Are you shopping for a dependable, affordable home comfort system? If electricity is the better or only choice available to you, a central heat pump or ductless mini-split could be a good choice. Both systems run on electric power and operate in heating and cooling modes for year-round comfort. So, is it a heat pump or mini-split for you? If you're still trying to decide, 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. Compared with a furnace, which creates usable heat for the home by combusting a fuel source, a heat pump transfers heat from one place to another. In the winter, it extracts heat energy from the air outdoors and deposits it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve allows it to operate backward in the summer, running 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 works on the same principle as a heat pump. As a matter of fact, it is a kind of heat pump — minus the ductwork. That’s 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 component connects directly to an outdoor condensing unit from a tiny hole drilled through the wall. Several indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, enabling whole-home comfort with no ductwork required.
Making Your Decision
Here are the most important things to review when deciding between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Dallas home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a standard furnace and AC unit, the needed ductwork infrastructure is already in place. Therefore, installing a heat pump is likely the more cost-effective option.
That being said, if you live in an older home or have just made an addition, you may not have ductwork accessible to use that space year-round. In this case, installing a mini-split is much less involved and is more affordable than installing in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are controlled identical to most other central heating and cooling systems: by using a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a central location. On the flip side, ductless mini-splits have a remote that lets you adjust each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.
If you’re satisfied with regulating the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be necessary. But you can increase home comfort and reduce wasted energy by heating and cooling separate rooms separately.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be incorporated into a central heat pump system by using multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be more straightforward and more affordable to install mini-splits in rooms with distinct temperature requirements, 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 deliver whole-house comfort through a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have more choices 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 could mount one in a transformed garage or other home addition without adding more ductwork. You can also equip the entire home 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 available 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 associated with leaky ductwork. An ordinary home squanders more than 20% of the air passing through the ductwork to poor air sealing or a lack of insulation. This means that a mini-split is likely to provide the same quantity of hot or cold air at a lower cost.
Heat pumps look almost identical to central AC units. The outdoor unit is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler stays concealed within a utility closet or place 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
No matter which system you decide is right for your home, Levy & Son Service Experts can accomplish the professional installation you count upon. Our techs are ready to bring excellent products and services supported 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 nearby Levy & Son Service Experts office today.