Guide to Mini-Splits vs. Heat Pumps
Are you searching 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 convenient option. Both systems operate on electric power and operate in heating and cooling modes for 365 days of comfort. So, have you made your choice? If you're still trying to figure it out, read more about each HVAC system to help you settle on a make and model.
What Is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump is a kind 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 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 enables it to complete this process backward in the summer, working the same as an AC system 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. As a matter of fact, it is a kind of heat pump — just without 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 via a tiny hole drilled through the wall. Several indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, enabling whole-home comfort with no ductwork needed.
Making Your Decision
These are significant points to consider when deciding between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Livermore home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a standard furnace and central AC system, the necessary ductwork infrastructure is already in place. Therefore, installing a heat pump is probably the more affordable choice.
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 affordable than putting in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are controlled identical to most other central heating and cooling systems: by setting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a accessible location. On the other hand, ductless mini-splits use a remote that lets you control each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.
If you’re satisfied with controlling the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be worth the effort. But you can maximize home comfort and reduce wasted energy by heating and cooling separate rooms independently.
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 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 prioritize flexibility. Instead, they can replace your existing furnace and air conditioner and supply whole-house comfort through a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have greater versatility for where you can put the unit. Homeowners can place one in a single room that you would otherwise find difficult to keep comfortable. You could mount one in a converted garage or sunroom 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 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 usually more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses associated 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 likely to offer 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 is hidden within a utility closet or place in the basement.
On the other hand, mini-splits are more noticeable. The air handlers come in sleek jackets designed to be unobtrusive, but they are clearly visible in any room in which they are installed on the wall or ceiling.
Schedule Heat Pump or Mini-Split Installation
No matter which decision you make, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can accomplish the professional installation you want. Our techs are ready to deliver excellent products and services supported 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 Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.