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Heat Pumps vs. Central AC: Which Is Best for Georgia Homes?

Choosing the right HVAC system is of the utmost importance when it comes to maintaining comfort in your Atlanta home.

With hot and humid summers and mild winters, Georgia’s climate makes it essential to have an efficient cooling system. While several options are available, two choices stand out: heat pumps and central air conditioning systems.

If you’re deciding which HVAC system to install, you need to know how they work and the factors to consider when choosing between them.

How Do Heat Pumps Work?

Mounted heat pump on brick home

Heat pumps are versatile HVAC systems that provide both heating and cooling for your home. They work by transferring heat from one place to another, using the refrigeration cycle.

In the summer, a heat pump extracts heat from the indoor air and releases it outside, effectively cooling your home.

During winter, the process is reversed, and the heat pump extracts heat from the outside air — even in cold temperatures — and brings it indoors to heat your home.

This dual functionality makes heat pumps an energy-efficient option for year-round heating and cooling since they don’t rely on burning fuel to produce heat.

How Do Central Air Conditioners Work?

Side view of central air conditioner in a home's yard

Central air conditioning only cools your home. It operates by removing heat from indoor air and expelling it outside.

Central AC systems use a compressor, condenser, and evaporator coil to circulate refrigerant, cooling the indoor air in the process.

These systems are highly effective at providing quick and reliable cooling, making them a staple in many homes — especially in warmer climates like Georgia.

Factors That Affect Your Choice Between a Heat Pump & Central AC


Central AC systems are generally easier and less expensive to install. They typically require a straightforward setup with an outdoor condenser unit and an indoor air handler.

Heat pumps, however, can be a bit more complex due to their dual heating and cooling capabilities. The installation cost may vary depending on your existing HVAC setup and the complexity of the installation.


In terms of operating costs, heat pumps often provide energy savings throughout the year, as they are more efficient in moderate climates.

Central AC systems can be cost-effective for cooling, but heating from a furnace is where you’d likely lose out on energy savings.


Both heat pumps and central AC systems need routine maintenance to ensure proper function and long life spans.

Central AC needs annual maintenance, while heat pumps require twice-annual tune-ups due to their year-round operation.


Heat pumps excel in providing both heating and cooling, making them a year-round comfort solution.

Central AC, as the name suggests, is primarily designed for cooling during the warmer months.


The life span of both systems can vary but is typically around 15 to 20 years with regular maintenance.

You won’t have to worry about surprise breakdowns and premature replacement if you keep your unit in good repair.


New heat pumps and central ACs can add value to your home. Many homeowners can get tax credits and rebates for installing energy-efficient heat pumps.

Which System Is Right for Your Atlanta Home?

In Georgia, the climate plays a significant role in your HVAC system choice. Heat pumps are well-suited for the state’s climate, providing efficient heating and cooling throughout the year.

However, if you decide to use central AC, pairing it with an electric furnace is the most energy-efficient and cost-effective option for Georgia homes. Electricity is also more affordable than gas here, so electric-powered HVAC systems are a great option.

Ultimately, choosing between a heat pump and a central AC depends on your specific needs, budget, and preferences. Consulting with a professional HVAC technician can help you make an informed decision based on your home’s unique requirements.

Request Heat Pump or AC Installation From UAT

If you’re in Georgia and need expert HVAC installation, don’t hesitate to reach out to United Air Temp today.

We’re here to help you choose the best comfort solution for your home to ensure your year-round comfort.

Call (770) 232-6120 to request a free estimate and schedule an HVAC installation appointment to keep your Georgia home at the perfect temperature!

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testimonial_image The tech was at my home less than 10 minutes and gone within 20 minutes due to having my A/C up and running. I really appreciate his response to my home and working with my son due to me being out of town, but we spoke on the phone.
testimonial_image The technician arrived promptly, wore a mask, was very courteous and professional. I am generally very satisfied with service by United Air Temp. In addition to good service (they repair well), it is easy to speak to a person, and promptly. Thank you.
testimonial_image Great service! I called because I was under the impression the AC was not working upstairs. Someone came on the same day, checked out the system, and ensured everything was working. He was polite, thorough, and friendly.
testimonial_image Tech was very attentive and professional. He went out his way to explain everything to me as he was doing it. I appreciated him keeping me informed.
testimonial_image The service technician was awesome! He spent the extra time necessary to ensure the leak in our system was fixed, the system fully recharged and everything was functioning as it should. He was extremely thorough and very professional. We are extremely pleased with the result!

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