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Heat Pump vs Air Conditioner
Heat pumps and air conditioners share all internal components, but their mode of operation is quite different. The mode of operation for heat pumps is known as the reverse refrigeration cycle, whereas air conditioners operate on a regular vapor compression cycle.
However, there’s a host of other factors that differentiate the two.
Air conditioners are mainly used for cooling purposes, and maintaining conditions of comfort during high temperatures. As for heat pumps, their main function is to keep a room heated during very low atmospheric temperature conditions. However, the key difference between their uses is that a heat pump can be used for both heating and cooling purposes, while an air conditioner is strictly used to cool; although, if you are conscious about energy consumption, then an air conditioner will do better as its more energy efficient.
The condenser’s main function in a heat pump is to generate heating for the room, and it is put inside the room to be heated. The room is kept heated when air blows over the condenser and absorbs the heat, and then flows back into the room. However, the condenser in an air conditioner is used to expel heat into the atmosphere, and it is put outside of the room to be cooled.
The cooling effect provided by air conditioners is produced by the cooling coil, which is also the evaporator. This is the main functioning component in an air conditioner, and while it is located within the room to be cooled, in a heat pump it is located outside the room to be heated, and here it is used to absorb heat from the atmosphere that is at a lower temperature.