Heat Pumps, Air Conditioners & Furnaces – Similar but Not the Same
A heat pump’s name comes from its ability to “pump heat” into or out of your house.
A Heat Pump Heats and Cools
Consisting of an air handler and a heat pump, it moves heat outside in the summer and then switches to move heat inside in winter. It replaces your furnace and air conditioner. To the untrained eye, it looks like you only have an AC unit. What you actually have is a souped-up air conditioner that can work in reverse.
How Heat Pumps Work
You can add a heat pump to an existing furnace by replacing the air conditioning side of the system with a heat pump. This makes it a “Dual-Fuel” system, which is far more efficient than a gas-powered AC/Furnace system. In “Dual-fuel” systems, the heat pump is the initial heat source until the temperature gets too cold outside. At this point the furnace takes over, giving you the best of both systems.
Because a heat pump also performs air conditioning in the summer, it takes the place of an air conditioner. It uses the same refrigerant lines, electrical setup, ductwork, and air mover that the air conditioner was using.