Guide to Mini-Splits vs. Heat Pumps
Are you searching for a reliable, affordable home comfort system? If electricity is the better or only solution available to you, a central heat pump or ductless mini-split could be a convenient option. Both systems run 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 figure it out, get the details about each HVAC system to help you make your mind up.
What Is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump is a type of central climate control system. As opposed to a furnace, which creates usable heat for the home by combusting a fuel source, a heat pump moves heat from one place to another. In the winter, it draws heat energy from the air outside and redirects it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve allows it to complete this process backward in the summer, working 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 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. 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 component hooks up directly to an outdoor condensing unit through a small hole drilled through the wall. Various indoor units can link up with a single outdoor unit, providing whole-home comfort with no ductwork required.
Making Your Selection
Below are key factors to review when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Jacksonville home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a traditional furnace and air conditioner, the required ductwork infrastructure is already in place. So in this case, installing a heat pump is potentially the more cost-effective option.
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, adding a mini-split is much less complex and is more affordable than installing in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are controlled in a way similar to most other central heating and cooling systems: by adjusting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a accessible location. On the flip side, ductless mini-splits use a remote that lets you adjust 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. If it is, you can enhance home comfort and conserve energy by heating and cooling separate rooms separately.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be added into a central heat pump system by using multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be easier and more cost-effective to install mini-splits in rooms with individual temperature needs, 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 thanks to a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have greater versatility 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 could mount one in a transformed garage or other home addition without extending the ductwork. You can also install 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.
Regardless, ductless mini-splits are generally more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses affiliated with leaky ductwork. A normal 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 more likely to supply the same amount of hot or cold air at a lower cost.
Heat pumps look almost identical to central air conditioning units. The outdoor unit is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler stays within a utility closet or somewhere in the basement.
On the other hand, mini-splits are easier to spot. The air handlers come in sleek jackets designed to be inconspicuous, but they are clearly visible in any room in which they are mounted on the wall or ceiling.
Schedule Heat Pump or Mini-Split Installation
No matter which system you decide is right for your home, Air Engineers Service Experts can accomplish the professional installation you expect. Our service providers are ready to deliver excellent products and services backed 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 Air Engineers Service Experts office today.