Which is Better: Heat Pumps or Air Conditioners?

Family under blanket enjoying air conditioning.

Many Atlantic Canadians are investing in their homes this year. Should they invest in a heat pump or an air conditioner?

With cross-border vacation travel out of the picture at the moment, many Atlantic Canadians are planning summer “staycations”. For some, this provides an opportunity to spruce up their surroundings with home improvements. Summer upgrades often include outdoor projects such as deck and roof improvements. It also includes improving ways to keep cool, such as installing a new pool or an air conditioner.

Although the term “heat pump” does not trigger thoughts of cooling down in the summer months, most heat pumps also function as air conditioners. When we think about Atlantic Canada’s year-round climate, it’s worth taking a closer look at installing a heat pump versus an air conditioner.

The Efficiency of Heat Pumps vs Air Conditioners

Daikin dealers are often asked about the efficiency of heat pumps versus the efficiency of air conditioners. Truth is, many heat pump and air conditioning units are on par with each other because they essentially work the same.

How does a heat pump cool your home down in the summertime? Your heat pump moves the hot air from inside your home to the outdoors through a set of coils containing a heat-absorbing compressed refrigerant, which cools the indoor temperature down to desired levels. In fact, some higher efficiency heat pumps can dehumidify the air more effectively than a standard air conditioner.

When comparing efficient cooling capability, look at the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. This rating is calculated by measuring the total cooling output the unit provides during the cooling season divided by the total amount of electricity used over the same period. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit is at cooling your space. Also, ENERGY STAR® designated models are more efficient and are often eligible for rebates.

Cost of Heat Pumps vs Air Conditioners

It usually costs more to have a heat pump installed than a conventional air conditioner due to the installation requirements and factors that go into determining where to place a heat pump in your home. With any HVAC unit, the cost will vary depending on the model and type of heat pump or air conditioner that meets your home heating and cooling needs. You’ll want a professional to install your heat pump in order to maximize the lifespan and effectiveness of the equipment.

Living in Atlantic Canada, you will also need a heat source for the long winter months if you plan on only installing an air conditioner. The benefit of having a heat pump is that with most models, you will be able to use it for year-round comfort. That is the main differentiator between a heat pump and an air conditioner. If you already have an existing heat source such as a furnace, a heat pump can be used to supplement your heating, potentially dramatically reducing your energy costs such as an oil bill.

There are rebates available through provincial governments and manufacturers that can help minimize upfront installation costs. Check out how much you can save with our Rebate Calculator.

Ask a Daikin Dealer for a No-Obligation Consultation

So, which option is better for Atlantic Canadians: a heat pump or an air conditioner? Our climate is ideal for a heat pump. To find out exactly which model would suit your needs the best, contact your local Daikin dealer. They will provide you with a no-obligation consultation to recommend the home comfort model that is the best fit for you.