Are you shopping for a reliable, 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 operate on electric power and run in heating and cooling modes for year-round comfort. So, have you made your choice? If you're still trying to figure it out, get the details 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. Compared with a furnace, which generates usable heat for the home by igniting a fuel source, a heat pump redirects heat from one place to another. In the winter, it draws heat energy from the air outside and deposits it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve will allow it to perform this process backward in the summer, running the same as an air conditioner to pull 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. In 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 through a small hole drilled in the wall. Several indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, enabling whole-home comfort with no ductwork needed.
Making Your Choice
Below are significant things to review when deciding between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Memphis home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is currently heated and cooled with a standard furnace and central AC system, the required 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 added on to the home, you may not have ductwork where you want climate control. In this case, adding a mini-split is much less complex and is more cost effective than putting in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are managed in a way similar to most other central heating and cooling systems: by adjusting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a convenient 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 necessary. If it is, you can increase home comfort and save energy by heating and cooling separate rooms separately.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be incorporated 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 individual temperature needs, 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 deliver whole-house comfort with help from a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have more options for where you can put the unit. You can place one in a single room that you would otherwise find tough to keep comfortable. You can mount one in a converted 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 affordable operation.
New heat pumps are more efficient than ever. There are even cold-climate versions available for a performance boost at low temperatures.
Regardless, ductless mini-splits are usually more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses that come with leaky ductwork. The average home squanders 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 likely to provide 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 sits within a utility closet or space in the basement.
By comparison, mini-splits are more noticeable. The air handlers come in sleek jackets designed to be unnoticeable, 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 decision you make, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can accomplish the professional installation you count upon. Our service providers are ready to bring excellent products and services backed 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 nearest Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.