Heat Pump vs. Straight Cool Systems: Which One is Right For My Home?

heat pump vs straight cool systems shreveport

Choosing the right cooling and heating system for your home can be overwhelming. Below, the HVAC experts at Pioneer Comfort Systems break down the two most common cooling systems: the heat pump and the straight cool system. 

How to Know When to Replace Your HVAC System in Louisiana

Typically air conditioners should be replaced when they reach 10 or 15 years old. You may notice that it may be time for a replacement air conditioner if you’re experiencing a higher electric bill and the air conditioning unit isn’t cooling properly.

Here are some other indicators that it might be time to replace your Shreveport air conditioning system:

  • Your cooling system is over ten years old
  • The AC unit requires frequent repairs
  • Some rooms in your home are hotter or colder than others
  • You’re having issues with humidity in your home
  • Your air conditioner is noisy while it’s running

When it’s time to replace your air conditioner, the Shreveport HVAC experts at Pioneer Comfort Systems will help you decide on the right cooling system for your home. To schedule an appointment with one of our technicians, call 318-378-5729 today.

What’s the Difference Between Heat Pump Systems and Straight Cool Systems?

heat pump vs straight cool systems

Heat pump systems and straight cool systems differ in their methods of heating. Heat pumps run a cooling cycle during the colder months by absorbing heat from the outside and bringing it inside. On the other hand, straight cool systems only provide a cooling cycle but can include electric heat strips. Both systems provide heat for your home, but determining which cooling and heating system is right for your home can be difficult. 

What is a Heat Pump System?

In the colder months, the heat pump system takes heat from cold outdoor air and transfers heat inside. In the warmer months, it uses the reversing valve to remove the hot air from inside your home and pushes it outside to cool your home.

How does a heat pump work?

Heat pumps use refrigerants and are powered by electricity. Since heat pumps can provide both warm and cold air, homeowners don’t need to install a separate system. Heat pumps are also environmentally friendly since they don’t burn fossil fuels like furnaces. 

Types of Heat Pumps

When choosing a heat pump system, there are several types: Geothermal (Ground-Source), Air-to-Air, or Water-Source. The most common type of residential heat pump is the air-source heat pump. This system pulls heat from the outside air to heat your home. 

One advantage to installing a heat pump in Louisiana is that these systems are better at dehumidifying the home than straight cool units while in cooling mode. A system that can efficiently remove humidity in your home can make your home more comfortable and increase the air quality.

Another type of heat pump is the water-sourced unit. These heat pumps require a body of water or a cooling tower to function. Despite being energy efficient, these heat pumps are usually used in large commercial buildings. 

The third type is geothermal heat pumps. These heat pumps use the differences in the temperature between the ground and air to provide warm and cold air. While they are very eco-friendly, they can cost homeowners between $15,000 to $25,000 for installation alone.

What is a Straight Cool AC Heat Strip System?

A straight cool HVAC system has an air conditioner that uses a condensing unit and air handler to provide cool air in your home. The condensing unit removes moisture from the air to lower the temperature. Then the air handler distributes that cold air throughout your house. Straight cooling systems use electric heat strips to run in heating mode during the winter. Even though straight cool AC systems are typically less expensive than heat pumps, they use more electricity to function. 

How Do I Choose Between a Heat Pump System and a Straight Cool System?

difference between a heat pump and straight cool system

When choosing between a straight cool system and a heat pump, there are several factors to consider. Below, we’ll break down some variables to think about when shopping for a new cooling system. 


Here in Louisiana, our climate stays relatively mild throughout the year, so a heat pump should provide efficient heating for homes in the area. However, heat pumps may not provide enough warmth in climates where the temperature falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Homes in these types of areas may require an additional heating system.  

Comfort Level 

When looking for a new cooling and heating system, it’s also important to consider your comfort level. Heat pumps and straight cool systems provide heat for your home, but the method they do so is different. For instance, furnaces can heat a home quickly, but they are known to leave cold spots. You may find that you prefer that you prefer the comfort level of one system over the other. 

Energy Efficiency

Compared to straight cool systems, heat pumps are more energy efficient. The current heat pump systems on the market can provide your home with heat energy for as much as 50% less electricity than furnaces. When shopping, you’ll want to find a heat pump efficiency rating of at least 8.2, while the straight cool system efficiency rating should be over 13. 

Heat Pump vs. AC: Pros and Cons

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As you can see, both the heat pump and straight cool system can be good choices for your home. However, it’s essential to weigh these advantages and disadvantages before deciding.

Heat Pump Pros and Cons

The pros of heat pumps include:

  • Heat pumps are the most energy-efficient heat source, According to the Department of Energy.
  • A heat pump provides a consistent temperature level throughout your home.
  • Many models of heat pumps are equipped with backup electric heat strips in case the temperature gets below freezing. 

The cons of heat pumps include:

  • Heat pumps can cost more than straight cool systems in the beginning. 
  • At first, a heat pump may take longer to heat your home. 

Heat Strips Pros and Cons

The pros of heat strips include:

  • Air conditioners with electric heat strips are less expensive than heat pumps.
  • Electric heat strips work fast to heat your home.
  • In cooling mode, air conditioners with heat strips may be more efficient. 

The cons of heat strips include:

  • Heat strips aren’t very energy efficient and result in higher electric bills.
  • While the air conditioner is running, the heat strips can sometimes kick on, which puts an additional load on the system.

Contact Pioneer Comfort Systems For All of Your Shreveport Heating and Cooling System Needs

shreveport heat pump installation

Pioneer Comfort System has you covered when purchasing your heat pump or straight cool system. We offer only the best in HVAC systems, American Standard, and we’ve been providing Shreveport HVAC installation services for decades. When deciding between a straight cool system and a heat pump, our HVAC technicians can help. We will evaluate your home and listen to your heating and cooling needs. To schedule an appointment with one of our HVAC experts, call us today at 318-378-5729.