If you are currently trying to decide whether to purchase and install a heat pump or a central air conditioner, maybe you should look at it from a different viewpoint than just money. Most homeowners forget that eventually their air conditioning systems will need repairs. If you look at these two types of cooling systems from that viewpoint, you may be able to make a better decision. Which of these two systems do you think is more complicated when it comes to repairs?
Central Air Conditioners Have Fewer Parts
Central air conditioners have fewer parts. Having fewer parts means you have fewer things that will break down or fail. Typically, that also means that you will have fewer complications with repairs. For the most part, this is true. However, central A/C units require more refrigerant to do their jobs, and their evaporator coils are separate from their condensers, so if one part goes, both may need to be replaced.
Additionally, these A/C units only cool. They cannot and do not heat your home. That is one advantage that heat pumps do have over central air. Of course, it does translate into extra parts for the heat pump, which could mean a higher likelihood of heat pump repair.
Heat Pumps Do More
To rival that of central air units, heat pump engineers combined many of the extra components into one large box known as the "air handler." This box is typically mounted to an inside wall, which may prove a disadvantage if you do not like having strangers in the house to repair things. The evaporator, heat pack, and blower motor are all in this box, and they eliminate the need for you to have a separate furnace.
The two-way action of a heat pump is often what causes the machine to wear out. The machine is pulling hot air from your home to the outside and releasing it, while the tiny amount of refrigerant in the evaporator pushes cool air back inside. The machine requires a little more energy to use because of this two-way action, but it is eco-friendly in other ways.
Both Require Electricity
Without a doubt, neither central air units nor heat pumps can operate without electricity. The heat pump uses less because it only kicks on when it senses the temperature in your home rising. The central air unit runs almost continuously, using more electricity. Either way, you will need to provide access to your electrical box for installation and repairs.