Are you looking 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 good choice. Both systems function on electric power and run in heating and cooling modes for year-round comfort. So, what’s it going to be — heat pump or mini-split? If you're still trying to figure it out, read more about each HVAC system to help you make your mind up.
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 burning a fuel source, a heat pump moves heat from one place to another. In the winter, it draws heat energy from the air outdoors and deposits it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve allows it to complete this process backward in the summer, behaving the same as an air conditioner to pull 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. Actually, 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 equipment hooks up directly to an outdoor condensing unit via a tiny hole drilled into the wall. Various indoor units can link up with a single outdoor unit, providing whole-home comfort with no ductwork necessary.
Making Your Decision
Here are significant details to think about when deciding between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Columbia 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. Therefore, installing a heat pump is likely the more practical solution.
On the other hand, 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 complex and is more cost effective than installing in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are managed the same as 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 operate each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.
If you’re happy with adjusting the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be worth the effort. If it is, you can maximize home comfort and reduce wasted energy by heating and cooling separate rooms individually.
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 practical to install mini-splits in rooms with precise temperature needs, whether they’re heated and cooled by a central HVAC system or not.
Heat pumps don’t emphasize flexibility. Instead, they can replace your existing furnace and air conditioner and offer whole-house comfort thanks to a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have greater versatility for where you can put the unit. Homeowners can install one in a single room that you would otherwise find tricky to keep comfortable. You could 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 affordable operation.
Modern heat pumps are more efficient than ever. There are even cold-climate versions offered for a performance boost at low temperatures.
Regardless, ductless mini-splits are generally more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses that come with leaky ductwork. A typical home wastes more than 20% of the air traveling through the ductwork to inadequate air sealing or a lack of insulation. This means that a mini-split is more likely to offer 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 cabinet is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler sits concealed within a utility closet or space in the basement.
In contrast, mini-splits are easier to spot. The air handlers come in sleek jackets designed to be unobtrusive, 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
Whatever you decide to do, Midland Air Service Experts can perform the professional installation you want. Our technicians are ready to bring excellent products and services protected 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 Midland Air Service Experts office today.