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 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 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 type of central climate control system. Unlike a furnace, which creates usable heat for the home by igniting 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 enables it to operate backward in the summer, running the same as an air conditioner 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. Actually, it is a kind of heat pump — just without 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 portion is connected directly to an outdoor condensing unit from a small hole drilled into the wall. Several indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, providing whole-home comfort with no ductwork necessary.
Making Your Selection
Below are the most important points to consider when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Philadelphia home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is currently heated and cooled with a conventional furnace and central AC system, the necessary ductwork infrastructure is already in place. So in this case, installing a heat pump is potentially the more cost-effective choice.
That being said, if you live in an older home or have just completed a renovation, you might not have ductwork where you want climate control. In this case, getting 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 setting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a central 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 happy with adjusting the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be needed. But you can maximize home comfort and reduce wasted energy by heating and cooling separate rooms individually.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be integrated into a central heat pump system by installing multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be simpler and more affordable to install mini-splits in rooms with distinct 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 offer whole-house comfort thanks to 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 challenging to keep comfortable. You can mount one in a transformed garage or other home addition without adding more 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 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.
Even so, ductless mini-splits are generally more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses affiliated with leaky ductwork. A normal home wastes more than 20% of the air passing through the ductwork to poor air sealing or a lack of insulation. This suggests that a mini-split is likely to supply the same quantity of hot or cold air at a lower cost.
Heat pumps look pretty much the same as central AC units. The outdoor unit is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler is concealed within a utility closet or place in the basement.
By comparison, mini-splits are easier to spot. The air handlers come in sleek jackets designed to be inconspicuous, 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, Stallion Heating Plumbing Air Conditioning can perform the professional installation you count upon. Our technicians are ready to provide 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 Stallion Heating Plumbing Air Conditioning office today.