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May 20, 2006


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Jill Wilson

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

Scott Hubbard

Good question! During the summer, a heat pump basically extracts heat from the air inside your home, and then transfers that heat to the outside air. A heat pump works similar to the way an air conditioner works during the summer. In the winter, however, a heat pump works in reverse. It takes heat from the air outside the home and moves it inside. A heat pump is considered to be one of the most efficient ways to cool and heat a house in the Valley.

Commercial Tech

During the summer, a heat pump basically extracts heat from the air inside your home, and then transfers that heat to the outside air. A heat pump works similar to the way an air conditioner works during the summer. In the winter, however, a heat pump works in reverse. It takes heat from the air outside the home and moves it inside. A heat pump is considered to be one of the most efficient ways to cool and heat a house in the Valley.

Posted by: Scott Hubbard | May 20, 2006 at 04:49 PM

Just thought I would let you know, you are a little off. A heat pump is a type of airconditioner, that is desighned to reverse the refrigerant flow in order to also be a heater. Now since your compressor has to run even in the winter, you have higher wear and a summertime like electric bill if it gets real cold. Another secret is what your compressor and misc. parts realy costed. All said and done, you will pay over $100/hr to any succesfull company, gimmick ad shop or amom and pop operation. Being mostly seasonal, warrantys given, and the specialized Epa regulated field,and 130* temps. it a good deal.

Scott Hubbard

Commerical Tech -

Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your input, but I believe it's just a more detailed restatement of what I stated above. I generally try to answer the questions posted to this blog in very simple terms so that my answers may be easily understood by anybody who reads them. However, I'm sure many of my readers will appreciate your more detailed description of how a heat pumps work, as well as the repair information you provided. Homewerx Home Inspections does not get into the repair aspect of heat pumps, we only inspect them.

Thanks again for stopping by!

Saundra Ann Palmer

I live in Phoenix and own a condo. All air conditioners are on the roof. Consequently, I hear the noise from the homeowner's air conditioner in my living room everytime she turns it on. She lives beneath my condo. The noise is unbearable. Can anything be done to her air conditioner to reduce the noise in my condo? The association arranged for a service call and the tecj put pads underneath but also said there was nothing else that could be done. I do not believe that the noise cannot be abated. Where do I go? What do I do? Of course, the money element comes into play because it is an added debt for the other homeowner to correct the problem. Help! Any referrals? Any suggestions? Summer will be here soon.

Scott Hubbard

Hi Saundra,
Sorry to hear about your noise problem. That is a common complaint I hear from many of my clients. I think that the service tech took the right approach as a first step. However, I'm not sure how much effort they will put into solving your problem. They probably are not making much money off a noise complaint and are not willing to put much time and effort into solving it.

Having said that, if the unit is running properly and there is nothing really wrong with the operation, there could be a few item to look at that might reduce the vibrations. It sounds like the unit might vibrate excessively and transfer that noise into your living space. I would first put the unit onto rubber pads. It sounds like they might have tried this already but they may have used wood instead of rubber. I would also have the fan balanced. If it is out of balance that will cause excessive vibrations. Also have them secure any loose covers and panels that might be banging together. These improvements may help reduce some of the noise but will probably not completely eliminate it.

The last thing I would try is to increase the level of insulation in the ceiling space. Most condos are not particularly well insulated. By adding additional insulation you will hopefully achieve 2 things, reduced noise and better energy efficiency in your unit.

I hope this helps or at least points you in the right direction.

PS. If this problem persists after thes improvements, I would consider having the HOA relocate the unit (as best possible) so it is not directly over your living space.

Good Luck :)


An air system is the only way to go and air conditioning is important to the long-term durability of your home. Air conditioning can add heat, moisture and humidity to the air of your home. You should know what size air conditioning system is needed. Some air conditioning units are generally quiet enough to be installed under a window or near a patio, so sleeping or the entertaining of guests is not disrupted. Centralized air systems are in the vast majority of "newer" homes.


Laurie Trotter

I am wondering I am buying a new home and had a Home inspection completed , but the company told me since the outside temps were in the 30's they could not test the air conditioner?
Doesn't there have to be a way to see if it is running fine? I would appreciate your expertise on this!

Scott Hubbard

Hi Laurie,

Thank you for stopping by our blog! To answer your question, your home inspection company was correct. When the ambient air temperature is below 60 degrees, it's NOT recommended that you run the AC because it could damage the system. Your home inspector should have still done a visual inspection of the unit. However, a visual inspection will not reveal all defects. You should have your unit serviced and checked out by an AC professional as soon as the temperature is warm enough to run it.

If you suspect there might be an issue with the AC in the home you're buying, but it's too cold to run the AC before you buy it, you may want to invest in a Home Warranty (be sure to read the fine print and know what is covered). You should also make sure the sellers disclose everything they know about the AC unit, including the last time it was serviced. You might even talk to your Realtor about perhaps including clauses in your contract which state a specific remedy if it turns out the unit doesn't work properly. I believe the standard AZ real estate contract requires the cooling system to be in working order at close of escrow, but verify that with your real estate agent. Even if the AC unit works, if you know it's older and will need replacement soon, perhaps you could negotiate some money towards a new unit/repairs.

Hope this information helps. Good luck with your new home!

Sean O'Rear


You have very good information on your blog and I appreciate your opinions in the home inspection field. Keep it up!

Sean O'Rear

Slonek Air Conditioning

It is true that an air conditioner and heat pump is no doubt the most expensive electronic appliance in any house. This is quite an informative article on the warning signs of these machines.

Geothermal Heat Pump Reviews

The difference between a heat pump and an air conditioner is that a heat pump allows you to have heat as well. I am actually using a geothermal heat pump system and have been for about 8 years now. They are great units to have and are very efficient, even if the installation and initial cost is high. Also, a geothermal heat pump can be used for radiant flooring and hot water, given that you make sure that you get those features when you are looking to buy.

new gas furnace

This one really useful information. In heat pump a filter whistle device is used that indicates clogged filter or a warning sign to change the filter. Thanks for this information, keep sharing.

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