My dad showed me pictures of both the outside units for a central HVAC system and a heat pump and I couldn’t tell the difference.
After living in their home for 13 years, it was time for my parents to update their HVAC system. I saw them spend a lot of time researching various heat and air equipment, trying to find the best option. My dad even spoke on the phone with at least 3 different HVAC professionals about their situation. There’s no telling how many more he called when I wasn’t around. When I asked them what they were planning to do, they said they had two options. They could either replace both their furnace and air conditioner separately, which was considered their central HVAC system, or they could install a heat pump. I didn’t know what the difference was, so my dad explained it to me in simple terms. In a central HVAC system, the air conditioner was responsible for cooling, while the furnace was responsible for heating. Neither the air conditioner or furnace could do the opposite. For instance, an air conditioner could only cool and a furnace could only heat. A heat pump could do both heat and cool. My dad showed me pictures of both the outside units for a central HVAC system and a heat pump and I couldn’t tell the difference. They looked very similar! I asked him if there was a difference in energy or efficiency and he assured me that there wasn’t. They currently had a central HVAC system, so they were leaning toward keeping the existing plan and just updating it. My dad thought it would be easier.