Are you looking for a dependable, affordable home comfort system? If electricity is the best or only choice 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, is it a heat pump or mini-split for you? 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. Unlike a furnace, which generates usable heat for the home by igniting a fuel source, a heat pump moves heat from one place to another. In the winter, it extracts heat energy from the air outdoors and redirects it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve enables it to operate backward in the summer, behaving the same as an AC system to transfer 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. As a matter of 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 equipment hooks up directly to an outdoor condensing unit from a small hole drilled in the wall. Various indoor units can link up with a single outdoor unit, allowing for whole-home comfort with no ductwork necessary.
Making Your Choice
These are key factors to think about when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Denver home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a standard furnace and air conditioner, the required 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 just completed a renovation, you may 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 managed identical to most other central heating and cooling systems: by setting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a accessible location. Having said that, ductless mini-splits use a remote that lets you operate each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.
If you’re happy with controlling the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be needed. But you can increase 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 installing multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be more straightforward and more cost-effective to install mini-splits in rooms with precise temperature requirements, 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 through 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 difficult to keep comfortable. You could mount one in a modified garage or sunroom without new 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 offered for a performance boost at low temperatures.
Regardless, ductless mini-splits are basically more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses affiliated with leaky ductwork. A typical home squanders 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 almost identical to central air conditioners. The outdoor unit is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler stays concealed within a utility closet or somewhere in the basement.
In contrast, 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 positioned on the wall or ceiling.
Schedule Heat Pump or Mini-Split Installation
No matter which system you decide is right for your home, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can complete the professional installation you count upon. Our specialists are ready to deliver 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 nearest Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.