Guide to Mini-Splits vs. Heat Pumps
Are you searching for a reliable, reasonably priced home comfort system? If electricity is the better or only choice available to you, a central heat pump or ductless mini-split could be perfect for your home. Both systems function on electric power and run in heating and cooling modes for year-round comfort. So, is it a heat pump or mini-split for you? If you’re still trying to figure it out, get the details about each HVAC system to help you settle on a make and model.
What Is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump is a kind of central climate control system. Different from a furnace, which creates usable heat for the home by burning a fuel source, a heat pump transfers heat from one place to another. In the winter, it draws heat energy from the air outside and deposits 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 pull heat and humidity from indoor air and vent it outside.
What Is a Mini-Split?
A mini-split operates on the same principle as a heat pump. Actually, it is a kind of heat pump — but although they don’t use the ductwork. This is why it’s called a “ductless” system. A mini-split could be a ceiling- or wall-mounted unit with a built-in air handler. This indoor portion links directly to an outdoor condensing unit from a small hole drilled through the wall. Various indoor units can link up with a single outdoor unit, allowing for whole-home comfort with no ductwork required.
Making Your Decision
Below are significant things to review when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your the U.S. home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a standard furnace and central AC system, the needed ductwork infrastructure is already in place. In this situation, installing a heat pump is likely the more practical option.
On the other hand, if you live in an older home or have just made an addition, you may not have ductwork where you want climate control. In this case, installing a mini-split is much less complex and is more affordable 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 adjusting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a accessible location. Having said that, ductless mini-splits use a remote that lets you adjust each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.
If you’re content with adjusting the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be required. But you can enhance home comfort and conserve energy by heating and cooling separate rooms individually.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be incorporated into a central heat pump system by setting up multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be more straightforward and more affordable to install mini-splits in rooms with distinct temperature needs, whether they’re heated and cooled by a central HVAC system or not.
Heat pumps don’t prioritize flexibility. Instead, they can replace your existing furnace and air conditioner and supply whole-house comfort with help from a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have more options for where you can put the unit. You can install one in a single room that you would otherwise find tough to keep comfortable. You can mount one in a modified garage or sunroom without new ductwork. You can also outfit the entire house with a mini-split air handler in each room, all hooked up to the outdoor condensing unit for affordable operation.
Today’s heat pumps are more efficient than ever. There are even cold-climate versions offered for a performance boost at low temperatures.
All the same, ductless mini-splits are basically more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses connected with leaky ductwork. A normal home wastes more than 20% of the air traveling through the ductwork to inadequate air sealing or a lack of insulation. This suggests that a mini-split is likely to produce the same quantity of hot or cold air at a lower cost.
Heat pumps look almost identical to central air conditioners. The outdoor unit is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler within a utility closet or space in the basement.
On the other hand, mini-splits are more noticeable. The air handlers come in sleek jackets designed to be unnoticeable, but they are clearly visible in any room in which they are installed on the wall or ceiling.
Schedule Heat Pump or Mini-Split Installation
No matter which decision you make, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can accomplish the professional installation you expect. 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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