An old, out-of-date HVAC system can cost you money, from frequent service needs to higher electric bills. You may even find it impossible to buy replacement parts for an obsolete unit.
Before spending a dime on upgrading your system, it’s worth your time to analyze the advantages or disadvantages of a heat pump vs. AC in Florida homes. These two heating systems are the industry go-tos for residential use.
If you don’t live in the Sunshine State year-round, you probably think that getting a heat pump for a Florida home is just crazy. The truth is, it can get pretty chilly in the winter. You can expect low temperatures in the 30s and 40s, depending on where you live in the state.
Is It Time to Replace the HVAC System in Your Florida Home?
The experts at ENERGY STAR recommend you consider your AC unit ready for replacement when it’s 10 to 15 years old. Even if you need to put it off just a bit longer, though, you should be prepared to make a wise decision when it’s time to replace it.
Look for these indicators that it may be time to start comparison shopping:
- Your system is more than 10 years old
- Your unit requires frequent repairs
- Your electric bill has risen unexpectedly
- Some rooms seem colder or hotter than they should
- You’re having problems with humidity inside your house
- Your heat or AC is noisy when operating
If it’s time to replace the HVAC system in your Florida home, you should understand the difference between heat pump and AC systems to make the best decision for your budget.
What Is a Heat Pump System?
A heat pump heating system is an efficient choice for Florida homes. A heat pump has a reversing valve that transfers heat from outside to inside your home to warm the interior.
In summer, it removes heat from inside and disperses it outdoors.
Heat pumps are considered the most efficient home heat by energy experts. Many AC specialists state that they are most efficient in areas of the country where the average temperature is over 40 degrees Fahrenheit, such as Florida.
Types of Heat Pumps
You’ll find various kinds of heat pumps on the market to choose from, including Air-to-Air, Water-Source, and Geothermal.
The most common type used for residential applications is the air-source heat pump. These models remove heat from the outdoor air to heat your home. Most exciting, however, is that current models heat your home for as much as 50% less electricity than standard furnaces.
One of the most outstanding advantages, especially in Florida, is that high-efficiency heat pumps are better for dehumidification when running in AC mode when compared to straight cool units.
Reduced humidity can keep your home more comfortable even when the unit isn’t running. This can also prevent the mold and mildew problems faced by so many homeowners in subtropical climates.
Water-sourced units require a nearby body of water or cooling tower to provide cooling to a building. Although they are incredibly efficient, their use is generally limited to large, commercial buildings.
Geothermal heat pumps take advantage of the difference in the temperature between the ground and the air to provide heat and cooling. These models are extremely eco-friendly but can cost between $15,000 to $25,000 to install — far above the usual reach of the average homeowner.
What Is a Straight Cool AC Heat Strip System?
With a straight cool HVAC system, you have an air conditioner that cools with a condensing unit and air handler. The condenser removes moisture from the air, which lowers the temperature in the air. The air handler distributes the cold air throughout your home. These models use electric heat strips for warming your home in the winter.
This is the most commonly used HVAC system in the United States, particularly in areas where the demand for heating is higher than the demand for air conditioning.
Straight Cool AC systems with heat strips are generally less expensive than heat pumps, but they do use more electricity to run.
Heat Pump vs. AC in Florida Homes
Now that you know a little bit more about how these two systems work, you may be wondering which will work best for your Florida home. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each system.
Florida Heat Pump Pros and Cons
To make the right purchasing decision, consider the advantages and disadvantages of installing a heat pump in your Florida home.
- According to the Department of Energy, heat pumps are the most energy-efficient type of heat to use.
- They provide a consistent temperature without hot and cold spots.
- Many models also have back-up electric heat strips in case of extreme temperature dips.
- Initially, heat pumps can cost more than straight cooling systems.
- Heat pump systems may take longer to heat your home when first started.
Heat Strips vs. Heat Pump Heating
Consider all sides of the debate before replacing your system. Heat strips have several pros and cons:
- AC systems with electric heat strips are less expensive than heat pumps.
- Electric heat strips work quickly to warm up your home.
- In AC mode, straight cool systems with heat strips may be more efficient to run.
- Electric heat strips aren’t as energy-efficient to run and cost more in electricity.
- Sometimes, electric heat strips will turn on when the AC is running, which puts an additional load on the system.
Finding the Best AC Options for Florida
When deciding between heat pump vs. AC in Florida homes, it pays to keep up to date in the latest home technology. This is especially true in a region that suffers the brunt of extreme temperatures.
Those who live in cooler areas of the state will probably find a heat pump their best choice for a new HVAC unit. Heat pumps provide even heating and cooling through the wild temperature swings of a North Florida winter.
Those living in the southernmost parts of the state might find a straight AC with heat strips the best deal. In cities like Miami, Naples, and in the Keys, heat demand is quite rare and brief. So, the lower cost of the unit might easily balance the higher electricity use, even over the life of the unit.
Whichever you decide is the best choice for your Florida home, make sure you choose a reliable and licensed company like Bowersox in Venice, Florida. We can make sure it works perfectly — and efficiently — for years to come.