Are you searching for a dependable, budget-friendly 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 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 figure it out, read more about each HVAC system to help you make your mind up.
A heat pump is a type of central climate control system. Different from a furnace, which generates usable heat for the home by burning a fuel source, a heat pump transfers heat from one place to another. In the winter, it pulls out heat energy from the air outdoors and deposits it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve enables it to complete this process 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 works on the same principle as a heat pump. In fact, it is a kind of heat pump — but although they don’t use 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 portion is connected directly to an outdoor condensing unit via a small hole drilled through the wall. Several indoor units can link up with a single outdoor unit, allowing for whole-home comfort with no ductwork required.
These are significant details to think about 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 central AC system, the necessary ductwork infrastructure is already in place. In this situation, installing a heat pump is probably the more cost-effective choice.
However, if you live in an older home or have just made an addition, you might not have ductwork where you want climate control. In this case, installing a mini-split is much less complex and costs far less than adding in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are managed identical to most other central heating and cooling systems: by adjusting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a central location. On the other hand, ductless mini-splits use a remote that lets you operate each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.
If you’re satisfied with regulating the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be required. But you can increase home comfort and save energy by heating and cooling separate rooms independently.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be integrated into a central heat pump system by setting up multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be more straightforward and more practical to install mini-splits in rooms with individual temperature demands, whether they’re heated and cooled by a central HVAC system or not.
Heat pumps don’t emphasize 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 greater versatility for where you can put the unit. You can add one in a single room that you would otherwise find difficult to keep comfortable. You could mount one in a converted garage or other home addition without extending the 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 cost-effective operation.
New heat pumps are more efficient than ever. There are even cold-climate versions available for a performance boost at low temperatures.
Even so, ductless mini-splits are usually more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses that come with leaky ductwork. The average home squanders more than 20% of the air traveling through the ductwork to poor air sealing or a lack of insulation. This suggests that a mini-split is likely to provide the same amount of hot or cold air at a lower cost.
Heat pumps look pretty much the same as central air conditioners. The outdoor cabinet is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler concealed within a utility closet or somewhere in the basement.
On the other hand, mini-splits are easy to view. The air handlers come in sleek jackets designed to be unobtrusive, 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 perform the professional installation you count upon. Our technicians are ready to deliver excellent products and services supported by our one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. To learn more about heat pumps vs. mini-splits or request an installation estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.
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