Are you searching for a efficient, affordable home comfort system? If electricity is the ideal or only option available to you, a central heat pump or ductless mini-split could be perfect for your home. Both systems run on electric power and operate in heating and cooling modes for 365 days of comfort. So, have you made your choice? If you’re still trying to figure it out, get the details about each HVAC system to help you make your mind up.
A heat pump is a kind of central climate control system. As opposed to a furnace, which generates usable heat for the home by igniting a fuel source, a heat pump transfers heat from one place to another. In the winter, it draws heat energy from the air outdoors and redirects it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve enables it to perform this process backward in the summer, behaving the same as an AC system to remove heat and humidity from indoor air and vent it outside.
A mini-split works on the same principle as a heat pump. In fact, it is a kind of heat pump — minus the ductwork. That’s why it’s called a “ductless” system. A mini-split is designed as a ceiling- or wall-mounted unit with a built-in air handler. This indoor portion hooks up directly to an outdoor condensing unit via a tiny hole drilled through the wall. Several indoor units can link up with a single outdoor unit, enabling whole-home comfort with no ductwork necessary.
Here are significant things to consider when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your the U.S. home.
If your home is already heated and cooled with a conventional furnace and air conditioner, the required ductwork infrastructure is already in place. So in this case, installing a heat pump is likely the more affordable solution.
That being said, if you live in an older home or have added on to the home, you may not have ductwork in reach. In this case, getting a mini-split is much less involved and costs far less than installing in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are managed in a way similar to most other central heating and cooling systems: by setting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a convenient location. Having said that, ductless mini-splits use a remote that lets you control each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.
If you’re happy with controlling the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be necessary. If it is, you can increase home comfort and save energy by heating and cooling separate rooms individually.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be incorporated into a central heat pump system by using multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be simpler and more affordable to install mini-splits in rooms with precise temperature needs, whether they’re heated and cooled by a central HVAC system or not.
Heat pumps don’t focus on flexibility. Instead, they can replace your existing furnace and air conditioner and deliver whole-house comfort through a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have more choices for where you can put the unit. You can place one in a single room that you would otherwise find difficult to keep comfortable. You can mount one in a transformed garage or other home addition without new ductwork. You can also equip the entire home with a mini-split air handler in each room, all hooked up to the outdoor condensing unit for cost-effective operation.
Modern heat pumps are more efficient than ever. There are even cold-climate versions on the market for a performance boost at low temperatures.
All the same, ductless mini-splits are generally more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses connected with leaky ductwork. The average home wastes more than 20% of the air traveling through the ductwork to poor air sealing or a lack of insulation. This means that a mini-split is likely to offer the same quantity of hot or cold air at a lower cost.
Heat pumps look almost identical to central air conditioning units. The outdoor unit is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler stays within a utility closet or space in the basement.
By comparison, mini-splits are more noticeable. The air handlers come in sleek jackets designed to be unobtrusive, but they are clearly visible in any room in which they are positioned on the wall or ceiling.
No matter which decision you make, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can perform the professional installation you count upon. Our techs are ready to bring excellent products and services supported by our one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. To ask more questions about heat pumps vs. mini-splits or request an installation estimate, please contact your nearby Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.
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