Many modern heating and cooling systems are total climate control systems. An air conditioner and a heat pump are two sides of the same coin; we are often referring to complimentary functions of the same mechanism. When it comes to wintertime, the function that matters is the heat pump, extracting heat from outside air and circulating it inside the house. There is no difference in the quality and quantity of cooling and heating from a heat pump and that from other cooling and heating systems. In fact, a heat pump can expend 30 to 60 percent less energy to supply the same heat as compared to an electric furnace with a resistance heating element.
While the temperature of the air supplied by a heat pump is not as hot at the source as the air supplied by a fossil fuel furnace, the end result is the same: a warm, comfortable home. Air temperature from a heat pump at room outlets normally is about 100 degrees Fahrenheit compared to about 120 to 130 degrees from a fossil fuel furnace. The heat pump warming effect thus is something like warming your bath water more gradually and uniformly by turning the hot water faucet to a moderately warm setting rather than turning the faucet all the way to maximum hot water.
The only caveat to a heat pump is that the system works best when the outdoor temperature is above freezing. Below that, supplementary heat often is needed. For this reason, virtually all heat pumps are now available with supplemental electrical heat. Some heat pumps are used in conjunction with a fossil fuel heating system such as gas or oil. Whether supplemental heating is necessary depends on your climate and home location. We at Comfort Control Heating and Air Conditioning can advise you as to whether supplemental heat is necessary, and what type of heat pump might be best for your needs.