Are you shopping for a dependable, budget-friendly home comfort system? If electricity is the best or only option available to you, a central heat pump or ductless mini-split could be a good choice. Both systems run on electric power and run in heating and cooling modes for 365 days of comfort. So, what’s it going to be — heat pump or mini-split? If you're still trying to decide, read more about each HVAC system to help you determine the right fit.
What Is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump is a kind of central climate control system. Unlike a furnace, which generates usable heat for the home by combusting a fuel source, a heat pump moves 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, behaving the same as an air conditioner to transfer heat and humidity from indoor air and vent it outside.
What Is a Mini-Split?
A mini-split is designed on the same principle as a heat pump. As a matter of fact, it is a kind of heat pump — just without 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 component hooks up directly to an outdoor condensing unit through a tiny hole drilled into the wall. Multiple indoor units can link up with a single outdoor unit, providing whole-home comfort with no ductwork necessary.
Making Your Decision
Here are key details to consider when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Rochester home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is currently heated and cooled with a conventional furnace and central AC system, the needed ductwork infrastructure is already in place. In this situation, installing a heat pump is potentially the more cost-effective option.
On the other hand, if you live in an older home or have just completed a renovation, you may not have ductwork accessible to use that space year-round. In this case, installing a mini-split is much less complicated and is more affordable than adding in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are managed very much like most other central heating and cooling systems: by setting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a convenient location. On the flip side, ductless mini-splits use a remote that lets you control 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 needed. 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 precise temperature needs, 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 offer whole-house comfort with help from a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have greater versatility 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 could mount one in a modified garage or other home addition without adding more 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.
Today’s 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 connected with leaky ductwork. A normal home wastes more than 20% of the air passing through the ductwork to spotty air sealing or a lack of insulation. This means that a mini-split is more likely to produce the same amount of hot or cold air at a lower cost.
Heat pumps look similar to central air conditioning units. The outdoor cabinet is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler is concealed within a utility closet or place in the basement.
By comparison, mini-splits are easier to spot. 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.
Schedule Heat Pump or Mini-Split Installation
Whatever you decide to do, Strogen's Service Experts can complete the professional installation you count upon. Our techs are ready to deliver 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 local Strogen's Service Experts office today.