Are you searching for a reliable, budget-friendly home comfort system? If electricity is the better or only solution available to you, a central heat pump or ductless mini-split could be perfect for your home. Both systems operate 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 decide, get the details about each HVAC system to help you determine the right fit.
A heat pump is a type of central climate control system. Unlike a furnace, which creates usable heat for the home by igniting a fuel source, a heat pump moves heat from one place to another. In the winter, it extracts heat energy from the air outside and deposits it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve enables it to operate backward in the summer, running the same as an AC system to pull heat and humidity from indoor air and vent it outside.
A mini-split operates on the same principle as a heat pump. As a matter of fact, it is a kind of heat pump — minus the ductwork. That’s why it’s called a “ductless” system. A mini-split can be a ceiling- or wall-mounted unit with a built-in air handler. This indoor equipment links directly to an outdoor condensing unit through a tiny hole drilled into the wall. Multiple indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, enabling whole-home comfort with no ductwork required.
Here are the most important factors to think about when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your the U.S. home.
If your home is currently heated and cooled with a traditional furnace and air conditioner, the necessary ductwork infrastructure is already in place. Therefore, installing a heat pump is likely the more practical option.
On the other hand, if you live in an older home or have just completed a renovation, you might not have ductwork in reach. In this case, adding a mini-split is much less involved and is more affordable than putting 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 convenient location. Having said that, ductless mini-splits have a remote that lets you operate each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.
If you’re content with regulating the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be required. But you can enhance home comfort and save energy by heating and cooling separate rooms independently.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be incorporated into a central heat pump system by installing multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be simpler and more cost-effective to install mini-splits in rooms with precise temperature requirements, 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 offer whole-house comfort through a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have more options for where you can put the unit. You can add one in a single room that you would otherwise find challenging to keep comfortable. You could mount one in a transformed garage or other home addition without adding more ductwork. You can also install a mini-split air handler in each room, all connected to the outdoor condensing unit for affordable operation.
Today’s heat pumps are more efficient than ever. There are even cold-climate versions on the market for a performance boost at low temperatures.
Regardless, ductless mini-splits are basically more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses affiliated with leaky ductwork. A normal home wastes more than 20% of the air traveling through the ductwork to spotty air sealing or a lack of insulation. This suggests that a mini-split is likely to supply the same amount of hot or cold air at a lower cost.
Heat pumps look almost identical to central air conditioning units. The outdoor cabinet is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler concealed within a utility closet or place in the basement.
In contrast, mini-splits are easy to view. The air handlers come in sleek jackets designed to be inconspicuous, but they are clearly visible in any room in which they are displayed on the wall or ceiling.
No matter which system you decide is right for your home, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can accomplish the professional installation you are expecting. Our technicians are ready to bring excellent products and services backed by our one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. To learn more 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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