Central AC vs. Heat Pump: What's Best for Florida's Climate?

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Is Central AC or a Heat Pump Better for Florida?

Published by Derek Cormier

There are a lot of factors to weigh when you’re considering a new system for cooling your home. What do they cost? How hard are they to install? Which is more efficient? When you live in Florida, one key factor to consider is the weather. So which is a better choice here, a heat pump or central AC?

We’ll stop short of giving you a simple decree that one is superior to the other. What we will do is break down some of the benefits of each, to help you make a decision you can be happy with in the long run.

Central Air Conditioning

This has long been the gold standard in home cooling, and for good reason. These systems are familiar and highly functional. But if you’re in the market for a new one, you’re probably accustomed to a model that is ten or even twenty years old. A lot has changed since then!

There have been advances in the materials that the refrigerant coils are made of, and these new substances are better able to absorb and radiate heat. This means the refrigerant itself can do the job of transferring heat from your home to the outdoors much more easily, using less energy.

Both compressors and blower fan motors are now available in multi-speed models. Rather than operating in a binary on/off pattern, they are able to use less energy by regulating the power to those components as needed, only operating on full power when it’s truly necessary. And today’s smart thermostats are easily programmable and can be adjusted, with an app on your phone, from anywhere you are.

All of these innovations mean that you can get a central AC system that is more efficient than any you’ve had before, cutting your electric bill during the cooling season. And unless you’re brand-new to Florida, you know all too well just how much it costs to keep a Florida home at a reasonable temperature all summer.

Heat Pump Systems

These efficiency advancements have affected heat pumps as well, so don’t worry that you’ll be missing out on those benefits if you choose a heat pump. But there are other advantages, too.

The biggest difference here is that a heat pump’s refrigerant flow is reversible. Like an air conditioner, a heat pump uses refrigerant to move heat from one place to another, and when the flow is reversed, heat can be brought in from outside—yes, even when it’s quite chilly outside!

In many climates, this is not sufficient for winter heating without an auxiliary system, since the efficiency of the heat pump’s heating starts to drop when the temperature drops below forty degrees. But in Florida, you can heat your home quite efficiently and effectively with just a heat pump.

Heat pumps and their installation costs are a bit more expensive than the cost of purchasing and installing a central air conditioner. If your heating system is brand-new and working great, a heat pump might not seem worth the investment. But it’s certainly a lot less expensive than purchasing and installing both an air conditioner and a heater, so if you think you might need a new heater in the not-too-distant future, this one-stop-shopping option could ultimately save you money.

Our team would be delighted to answer any questions you have about these two great options for AC installation in Palm Bay, FL.