Due to the popularity of the HVAC system and its use in households and facilities, many manufacturers and their engineering team worked their brains off to ensure consumers are getting maximum efficiency from the unit. Sometimes the target of increased efficiency involves ensuring less consumption, sometimes the goal is to increase the lifespan of the air conditioning units and sometimes the aim is to keep relatively bigger space controlled in terms of temperature with a relatively small AC unit. These are the primary reason why we see diversified HVAC systems in the market.

They differ in size, functionality, energy consumptions, capacity, portability and efficiency. These heating and cooling units are broadly categorized into 6 different types on the basis of their work function.

1.       Heat Pump

2.       Water Source Heat Pump

3.       Rooftop Units

4.       Split HVAC System

5.       Ductless HVAC system

6.       Packaged HVAC system


Most of them are fairly disguisable by their appearance, work function and name. However, the confusion remains with Heat Pumps & Water Source Heat Pumps. Many Speculate that Heat Pump is the short form Water Source Heat Pump, which far from the truth. That’s why, to mitigate the confusion around these two, today, I’m going point out the differences between them.

But first, the million-dollar question.


Why do you need to know the difference between Heat Pump & Water Source Heat Pump?

First of all, if you already know the difference between a Heat Pump and a Water Source Heat Pump, it is best if you skip right now because from here on, you will find it silly as I’m not explaining it from an engineer’s perspective. Even though I am an engineer and I myself distinguish between them from an engineer’s perspective, I want to use this opportunity to explain the differences between the Heat Pump & Water Source Heat Pump to the consumers level masses because I realized that there is a serious lack of contents on HVAC system for consumers and I want to feel the void. So, you have been warned.

First of all, as a consumer, if you know that system and how they work, you can estimate the AC repair cost for these two systems and be prepared for the situations. This is very important for a consumer level people to whom the AC maintenance & repair cost is not something to take lightly.

Secondly, knowing these two systems by heart will allow you to decide whether or not you need a Heat Pump or the Water Source Heat Pump. This will be the commercial HVAC installation or AC installation cost worthwhile.

Now that you why should you finish reading the whole article, let’s jump into some of your main differences between a Heat Pump and A Water Source Heat Pump.


How do they work?

Let’s talk about heat pumps first.

Heat pumps don’t work like a traditional central ac unit. Instead of pushing the air from the room outside, the heat pumps push back the air inside the room again. Basically, they use the extracted heat from outside to heat controlled environment in the room.

Unlike a central air conditioner, heat pumps just extract the heat from outside and transfers the heat inside. However, the Heat Pump HVAC system is capable of cooling too. When it is cooling, it just reverses the cycle.

These heat pumps are very popular and the market is flooded with heat pumps for Carrier systems, Trane systems and GoodMan.

Now let’s talk about Water Source Heat Pump and how they work.

The water source heat pumps are a sustainable take on the heat pump. Ideally, they can be categorized as geothermal heat pumps. For it to work, the unit needs to be in close proximity to a water source. That’s why they are not as popular as the heat pumps. However, their popularity is increasing day by day as people are understanding the needs for sustainable solutions for every problem.

The geothermal heat pumps offer both heating & cooling as they transfer heat into or out of the grounds under you by taking the advantage of the thermal temperature of the earth, which boosts the efficiency of the system.


Advantages of Heat Pumps vs. Water Source Heat Pumps

Both Heat Pumps & Water Source heat pumps have their own advantages over the other.

While the heat pumps are capable of both heating and cooling, the cooling offered by them is not as efficient as the other air conditioning unit out there. That’s why for cooling, water source heat pumps have the upper hand. However, for commercial HVAC system offering heating only, there is no comparison of heat pumps as they offer 4 times more efficient in heating than any other system.

Also, the water source heat pumps or the geothermal heat pumps require to be in close proximity of water or ground but the heat pumps are not bounded by these limitations which gives it more flexibility for use.


Which one would you need?

If you are living in a relatively cold environment then heat pumps are best for you as they will extract the heat from outside and make the environment inside the room cozier.

But if you are inserted in sustainable heating and cooling, the water source heat pumps are the one you should go with. Unfortunately, they come with some limitations, if you are capable of overcoming the limitation, water source heat pumps are the ones you should go for.


Bottom Line

Knowing the ins and outs of the Heat Pumps and Water Source Heat Pumps will help you estimate the AC Replacement costs and HVAC cost for purchasing a new unit. Also, they could also help you estimate the AC services & repair cost including more common costs of HVAC system maintenance like air duct cleaning. So, it’s a good thing you stuck around because now, you’ll be to make sound decisions on the HVAC system purchase and maintenance options.