air-to-air heat pump

Air conditioning and air-to-air heat pump: what is the difference?

If you have realized your dream and built a country house, then you are probably thinking about choosing a source of heating and cooling air. If your cottage has only electricity and the area of the house is comparable to the apartment, you can use a stove or fireplace in conjunction with electric convectors. But what if the area of the house is from 60 square meters and there is no extra money to pay large bills?

Pay attention to the air-to-air system. It is often called a heat pump, and this is the most correct of all names. However, many people continue to use the term «air conditioner», although in this case it is not very applicable, and later we will explain why.

And we will also tell you what such an air heating and cooling system is, what are its advantages and disadvantages, what are the key features of the operation of an air-to-air heat pump. After reading it, you can decide whether to purchase a heat pump as the main source of heat and cold in your home.

This article is more about the air-to-air heat pump. If you are interested in air conditioners, read other articles on our website.

General information

The heat pump is a relatively new air heating and cooling system in our market. Externally, this system is very similar to the usual split-air conditioning, which we often see in apartments. There is an outdoor and indoor unit, which are connected together in a single system, controlled by a remote control.

heat pump for home

However, the similarities end there. A heat pump is a fundamentally different device. The system collects heat energy from the street, converts it and then uses it to heat and cool the room.

At the same time, the minimum amount of electricity is used. Air-to-air heat pumps are very energy efficient. With their help, you can warm or cool large areas without compromising your wallet and the environment. It is not for nothing that heat pumps are actively used in the developed countries of Europe, where electricity is more expensive than any other energy source.

Air conditioner and heat pump: what is the difference?

We have already said that the use of the term «air conditioner» is not correct. And all because the air conditioner in the usual sense of the word and the heat pump are two fundamentally different devices. Yes, they are very similar in appearance, but their essence is radically different.

The heat pump is primarily designed for heating. Yes, it can also be used to cool the air, but this is far from the primary function. And on the contrary, the air conditioner requires cooling, heating is not available in all models, especially budget ones.

air-to-air heat pump

You should understand that a heat pump is not very effective as a source of air cooling. It is inferior to the air conditioner in all respects. At the same time, the air conditioner will never be able to heat the room as efficiently and inexpensively as a heat pump. These devices are designed for different purposes.

It is for this reason that it is worth calling heat pumps air conditioners, and air conditioners-heat pumps.

If you need a high — quality replacement for a bored fan on hot days, buy an air conditioner. Well, if you want to heat a large house inexpensively and efficiently — take a closer look at the heat pump. At the moment, this is the most economical heating system available, which is inferior only to gas.

Advantages and disadvantages

A heat pump is a technically complex system that has its pros and cons. Before purchasing the air-to-air system, familiarize yourself with all the nuances to understand what you need to prepare for in advance.


  • The system is universal and suitable for heating houses of any size, and can also be used in cooling mode and partially replace the air conditioner;

  • Gorenje heat pump is eco-friendly and does not pollute the environment with combustion products. In the CIS countries, few understand the scale of the problem, but in Europe, every homeowner is trying to fight global warming;

  • The system is easy and fast to install. You can entrust the installation to an ordinary company that installs air conditioners;

  • Heat pumps are fire-safe, unlike stoves, fireplaces and boilers that run on fuel or solid fuel;

  • The system is very economical and will significantly save on electricity when heating even a large house. This is especially true if there is no gas in your locality and it is not expected;

  • Heat pumps are reliable. The only technically difficult part is the compressor. It needs to be serviced regularly, but it is a simple and inexpensive task. In addition, compressors rarely fail if they are regularly monitored;

  • The heat pump operates in automatic mode. You only need to first set the operating mode. Even a child can cope with this task.


  • Noise. It is insignificant, but at night it can interfere with particularly sensitive households;

  • Increased amount of dust in the air due to constant convection. Frequent wet cleaning saves you;

  • Requires uninterrupted power supply. The generator partially copes with the problem;

  • High cost during initial installation;

  • Suitable for air heating only. For water, you will need a separate device;

  • Low efficiency when used in frosts below -10 degrees Celsius.

Learn more about working in the cold weather

No wonder heat pumps are so popular in central Europe, where frosts are traditionally not as strong as in Siberia or other cold regions of Russia. After all, one of the key disadvantages of such a system is inefficient operation at temperatures below -10 degrees Celsius. The colder it is, the more electricity is needed for the heat pump to function properly. In this case, all the efficiency of this system is lost.

heat pump from old air conditioner

If you plan to use a heat pump in an area with heavy frosts, look for another heating system or use the pump in conjunction with the stove/fireplace.

If your house is built of wood or SIP panels and frosts below -10 degrees last no more than one or two weeks, you can do just one heat pump. In all other cases, it is definitely not enough to effectively heat the premises.

Working principle

Let’s take a closer look at the principle of operation of an air-to-air heat pump. Despite all its adaptability, the heat pump is very similar to a conventional refrigerator. Their principles of operation have a lot in common.

Inside a standard household refrigerator, there are thin pipes through which the refrigerating agent circulates. During operation, the refrigerator heats up. This heat interferes with the cooling of the food, so it is collected in the heat exchanger (on the grates at the back of the refrigerator) and given to the room. Thus, the room is not significantly heated, but it is heated.

In this case, the refrigerating agent must be constantly cooled, since it has its own operating temperature. The built-in compressor copes with this task. In fact, for the normal operation of the refrigerator, it is enough only to ensure the operation of the compressor. And this requires very little electricity.

The heat pump works on the same principle. That’s just the heat it collects from the street, but converts the same way as a regular refrigerator. It does not matter what the temperature is outside the window. Even at sub-zero temperatures, the heat pump collects heat from the atmosphere.

heat pump

And for the efficient operation of the heat pump, it is only enough to provide the compressor with constant electricity. For this reason, heat pumps consume almost the same amount of energy as a conventional refrigerator, but adjusted for the power of the entire air-to-air system. After all, a heat pump can fully heat rooms, unlike a refrigerator grill.


Air-to-air heat pumps are one of the most efficient and modern heating systems. Also, such a system can work in cooling mode, but not as effectively as the usual air conditioner.

Do not confuse a heat pump and an air conditioner. These devices are similar in many ways, but are designed for different purposes. Heat pumps perfectly cope with the heating of large houses, while using a minimum of electricity. Air conditioners are mostly designed to cool the air, in this case they have no equal.

Have you ever encountered an air-to-air system? Share your impressions in the comments below. Your advice and recommendations will be useful for many private homeowners. Good luck!

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