Are you shopping for a dependable, affordable home comfort system? If electricity is the better or only option available to you, a central heat pump or ductless mini-split could be a convenient option. Both systems function on electric power and operate 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 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 generates usable heat for the home by combusting a fuel source, a heat pump redirects heat from one place to another. In the winter, it draws heat energy from the air outdoors and deposits it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve allows it to perform this process backward in the summer, running the same as an air conditioner to remove 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. 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 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 in the wall. Several indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, providing whole-home comfort with no ductwork necessary.
Making Your Choice
Below are key details to consider when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Girard home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a conventional furnace and AC unit, the needed ductwork infrastructure is already in place. In this situation, installing a heat pump is probably the more cost-effective choice.
That being said, if you live in an older home or have added on to the home, you might not have ductwork where you want climate control. In this case, adding a mini-split is much less complex 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 other hand, ductless mini-splits use a remote that lets you adjust each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.
If you’re satisfied with adjusting the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be necessary. If it is, you can improve home comfort and reduce wasted energy by heating and cooling separate rooms separately.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be added into a central heat pump system by installing multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be easier 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 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. Homeowners can place one in a single room that you would otherwise find tricky to keep comfortable. You can mount one in a converted 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 affordable operation.
Today’s heat pumps are more efficient than ever. There are even cold-climate versions available 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. An ordinary 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 supply the same amount 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 is within a utility closet or somewhere in the basement.
On the other hand, 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 displayed on the wall or ceiling.
Schedule Heat Pump or Mini-Split Installation
No matter which decision you make, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can accomplish the professional installation you expect. Our technicians are ready to deliver excellent products and services protected 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 nearest Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.