Are you shopping for a dependable, budget-friendly home comfort system? If electricity is the ideal or only choice available to you, a central heat pump or ductless mini-split could be a convenient option. Both systems operate 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 make your mind up.
What Is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump is a kind of central climate control system. Unlike 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 outside and redirects it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve will allow it to operate 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 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 can be a ceiling- or wall-mounted unit with a built-in air handler. This indoor equipment connects directly to an outdoor condensing unit through a small hole drilled in the wall. Multiple indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, enabling whole-home comfort with no ductwork necessary.
Making Your Decision
These are the most important details to consider when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Roanoke home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a conventional furnace and AC unit, the required ductwork infrastructure is already in place. In this situation, installing a heat pump is potentially the more practical choice.
However, if you live in an older home or have just made an addition, you might not have ductwork where you want climate control. In this case, adding a mini-split is much less involved and is more affordable 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 accessible location. On the other hand, ductless mini-splits use a remote that lets you adjust 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 required. But you can maximize home comfort and save 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 simpler and more cost-effective 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 focus on flexibility. Instead, they can replace your existing furnace and air conditioner and offer whole-house comfort through a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have more choices for where you can put the unit. You can install one in a single room that you would otherwise find difficult to keep comfortable. You can mount one in a converted garage or sunroom without extending the ductwork. You can also equip the entire home with 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 available for a performance boost at low temperatures.
Regardless, ductless mini-splits are generally more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses associated with leaky ductwork. The average home squanders more than 20% of the air traveling through the ductwork to poor 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 similar to central AC units. The outdoor unit is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler sits within a utility closet or place in the basement.
By comparison, mini-splits are more noticeable. The air handlers come in sleek jackets designed to be unnoticeable, but they are clearly visible in any room in which they are displayed on the wall or ceiling.
Schedule Heat Pump or Mini-Split Installation
Whatever you decide to do, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can complete the professional installation you want. Our service providers are ready to provide 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 Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.