How Is a Heat Pump Different From an Air Conditioner or Furnace?

Heat pumps are a one-stop shop. A single unit provides both heating and cooling for your Colorado home. Plus, it works way more efficiently than a traditional HVAC system. 

Heat pumps can reduce your electricity use for heating by approximately 50 percent compared to furnaces and baseboard heaters, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). High-efficiency heat pumps also do a better job of dehumidifying than a standard air conditioner.

Carrier Colorado quickly and conveniently connects you with a network of factory-certified dealers in your area. Get in touch with an expert near you––we’re happy to answer any of your questions about heating, air conditioning, or indoor air quality (IAQ). 

What Are Heat Pumps? 

Air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) are Colorado’s most widely-used heat pumps. They keep your home at a comfortable temperature by adding or removing heat from the air. Here’s how it works: 


Refrigerant is a chemical substance that can easily transform from liquid to gas and vice versa. Heat pumps, AC units, and refrigerators all use it. 

Heat Transfer Process

Heat binds to the refrigerant. The ASHP uses this to add or subtract heat from your home. Refrigerant moves through a line from the indoor component to the outdoor compressor, cycling between its liquid and gas states.

On a hot day, the ASHP removes heat from your home and blows it outside. On a cool day, the process works in reverse––concentrated heat gets harvested from the outdoors and sent indoors. 

Air Handlers

The ASHP has a helper––the air handler. Air handlers use a system of fans to provide ventilation. This circulates the conditioned air through your ductwork, which comes out of your vents and makes your living space a comfortable temperature. 

How Is a Heat Pump Different From an AC? 

The cooling process is similar for AC units and ASHPs. An AC removes heat and humidity from the air and sends it outside. However, an AC unit can only cool. Therefore, it must be paired with a heating system such as a furnace or boiler. 

How Is a Heat Pump Different From a Furnace? 

Gas and oil furnaces rely on combustion to create warmth, whereas ASHPs use heat that already exists in the air. A furnace ignites the fuel, which generates hot air. Next, the hot air gets captured by the heat exchanger. Finally, the blowers move the heat through your ducts to warm up your home. 

Why Choose a Heat Pump?

Heat pumps require a bit more upfront investment than other HVAC products. Still, they can help you save massively on utilities over time due to their high efficiency. For instance, the infinity® 24 heat pump with greenspeed® intelligence has a SEER rating of 24. 

Older models had difficulty operating in subfreezing weather conditions. However, today’s heat pumps pack the power to warm your home, even on the coldest days in Colorado. 

Find a Certified Carrier Expert in Your Neighborhood. 

Need HVAC assistance? Find a Dealer! Call Carrier Colorado today at 303-479-4813 or request service online, and let us help you find a factory-certified Carrier dealer near you.