Are you searching for a efficient, affordable home comfort system? If electricity is the best or only option available to you, a central heat pump or ductless mini-split could be a good choice. Both systems operate on electric power and run in heating and cooling modes for 365 days of comfort. So, have you made your choice? If you're still trying to decide, read more 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. As opposed to a furnace, which produces usable heat for the home by burning a fuel source, a heat pump redirects heat from one place to another. In the winter, it pulls out 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 operates 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 is connected directly to an outdoor condensing unit from a tiny 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 Selection
Here are significant points to consider when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Kingwood home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a standard furnace and central AC system, the needed ductwork infrastructure is already in place. So in this case, installing a heat pump is likely the more practical choice.
However, if you live in an older home or have added on to the home, you may not have ductwork accessible to use that space year-round. In this case, installing a mini-split is much less involved and costs far less than installing in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are managed identical to most other central heating and cooling systems: by adjusting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a convenient location. Having said that, ductless mini-splits use a remote that lets you control each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.
If you’re content with regulating the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be needed. If it is, you can improve home comfort and save 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 affordable 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 prioritize flexibility. Instead, they can replace your existing furnace and air conditioner and deliver whole-house comfort thanks to a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have more options 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 can mount one in a converted garage or other home addition without extending the 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.
Today’s heat pumps are more efficient than ever. There are even cold-climate versions on the market for a performance boost at low temperatures.
All the same, ductless mini-splits are usually more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses affiliated with leaky ductwork. The average home loses more than 20% of the air traveling through the ductwork to inadequate air sealing or a lack of insulation. This suggests that a mini-split is likely to offer the same amount of hot or cold air at a lower cost.
Heat pumps look similar to central air conditioning units. 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 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, Finch Air Conditioning & Heating can complete the professional installation you expect. Our technicians are ready to provide 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 nearby Finch Air Conditioning & Heating office today.