4 Ways to Tell If You Have a Heat Pump or an AC
If you’re wondering whether your heating and cooling system includes a heat pump, you’re not alone. Many people aren’t sure about the HVAC type (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system they have installed in their homes.
It’s important to know what systems provide heating and cooling in your home. If your central heating gives out in the dead of winter, you can give your system’s information to an HVAC expert. They’ll know if they need to inspect a heat pump or a furnace.
Let’s take a look at some of the key indicators that can help you determine which system you have.
Heat Pumps vs Air Conditioners: What’s the Difference?
Before we dive into the identification process, let’s talk about the differences between air conditioners and heat pumps.
Air conditioners work by moving the hot air inside your home outside in the summer. They can’t heat homes on their own, so they usually work with a furnace or boiler.
Heat pumps can do the same thing an air conditioner does, but they can also transfer heat from the outside air back into the house during the winter.
Air conditioners are like a one-way street while heat pumps work in two directions.
Despite the functional differences, telling them apart from the other can be a challenge for the untrained eye since heat pumps look like air conditioners.
But, you might be able to figure it out by trying the following:
Read Your System’s Labels
Check to see if the manufacturer’s label says the words “heat pump.” Another indicator to look for is the model number on the label. If the number starts with “HP,” then it’s a heat pump.
Energy Efficiency Label
Heat pumps are known for their energy efficiency. If you’re unsure about your HVAC system’s type, check its energy efficiency label. The label is hard to miss; it’s a bright yellow sticker found on the outdoor unit.
Heat pumps often use high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) ratings. These ratings reflect the system’s efficiency in cooling and heating, respectively.
However, depending on the age of your heating or cooling system, it may not have labels attached to it. In that case, there are still other ways to help you identify your AC or heat pump.
Check for Emergency Heat Setting on The Thermostat
The first clue to identifying a heat pump is to check your thermostat settings. Heat pumps have a unique feature known as a reversing valve, which allows them to switch between heating and cooling modes.
If your thermostat has options for both heating and cooling, there’s a good chance you have a heat pump.
However, it’s not a guarantee. It’s also possible you have a furnace or boiler providing heat.
If your thermostat includes an emergency heating option, then your unit is a heat pump.
Outdoor Heating and Cooling System Examination
Another way to determine if you have a heat pump is to inspect the outdoor unit of your HVAC system.
Heat pumps have an outdoor unit that looks nearly identical to an air conditioning unit. Look for a metal cabinet with a fan on the top — this is the heat pump’s compressor unit. If you see this component, it’s a good indication that your system includes a heat pump.
Dual Fuel System
Some homes are equipped with a dual fuel system, which combines a heat pump with a backup heating source, such as a gas furnace.
In such cases, the heat pump typically handles heating during milder weather, while the backup system kicks in during frigid temperatures. If you have a dual fuel system, your HVAC controls may show the use of a heat pump.
Still Can’t Tell If You Have a Heat Pump or AC? Consult with a Professional
Determining if you have a heat pump involves checking thermostat settings, inspecting the outdoor unit, considering a dual fuel system, reviewing energy efficiency ratings, and seeking professional advice.
By understanding these key indicators, you’ll be better equipped to know and appreciate the HVAC system in your home.
If you still don’t know what kind of heating system you have, don’t hesitate to reach out to a qualified HVAC professional for assistance. Stay comfortable and energy-efficient with the right knowledge about your heating and cooling system.
When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional HVAC technician. A technician can inspect your system, identify its components, and provide accurate information about whether you have a heat pump.
If you don’t feel like your HVAC unit or heat pump is working the way it should, or it’s having trouble circulating air in your home, you may need to contact a duct sealing company or specialist in your area. Get a quote from Aeroseal today!