Guide to Mini-Splits vs. Heat Pumps
Are you looking for a reliable, budget-friendly home comfort system? If electricity is the best or only choice available to you, a central heat pump or ductless mini-split could be a good choice. Both systems function on electric power and run in heating and cooling modes for year-round comfort. So, have you made your choice? 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 kind of central climate control system. As opposed to a furnace, which creates usable heat for the home by combusting a fuel source, a heat pump moves heat from one place to another. In the winter, it draws heat energy from the air outside and deposits it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve will allow it to perform 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 operates on the same principle as a heat pump. In fact, it is a kind of heat pump — just without 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 component is connected directly to an outdoor condensing unit through a small hole drilled through the wall. Various indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, providing whole-home comfort with no ductwork required.
Making Your Choice
These are significant things to think about when deciding between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Voorhees home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a standard furnace and AC unit, the needed ductwork infrastructure is already in place. Therefore, installing a heat pump is probably 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 in reach. In this case, adding a mini-split is much less involved and is more cost effective than adding in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are controlled the same as most other central heating and cooling systems: by using a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a convenient 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 happy with controlling the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be worth the effort. 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 more straightforward and more practical 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 prioritize flexibility. Instead, they can replace your existing furnace and air conditioner and supply whole-house comfort through 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 modified 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 affordable operation.
Today’s heat pumps are more efficient than ever. There are even cold-climate versions offered for a performance boost at low temperatures.
Even so, ductless mini-splits are usually more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses associated with leaky ductwork. A normal home loses 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 almost identical to central air conditioners. The outdoor cabinet is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler stays concealed within a utility closet or space in the basement.
On the other hand, mini-splits are more noticeable. The air handlers come in sleek jackets designed to be inconspicuous, but they are clearly visible in any room in which they are mounted on the wall or ceiling.
Schedule Heat Pump or Mini-Split Installation
Whatever you decide to do, Atmostemp Service Experts can complete the professional installation you expect. Our techs 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 Atmostemp Service Experts office today.