Guide to Mini-Splits vs. Heat Pumps
Are you searching for a dependable, budget-friendly 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 operate on electric power and operate in heating and cooling modes for year-round comfort. So, what’s it going to be — heat pump or mini-split? If you're still trying to decide, get the details about each HVAC system to help you make your mind up.
What Is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump is a type of central climate control system. Unlike a furnace, which generates usable heat for the home by igniting a fuel source, a heat pump redirects heat from one place to another. In the winter, it pulls out heat energy from the air outdoors and redirects it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve will allow it to perform this process backward in the summer, running 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. 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 connects directly to an outdoor condensing unit from a small hole drilled through the wall. Multiple indoor units can link up with a single outdoor unit, providing whole-home comfort with no ductwork necessary.
Making Your Decision
These are the most important points to review when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Wheeling home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a traditional furnace and central AC system, the necessary ductwork infrastructure is already in place. In this situation, installing a heat pump is likely the more cost-effective solution.
That being said, if you live in an older home or have just completed a renovation, you might not have ductwork accessible to use that space year-round. In this case, getting a mini-split is much less complex and is more cost effective than adding in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are controlled identical to most other central heating and cooling systems: by setting 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 satisfied with controlling the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be necessary. But you can improve home comfort and conserve energy by heating and cooling separate rooms individually.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be integrated into a central heat pump system by using multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be easier and more cost-effective to install mini-splits in rooms with specific temperature requirements, 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 supply whole-house comfort with help from a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have greater versatility for where you can put the unit. Homeowners can add one in a single room that you would otherwise find tough to keep comfortable. You can mount one in a transformed 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 connected 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.
Even so, ductless mini-splits are generally 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 poor 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 conditioners. The outdoor unit is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler stays hidden within a utility closet or space in the basement.
On the other hand, mini-splits are easier to spot. The air handlers come in sleek jackets designed to be inconspicuous, 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
Whatever you decide to do, Comfort Masters Service Experts can complete the professional installation you want. Our specialists are ready to provide 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 nearby Comfort Masters Service Experts office today.