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What’s the difference between air conditioning and air-to-air heat pumps?

August 16, 2023

Nothing. That’s the short answer to this question.

Air conditioning provides cooling and heating – the same as an air-to-air (air source) heat pump. The confusion is usually because most people believe that air conditioning only provides cooling – some do but most provide both cooling and heating.

Air conditioning systems that provide both cooling and heating are known as air-to-air heat pumps. They are also classified as renewable energy, which is great news for homeowners because they qualify for zero VAT.

How do air-to-air heat pumps work?

A typical installation with comprise an outdoor condensing unit and one or more indoor units – known as a split system. The air-to-air heat pump system contains refrigerant which is used to transfer heat or cooling.

When in cooling mode, the air-to-air heat pump works in the same way as a refrigerator works. It extracts heat from inside the room and releases it outside via the condenser. It then provides cooled air via indoor units such as a wall-mounted unit, a floor-standing unit or via ceiling ducting.

When in heating mode, the process is reversed. The system will extract heat from the outside air (renewable heating) to provide indoor heating.

This renewable technology is ideal for small commercial facilities or residential properties because it can replace a gas boiler and significantly reduce your annual energy bills - with the added benefit of being able to enjoy low-cost heating AND cooling all year round.


If you would like to explore our range of air conditioning solutions further, please get in touch and one of our qualified engineers will happily show you the options for your type of property.