When it comes to cooling your Decatur, AL home during the year’s hottest period, it’s good to know that you have choices. With cooling, most people think of AC units, as they’re the most common form of home cooling on the market. But did you know that heat pumps can also cool your home, despite their name? Contrary to their first impression, heat pumps use the ground below your home (or nearby) to transfer heat into and out of your home.

If the heat of Northern Alabama is getting to you, and you’re wondering which option will be the best for your home, here are some pros and cons of each cooling system.

AC Units. AC units come in a few different forms and may or may not utilize ductwork. However, they work on the same basic concept: hot, humid air is passed through the system, which uses refrigerant and coils to cool the air and remove the humidity. These units operate much like refrigerators, and hot air gets forced out of your home through a process of heat transfer.

Once the air is cooled, a fan blows the air back into your home, cooling and de-humidifying your space.

Pros Include:

  • Cheaper Installation. In general, standard air conditioners of all types are cheaper and faster to install than heat pumps.
  • Easier Maintenance. Standard AC units will, at most, consist of an indoor unit (blower) and the outdoor unit. Some models, such as mini-splits, don’t even use air ducts, which leads to even less maintenance.

Cons Include:

  • AC units are more expensive than heat pumps to run, and they can only cool your home unlike a heat pump, which can heat or cool.
  • Moisture can gather within these units, leading to mold and bacteria growth, which in turn can increase health problems.

Heat Pumps. Heat pumps work by removing heat and humidity from a home and using water or another fluid to store that heat underground. The heat pump then returns cool air to your home and repeats the cycle. During cooler months, the process is reversed, so that a pump pulls heat from the ground and into your home.

Heat pumps have their own benefits and drawbacks that come from installation and operation.

Pros include:

  • Heat pumps are more energy-efficient than AC units, as they more easily remove humidity, and cost up to 50% less than a standard AC unit. They also save money during the winter as they’re more efficient than furnaces.
  • Heat pumps both cool and heat your home all year long, acting as the AC and the furnace.
  • These systems remove more humidity from your home than a standard AC unit.

Cons include:

  • The upfront cost to install a heat pump is higher than that of AC units. However, mini heat pumps and split systems are cheaper than other types of pumps.
  • Heat pumps may wear out more quickly than AC units because they run year-round.

If you’re still deciding whether an AC unit of any type or if a heat pump is the solution for your home cooling needs, and you’re in the Decatur, AL area, be sure to reach out to us at Southeastern Mechanical Services today. We’ll help you find the right system for your home.