Are you searching for a reliable, affordable home comfort system? If electricity is the ideal or only solution available to you, a central heat pump or ductless mini-split could be a convenient option. Both systems run 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 settle on a make and model.
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 burning a fuel source, a heat pump transfers heat from one place to another. In the winter, it draws heat energy from the air outdoors and redirects it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve allows 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 — but although they don’t use 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 is connected directly to an outdoor condensing unit from a tiny hole drilled into the wall. Various indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, allowing for whole-home comfort with no ductwork necessary.
Making Your Choice
These are key factors to think about when deciding between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Fort Wayne 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 cost-effective option.
On the other hand, if you live in an older home or have added on to the home, you might not have ductwork accessible to use that space year-round. In this case, installing a mini-split is much less complex and costs far less than installing in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are managed identical to most other central heating and cooling systems: by using a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a accessible location. On the flip side, ductless mini-splits have a remote that lets you control each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.
If you’re content with controlling the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be required. But 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 using multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be more straightforward and more cost-effective 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 emphasize flexibility. Instead, they can replace your existing furnace and air conditioner and supply whole-house comfort with help from a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have more choices for where you can put the unit. Homeowners can place one in a single room that you would otherwise find challenging to keep comfortable. You can mount one in a modified garage or other home addition 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.
Today’s heat pumps are more efficient than ever. There are even cold-climate versions available for a performance boost at low temperatures.
Even so, ductless mini-splits are basically more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses that come with leaky ductwork. An ordinary home wastes more than 20% of the air passing through the ductwork to spotty air sealing or a lack of insulation. This suggests that a mini-split is more likely to supply 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 is within a utility closet or place 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 displayed on the wall or ceiling.
Schedule Heat Pump or Mini-Split Installation
No matter which decision you make, Rolf Griffin Service Experts can perform the professional installation you want. Our technicians 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 Rolf Griffin Service Experts office today.