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Bob's Beat

Heat Pumps vs. Air Conditioners vs. Hybrid Systems

Looking at your options for a new HVAC system? The most common types of HVAC systems Sarasota homeowners choose are air conditioners, heat pumps, ductless mini-split systems, or hybrid systems—sometimes a combination of 3.

To help you narrow down your options so you can find the right system for your home, we'll go over:

  • What heat pumps, ACs and hybrid systems are (and how they differ)

  • Pros and cons of each system

  • How to choose the right system

Need a new HVAC system? Call Badger Bob's Services at (941) 225-2775 or schedule an appointment.

Our HVAC experts will go over your heat pump, air conditioner and hybrid system options, including the pros and cons of each one. No matter what system you need, you'll get the same dependable service we've been giving our Sarasota customers for the past 40 years.

What heat pumps, air conditioners, and hybrid systems are

Here's how each system works:

  • Air conditioner: A cooling system that pulls warm air from inside your home, cools and dehumidifies the air using chilled refrigerant lines, and blows the conditioned air back into your home. Traditional ACs have both an indoor air handle—which houses the blower that sends cooled air throughout your home—and an outdoor unit, where the warm refrigerant goes to recondense so it can cycle back to cool air.

  • Heat pump: Heat pumps are very similar to ACs in that they cool your home and also usually have 2 units, except they can also heat your home. The only difference between a heat pump and AC is that a heat pump can work in reverse to transfer heat from outside into your home. Many heat pumps are very efficient until the temperature gets below their rating (most often 32°F but some models work down to 0°F).

  • Hybrid system: Also called a dual-fuel HVAC system, hybrid HVAC systems consist of a heat pump paired with a furnace. The heat pump cools your home and helps with heating. When using heat pump heat is no longer efficient, the furnace will kick on to generate heat (using gas or electricity) for your home. The heat pump and furnace share an air handler and ductwork to heat and cool your home.

Pros and cons of each HVAC system

Heat pumps

Pros of heat pumps:

  • Considered the most efficient heating and cooling system on the market

  • Often equipped with auxiliary heat strips in colder regions to generate heat when the temperature dips below its rating

  • Ductless mini-split options if your home doesn't have ductwork

  • More consistent temperatures that help eliminate the cold spots common with furnaces or auxiliary heat strips

  • Uses electricity, which reduces your dependency on fossil fuels

  • Up to $2,000 in tax credits for a new heat pump installation

Cons of heat pumps:

  • Installation can be more expensive than air conditioners

  • Only efficient when the temperature is above its rating (0° F or 32°F depending on the model) without an auxiliary heat source

  • Can't provide quick, intense heat like gas furnaces or electric heat strips

Air conditioners

Pros of air conditioners:

  • Installation can be less expensive than a heat pump

  • Less wear and tear on the AC since it's only used part of the year

  • Ductless mini-split options if your home doesn't have ductwork

  • Furnace of the dual-fuel system provides stronger, faster heat than a heat pump

  • Don't always have to replace your air handler or furnace when it's time for a new AC (unlike heat pump replacements which often require new air handlers as well)

  • Up to $600 in tax credits for a new AC installation

Cons of air conditioners:

  • Must be paired with a heating system (like a furnace or air handler with auxiliary heat strips) to heat your home

Hybrid/Dual-fuel systems

Pros of dual-fuel HVAC systems:

  • More efficient than AC and furnace since the heat pump helps with heating

  • Less wear and tear on the furnace since it's only used part of the year

  • Furnace provides intense heat quickly when needed (unlike a heat pump)

  • Up to $600 in tax credits for a new furnace installation

Cons of dual-fuel HVAC systems:

  • Installation can be more expensive than a heat pump alone (since you're installing 2 systems)

  • Energy costs fluctuate by area and energy type (electricity vs. gas)

  • Gas and propane furnaces burn fossil fuels

Choosing the right HVAC system

When choosing a new HVAC system, you'll want to first consider 2 things:

  1. The type of system you currently have. Going with a different system could require modifications to your home, which would increase your installation cost. For example, if you currently have a heat pump only and want to install a furnace for a hybrid system, your home will need space for the furnace unit and venting if going with a gas furnace. Or if you have a ductless mini-split system and want to install a forced air system, you'll need to install ductwork in your home.

  2. Whether your existing system is suiting you. Does your heat pump not keep up with your heating needs? Is your air conditioner too loud for your liking? Or would you like a more efficient, eco-friendly HVAC system? A good technician will be able to recommend the best HVAC system not only for your heating and cooling needs, but also for your preferences and lifestyle.

Need a quote for a new HVAC system? Call Badger Bob's Services.

Call us today at (941) 225-2775 or schedule an appointment for a free in-home estimate.

For more than 40 years, we've been offering the most dependable installations for heat pumps, air conditioners and hybrid HVAC systems in the greater Sarasota area. Our HVAC experts will go over your HVAC system options, then recommend the best one for your home and budget.