Are you shopping for a efficient, 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 run on electric power and operate 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 figure it out, 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 produces usable heat for the home by burning a fuel source, a heat pump transfers 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 will allow it to perform this process backward in the summer, behaving the same as an AC system to remove 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 — minus the ductwork. That’s why it’s called a “ductless” system. A mini-split could be a ceiling- or wall-mounted unit with a built-in air handler. This indoor equipment connects directly to an outdoor condensing unit via a small hole drilled in the wall. Multiple indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, allowing for whole-home comfort with no ductwork required.
Making Your Selection
Below are key details to consider when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Columbus home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a standard furnace and air conditioner, the needed ductwork infrastructure is already in place. So in this case, installing a heat pump is likely the more affordable solution.
On the other hand, if you live in an older home or have just completed a renovation, you might not have ductwork accessible to use that space year-round. In this case, installing a mini-split is much less complex and is more affordable than installing in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are managed very much like most other central heating and cooling systems: by using a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a convenient location. Having said that, ductless mini-splits have a remote that lets you adjust each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.
If you’re happy with regulating the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be necessary. But you can enhance home comfort and save energy by heating and cooling separate rooms independently.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be incorporated 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 distinct 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 greater versatility for where you can put the unit. You can place one in a single room that you would otherwise find challenging to keep comfortable. You could mount one in a modified garage or sunroom without new ductwork. You can also outfit the entire house with a mini-split air handler in each room, all connected to the outdoor condensing unit for affordable operation.
Modern 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 affiliated with leaky ductwork. The average home squanders more than 20% of the air passing through the ductwork to inadequate air sealing or a lack of insulation. This suggests that a mini-split is more likely to provide the same amount of hot or cold air at a lower cost.
Heat pumps look pretty much the same as central air conditioners. The outdoor unit is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler stays hidden within a utility closet or somewhere in the basement.
In contrast, mini-splits are easy to view. 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 decision you make, Stevenson Service Experts can accomplish the professional installation you expect. Our techs are ready to deliver excellent products and services backed by our one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. To learn more about heat pumps vs. mini-splits or request an installation estimate, please contact your local Stevenson Service Experts office today.