biggest names in the business!