Are you searching for a reliable, budget-friendly home comfort system? If electricity is the ideal 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 run in heating and cooling modes for year-round comfort. So, is it a heat pump or mini-split for you? If you're still trying to figure it out, read more 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. Compared with a furnace, which produces usable heat for the home by combusting a fuel source, a heat pump redirects heat from one place to another. In the winter, it pulls out heat energy from the air outside and deposits it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve enables it to complete this process backward in the summer, working 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 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 component links directly to an outdoor condensing unit from a small hole drilled through the wall. Several indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, enabling whole-home comfort with no ductwork required.
Making Your Selection
Below are the most important things to review when deciding between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Saint Charles 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 potentially the more cost-effective choice.
That being said, if you live in an older home or have added on to the home, you might not have ductwork in reach. In this case, getting a mini-split is much less involved and is more affordable than adding in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are managed the same as most other central heating and cooling systems: by adjusting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a central location. Having said that, ductless mini-splits have a remote that lets you operate 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 required. If it is, you can improve home comfort and save energy by heating and cooling separate rooms individually.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be integrated into a central heat pump system by installing multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be more straightforward and more affordable to install mini-splits in rooms with specific 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 supply whole-house comfort through a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have more choices for where you can put the unit. You 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 new ductwork. You can also install 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 available for a performance boost at low temperatures.
All the same, ductless mini-splits are basically more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses connected with leaky ductwork. An ordinary home loses more than 20% of the air passing through the ductwork to spotty air sealing or a lack of insulation. This suggests that a mini-split is more 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 is within a utility closet or somewhere in the basement.
By comparison, mini-splits are more noticeable. 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
Whatever you decide to do, Golden Seal Service Experts can complete the professional installation you expect. Our service providers 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 Golden Seal Service Experts office today.