Are you looking for a reliable, reasonably priced home comfort system? If electricity is the better or only choice available to you, a central heat pump or ductless mini-split could be perfect for your home. 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 figure it out, get the details about each HVAC system to help you make your mind up.
A heat pump is a kind of central climate control system. Unlike a furnace, which generates usable heat for the home by igniting a fuel source, a heat pump transfers heat from one place to another. In the winter, it extracts heat energy from the air outdoors and redirects it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve enables it to perform this process backward in the summer, running the same as an air conditioner to pull heat and humidity from indoor air and vent it outside.
A mini-split works on the same principle as a heat pump. Actually, it is a kind of heat pump — minus the ductwork. This is why it’s called a “ductless” system. A mini-split is designed as a ceiling- or wall-mounted unit with a built-in air handler. This indoor component is connected directly to an outdoor condensing unit via a tiny hole drilled into the wall. Multiple indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, providing whole-home comfort with no ductwork necessary.
These are the most important factors to consider when deciding 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 AC unit, the required ductwork infrastructure is already in place. So in this case, installing a heat pump is probably the more affordable choice.
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, adding a mini-split is much less involved and is more affordable than installing in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are controlled very much like most other central heating and cooling systems: by setting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a central location. Having said that, ductless mini-splits have 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 maximize home comfort and reduce wasted energy by heating and cooling separate rooms individually.
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 practical to install mini-splits in rooms with precise temperature demands, whether they’re heated and cooled by a central HVAC system or not.
Heat pumps don’t focus on 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. Homeowners can place one in a single room that you would otherwise find challenging to keep comfortable. You can mount one in a transformed garage or sunroom without adding more ductwork. You can also install a mini-split air handler in each room, all hooked up to the outdoor condensing unit for affordable operation.
Modern heat pumps are more efficient than ever. There are even cold-climate versions offered for a performance boost at low temperatures.
Regardless, ductless mini-splits are basically more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses connected with leaky ductwork. The average home wastes more than 20% of the air passing through the ductwork to poor air sealing or a lack of insulation. This suggests that a mini-split is likely to offer the same quantity 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 within a utility closet or place in the basement.
By comparison, 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 mounted on the wall or ceiling.
Whatever you decide to do, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can complete the professional installation you count upon. Our service providers are ready to bring 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 nearby Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.
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