Guide to Mini-Splits vs. Heat Pumps
Are you shopping for a dependable, affordable 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 operate in heating and cooling modes for 365 days of comfort. So, have you made your choice? 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 kind of central climate control system. Compared with a furnace, which generates 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 outside and redirects it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve enables it to perform this process backward in the summer, running the same as an air conditioner 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. Actually, it is a kind of heat pump — just without the ductwork. This is 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 portion links directly to an outdoor condensing unit via a small hole drilled in the wall. Various indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, enabling whole-home comfort with no ductwork necessary.
Making Your Choice
Here are the most important points to review when deciding between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Orlando home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is currently heated and cooled with a conventional furnace and AC unit, the necessary ductwork infrastructure is already in place. Therefore, installing a heat pump is likely the more cost-effective choice.
However, if you live in an older home or have just made an addition, you may not have ductwork accessible to use that space year-round. In this case, installing a mini-split is much less involved and is more affordable than putting 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 central location. On the other hand, ductless mini-splits have a remote that lets you operate each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.
If you’re satisfied with adjusting the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be needed. But you can increase 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 installing multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be more straightforward and more affordable to install mini-splits in rooms with individual temperature requirements, 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 greater versatility for where you can put the unit. Homeowners can place one in a single room that you would otherwise find tough to keep comfortable. You can mount one in a transformed garage or sunroom without adding more 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.
Regardless, ductless mini-splits are usually more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses that come with leaky ductwork. The average home wastes more than 20% of the air passing 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 pretty much the same as central AC units. The outdoor unit is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler sits hidden within a utility closet or somewhere in the basement.
On the other hand, 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, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can complete the professional installation you count upon. Our technicians are ready to deliver 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 Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.