Are you shopping for a dependable, affordable 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 good choice. 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 decide, get the details about each HVAC system to help you make your mind up.
What Is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump is a type of central climate control system. As opposed to a furnace, which creates usable heat for the home by igniting a fuel source, a heat pump redirects 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 enables it to complete this process 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 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 is designed as a ceiling- or wall-mounted unit with a built-in air handler. This indoor component hooks up directly to an outdoor condensing unit through a small hole drilled through the wall. Various indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, providing whole-home comfort with no ductwork required.
Making Your Selection
These are the most important points to review when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Albany home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a standard furnace and air conditioner, the necessary ductwork infrastructure is already in place. Therefore, installing a heat pump is likely the more practical choice.
That being said, if you live in an older home or have added on to the home, you might not have ductwork where you want climate control. In this case, adding a mini-split is much less complicated and costs far less than installing in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are controlled in a way similar 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 adjust 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 enhance 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 installing multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be easier and more affordable to install mini-splits in rooms with specific 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 supply whole-house comfort through a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have more options for where you can put the unit. You can install one in a single room that you would otherwise find challenging 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 connected to the outdoor condensing unit for affordable operation.
Modern heat pumps are more efficient than ever. There are even cold-climate versions offered for a performance boost at low temperatures.
Even so, ductless mini-splits are usually more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses associated with leaky ductwork. A normal home loses more than 20% of the air passing through the ductwork to inadequate air sealing or a lack of insulation. This suggests that a mini-split is likely to offer the same quantity of hot or cold air at a lower cost.
Heat pumps look similar to central AC units. The outdoor cabinet is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler is concealed within a utility closet or space 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 positioned on the wall or ceiling.
Schedule Heat Pump or Mini-Split Installation
Whatever you decide to do, Roland J. Down Service Experts can perform the professional installation you are expecting. Our techs are ready to provide 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 Roland J. Down Service Experts office today.