What is the difference between a heat pump and an air conditioner?

For most of the home owners, an air conditioner for cooling in summer and a furnace for heating in winter are both must-have to provide a comfortable home experience. Have you been thinking about different equipment that can replace both air conditioner and furnace at the same time?

In fact, an air conditioner is a type of heat pump. It “pumps” heat from the inside of building to outside space. But the critical difference between air conditioner with typical heat pump is that a heat pump can work to the other direction as well: it can switch modes to move heat from outside into the building. 

When talking about the efficiency different between a heat pump and an air conditioner with heating function, the difference between outside and inside temperature really matters. Since the temperature difference in winter is much greater than it is in summer, the COP (Coefficient of performance) of heat pump will be much higher than air conditioner.

However, most of air source heat pump system applies water circulation for the secondary heat transfer, therefore the heat lose cannot be avoided. The heat lose can be used for heating mode but useless for cooling mode. Therefore, the cooling performance of an air conditioner is better than a heat pump.