Are you looking for a dependable, affordable home comfort system? If electricity is the ideal or only solution available to you, a central heat pump or ductless mini-split could be perfect for your home. Both systems operate 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 settle on a make and model.
What Is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump is a kind 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 extracts heat energy from the air outdoors and redirects it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve allows it to operate backward in the summer, behaving 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 works 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. 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 hooks up directly to an outdoor condensing unit via a small hole drilled through the wall. Various indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, enabling whole-home comfort with no ductwork needed.
Making Your Decision
These are significant details to review when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Windsor home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is currently heated and cooled with a standard furnace and central AC system, the necessary ductwork infrastructure is already in place. So in this case, installing a heat pump is likely the more cost-effective solution.
On the other hand, if you live in an older home or have added on to the home, you may not have ductwork where you want climate control. 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 controlled identical to most other central heating and cooling systems: by setting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a convenient location. On the flip side, ductless mini-splits use a remote that lets you control each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.
If you’re content with controlling the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be worth the effort. If it is, you can increase home comfort and save energy by heating and cooling separate rooms separately.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be integrated into a central heat pump system by using multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be easier 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 with help from a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have more choices for where you can put the unit. Homeowners can add one in a single room that you would otherwise find tricky to keep comfortable. You can mount one in a converted garage or other home addition without new 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 cost-effective operation.
New heat pumps are more efficient than ever. There are even cold-climate versions available 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 typical home squanders 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 produce the same amount of hot or cold air at a lower cost.
Heat pumps look pretty much the same as central air conditioning units. The outdoor cabinet is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler stays 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 installed on the wall or ceiling.
Schedule Heat Pump or Mini-Split Installation
No matter which system you decide is right for your home, Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts can perform the professional installation you count upon. Our techs 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 Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts office today.