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Which Needs More Repairs: Central AC or Heat Pumps?

Heat Pump Problems

If you’re a homeowner trying to decide between getting a central air conditioning system or a heat pump system, you’ve undoubtedly weighed the pros and cons of each in an attempt to make a decision. One question we often get from homeowners with this predicament is, “Which needs more repairs: central AC or heat pumps?”

This is a great question to ask because being aware of the potential costs of your new system over its lifespan plays a significant role in choosing a new system. Let’s go over potential repair needs for both heat pumps and central AC systems and things you can do to decrease the need for HVAC repair in Clear Springs no matter which system you choose.

How Heat Pumps and Central Air Conditioning Systems Work

The first thing you should know is that heat pumps actually use the same technology as central AC systems. This is confusing to a lot of homeowners who assume that heat pumps use a completely different type of technology. But both systems work by compressing refrigerant and their set-up is the same with both an indoor and outdoor unit.

The only real difference between heat pumps and central air systems is that a heat pump has a reversing valve. This is the component that allows the heat pump to switch from cooling to heating mode. This is why many homeowners choose heat pumps–they provide year-round comfort.

Sometimes, the reversing valve can get “stuck” or can fail entirely due to wear and tear and age. This is a major difference between the two system’s repair needs. However, a reversing valve is a fairly easy fix for an experienced HVAC company and doesn’t necessarily happen to all heat pumps. 

Factors Influencing Repair Needs

Several factors influence the potential repair needs of central AC and heat pump systems. For example, having a professional HVAC contractor properly size the system and install it are crucial for success. 

Also, changing the air filter is essential for system performance. The air filter should be changed every 1-3 months for both systems. However, if you go with a ductless heat pump (also known as a mini split system), you’ll need to clean the filter on every air handler which could be a somewhat arduous process when you have 5-6 air handlers.

Tips for Minimizing Repairs and Extending Lifespan

To minimize repair needs and extend the lifespan of both heat pumps and central AC systems, regular maintenance is crucial. Heat pumps need maintenance twice a year and central air conditioning systems need maintenance once a year. Heat pumps need tune-ups “more frequently” because they are used year-round. However, the frequency is essentially the same as getting a central furnace tune-up and a central AC tune-up.

Ultimately, the decision between central AC and heat pumps should consider factors beyond repair costs, such as energy efficiency, lifespan, and overall performance. If you’re still not sure which system is best for your home, contact us for an honest opinion.

At Hagerstown Heating & Cooling, we want to protect customers from Google and other contractors in Hagerstown, MD. Honesty at Its Best. 

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