Guide to Mini-Splits vs. Heat Pumps

Are you looking for a efficient, budget-friendly 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 operate in heating and cooling modes for 365 days of comfort. So, have you made your choice? If you're still trying to decide, read more about each HVAC system to help you determine the right fit.

What Is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump is a type of central climate control system. Unlike a furnace, which produces usable heat for the home by combusting 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 perform this process 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 is designed 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 portion connects directly to an outdoor condensing unit through a tiny hole drilled into the wall. Several indoor units can link up with a single outdoor unit, providing whole-home comfort with no ductwork needed.

Making Your Selection

Here are significant points to review when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Shreveport home.

Ductwork & Installation

If your home is already heated and cooled with a traditional furnace and air conditioner, the necessary ductwork infrastructure is already in place. So in this case, installing a heat pump is probably the more practical choice.

That being said, if you live in an older home or have just made an addition, you may not have ductwork in reach. In this case, installing a mini-split is much less complicated and is more cost effective than adding in the ductwork required for a heat pump.

Unit Control

Heat pumps are managed very much like most other central heating and cooling systems: by adjusting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a convenient location. On the other hand, ductless mini-splits have a remote that lets you operate each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.

Zoning

If you’re satisfied with controlling the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be worth the effort. If it is, you can maximize home comfort and conserve energy by heating and cooling separate rooms independently.

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 affordable to install mini-splits in rooms with individual temperature requirements, whether they’re heated and cooled by a central HVAC system or not.

Design Versatility

Heat pumps don’t emphasize flexibility. Instead, they can replace your existing furnace and air conditioner and offer whole-house comfort thanks to a network of air ducts.

Mini-splits have greater versatility for where you can put the unit. You can install one in a single room that you would otherwise find tricky to keep comfortable. You could mount one in a converted garage or sunroom without new 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 affordable operation.

Energy Efficiency

New heat pumps are more efficient than ever. There are even cold-climate versions on the market for a performance boost at low temperatures.

All the same, ductless mini-splits are basically more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses connected with leaky ductwork. An ordinary home wastes 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 offer the same quantity of hot or cold air at a lower cost.

Appearance

Heat pumps look pretty much the same as central AC units. The outdoor cabinet is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler stays concealed within a utility closet or somewhere in the basement.

On the other hand, mini-splits are easy to view. The air handlers come in sleek jackets designed to be unnoticeable, 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

Whatever you decide to do, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can complete the professional installation you are expecting. Our specialists are ready to deliver excellent products and services protected 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 Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.

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