A/C, Heat Pump, Furnace or a Hybrid System? What’s right for you?


Whether you have a new construction or ongoing remodel project, or maybe it is simply time to replace your HVAC system’s components, you will eventually need to make the decision about installing a heat pump or air conditioner/furnace system, or a hybrid system.

The question begs to be asked: What is the difference between a heat pump and a traditional air conditioner/furnace system? And also just what is a hybrid solution?

In warm weather, the function of an air conditioner or a heat pump is essentially the same––to cool your home. Both units deliver air conditioning by pulling the heat out of the air, leaving you with cooler air circulating inside your home.

The biggest difference between an air conditioner and a heat pump is that as the weather changes and cools down, a heat pump can be reversed to take heat from outside the home and move it inside, effectively warming up your house. A heat pump does two jobs––warms and cools. In general, a heat pump uses less energy, since you have one appliance doing two jobs.

In colder climates, a heat pump may work as supplemental heating for a furnace, this is called a hybrid system. The heat pump delivers heating until it gets to cold, then the auxiliary (often natural gas) furnace takes over. In warmer climates, a heat pump is usually the only appliance you need to keep your home comfortable all year long.

In some northern states, a furnace may be the primary source of heat for a home. Some heat pumps may get strained as temperatures fall below 32 degrees. However, high efficiency heat pumps can operate at very low temperatures and are a popular solution. In heating mode a heat pump’s primary function is pulling heat from the outside air and transferring it to the inside warming coil. If the air temperature gets too cold the alternate heating method kicks into action.

A heat pump can be very environmentally friendly and may use very little electricity in either heating or cooling mode. A combination of a heat pump and a gas furnace is known as a Hybrid System. Hybrid Systems are popular in the Pacific Northwest because of our reasonably temperate climate.

There are a number of things to consider when choosing to install a heat pump or a traditional AC/furnace system. Let the professionals at Robben & Sons Heating, Inc. help you decide what is best for you. If you are interested in high efficiency and long term payback or just want to keep warm or cool, Robben and Sons Heating, Inc. can help you choose the most cost effective and comfortable solution for your home.

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