Guide to Mini-Splits vs. Heat Pumps
Are you looking for a efficient, reasonably priced 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 run in heating and cooling modes for 365 days of comfort. So, is it a heat pump or mini-split for you? If you're still trying to decide, get the details about each HVAC system to help you determine the right fit.
What Is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump is a type of central climate control system. Different from 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 extracts heat energy from the air outside and redirects it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve allows it to operate backward in the summer, running the same as an AC system to pull 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 equipment hooks up directly to an outdoor condensing unit through a tiny hole drilled through the wall. Multiple indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, enabling whole-home comfort with no ductwork needed.
Making Your Selection
Here are the most important details to consider when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Dayton home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a traditional furnace and air conditioner, the necessary ductwork infrastructure is already in place. Therefore, installing a heat pump is probably the more cost-effective choice.
However, if you live in an older home or have just made an addition, you might not have ductwork where you want climate control. In this case, getting a mini-split is much less complex and is more affordable than putting in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are controlled identical to most other central heating and cooling systems: by using a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a accessible 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 satisfied with regulating the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be necessary. If it is, you can maximize home comfort and reduce wasted energy by heating and cooling separate rooms individually.
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 distinct 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 choices for where you can put the unit. You can place one in a single room that you would otherwise find tricky to keep comfortable. You could mount one in a converted garage or other home addition without new ductwork. You can also install a mini-split air handler in each room, all hooked up to the outdoor condensing unit for cost-effective operation.
New 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 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 produce the same quantity 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 sits concealed within a utility closet or space in the basement.
In contrast, mini-splits are more noticeable. The air handlers come in sleek jackets designed to be unnoticeable, 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, Stevenson Service Experts can complete the professional installation you want. Our technicians are ready to provide 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 nearest Stevenson Service Experts office today.