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 a good choice. Both systems function on electric power and operate 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 decide, get the details 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. Unlike a furnace, which produces usable heat for the home by igniting a fuel source, a heat pump moves heat from one place to another. In the winter, it extracts heat energy from the air outdoors and deposits it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve will allow it to operate backward in the summer, behaving the same as an AC system to transfer heat and humidity from indoor air and vent it outside.
What Is a Mini-Split?
A mini-split works on the same principle as a heat pump. As a matter of fact, it is a kind of heat pump — but although they don’t use the ductwork. This is 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 hooks up directly to an outdoor condensing unit through a tiny hole drilled through the wall. Various indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, allowing for whole-home comfort with no ductwork needed.
Making Your Choice
These are significant factors to consider when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Waldorf home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a conventional furnace and AC unit, the necessary ductwork infrastructure is already in place. Therefore, installing a heat pump is potentially the more cost-effective choice.
However, if you live in an older home or have added on to the home, you might not have ductwork accessible to use that space year-round. In this case, installing a mini-split is much less involved and is more cost effective than installing in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are managed the same as most other central heating and cooling systems: by using a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a central location. Having said that, ductless mini-splits use a remote that lets you control 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 needed. If it is, you can enhance 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 using multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be more straightforward 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 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 install one in a single room that you would otherwise find challenging to keep comfortable. You could 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 connected to the outdoor condensing unit for cost-effective operation.
New heat pumps are more efficient than ever. There are even cold-climate versions on the market for a performance boost at low temperatures.
Even so, ductless mini-splits are generally more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses affiliated 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 means 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 AC units. The outdoor cabinet is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler sits hidden within a utility closet or place in the basement.
In contrast, 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 installed on the wall or ceiling.
Schedule Heat Pump or Mini-Split Installation
No matter which system you decide is right for your home, A-PLUS Service Experts can perform the professional installation you want. Our specialists are ready to bring 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 A-PLUS Service Experts office today.