How To Choose Between a Heat Pump vs an Air Conditioner

When you are looking for relief from Tampa’s summer heat, it probably doesn’t matter to you if you have a heat pump or an air conditioner to get the job done. You just want cool air, NOW!

But when you are looking to install or replace an HVAC system that can efficiently heat and cool your home, it’s nice to know that you have a couple of options to choose from.

Not sure what the difference is between a heat pump and an air conditioner? Our team here at Super Heat & Air is here with a deep dive into heat pumps vs. air conditioners. Ready? Let’s go!

The Basics of Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps

When in cooling mode, heat pumps and HVAC units work basically the same way to transfer hot air from inside your home to the outside. The difference? Heat pumps have a second job they can do—heating your home.

Another difference is that there are two types of heat pumps, air source and geothermal. Air source heat pumps move heat from one air source to another, inside to outside. Geothermal systems move heat from the air inside your home into the ground or a water source.

When it comes to keeping you cool in the dog days of summer, all heat pumps and air conditioners use the same process to achieve the cool temperatures you crave.

Pros & Cons of Heat Pumps

Now that you know that heat pumps and air conditioners work in the same way, here are some of the pros and cons of having one installed in your home.


One of the best advantages of a heat pump is that they use electricity rather than natural gas or propane. Heat pumps use a whole home duct system, so the cool air is evenly distributed throughout the house, reducing the number of hot spots and keeping everyone comfortable.

Efficiency is another great pro of using a heat pump. Generally, they put out more cool and warm air by volume than the amount of energy it takes to run them.

Learn More> Why Heat Pumps Are a Safe Investment


For people living in moderate climates, heat pumps are a great option. Since our area rarely dips below freezing, a heat pump is an efficient and comfortable choice for Tampa homeowners.

Heat pumps cost more than a furnace to install, and since they are used year-round vs. seasonally, they tend to wear out more quickly, and usually last about 15 years.

What Size of a Heat Pump Do You Need?

Choosing the right size heat pump for your home is important to have a well-functioning and efficient heating and cooling system. If it is too small, it will struggle to keep your home cool or warm. If it is too big, it will waste energy and produce too much warm or cool air.

To size your unit, consider:

Local climate
Square footage of your home
Windows and doors
Insulation in the home
How many people live in the house
Temperature preferences
Other appliances in the home that generate heat

Having a heating and cooling expert from Super Heat & Air evaluate your home and needs is the best way to find out if a heat pump is the best option for your home.

Pros & Cons of Air Conditioners

Central air conditioning systems are good for larger homes or homes that are already equipped with existing ductwork. As the name implies, central AC centralizes each component of the system, including the fans, and cooling systems.

Pros of Air Conditioning

The biggest benefit to central air conditioning is that they are the best way to keep your home consistently cool. They produce a lot of cool air that is then distributed to rooms through the ductwork.

Central air conditioning is a quiet and efficient way to cool your entire home. Plus, they use an air filter which can improve indoor air quality and reduce allergens circulating in your home.

Cons of Air Conditioning

The main disadvantage of central AC is that it cannot create heat. There are a few weeks during the year here in Tampa where heat is non-negotiable, so your AC must be paired with a furnace for a complete heating and cooling system.

Since you need a furnace and an air conditioning unit, you will need space for both systems. This means that it can be more expensive for installation and repairs.

Deciding Between the Two

There are many similarities between heat pumps and air conditioners, so how do you decide which is right for you?

First, you’ll want to consider the cost. The cost of installation for an AC or heat pump system can vary regionally. Air conditioners can range anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 and a heat pump can be around $7,000 to $13,000.

Of course, if you have existing ductwork, these prices might be less.

Energy efficiency and the cost of operation are other aspects to consider. In the summertime, heat pumps might cost around the same amount to operate, but in wintertime, a heat pump cost to heat your home can be lower than using a furnace.

Last, life expectancy is another consideration. Since heat pumps and air conditioners often work year-round in Florida, this can reduce their overall life expectancy. Both systems can offer longer longevity if annual tune-ups are performed by a licensed professional.

Keep it Cool> AC Tips for Prepping Your Florida Home for Summer

Stay Cool with Super Heat & Air

Beat the heat this summer with a new heat pump or energy-efficient HVAC from Super Heat & Air! We are Tampa’s #1 HVAC repair, maintenance, and installation company and are guaranteed to help you FAST!

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