Are you searching for a dependable, reasonably priced 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 run on electric power and run in heating and cooling modes for year-round comfort. So, what’s it going to be — heat pump or mini-split? 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. Unlike a furnace, which generates usable heat for the home by burning a fuel source, a heat pump redirects heat from one place to another. In the winter, it extracts heat energy from the air outside and deposits it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve will allow it to complete this process backward in the summer, behaving the same as an AC system to remove 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 — just without the ductwork. This is why it’s called a “ductless” system. A mini-split could be a ceiling- or wall-mounted unit with a built-in air handler. This indoor portion links directly to an outdoor condensing unit through a small hole drilled in the wall. Several indoor units can link up with a single outdoor unit, enabling whole-home comfort with no ductwork needed.
Making Your Decision
These are the most important factors to consider when deciding between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Grand Island home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a conventional furnace and air conditioner, the necessary ductwork infrastructure is already in place. In this situation, installing a heat pump is likely the more practical option.
However, 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, getting a mini-split is much less involved and costs far less than installing in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are managed very much like most other central heating and cooling systems: by adjusting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a central location. Having said that, ductless mini-splits use a remote that lets you control 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 improve home comfort and reduce wasted energy by heating and cooling separate rooms separately.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be added into a central heat pump system by setting up multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be more straightforward and more affordable to install mini-splits in rooms with precise temperature requirements, 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 with help from a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have more options for where you can put the unit. Homeowners can install 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 extending the 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 cost-effective operation.
Today’s 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 basically more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses that come with leaky ductwork. A normal 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 produce 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 sits hidden 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 inconspicuous, but they are clearly visible in any room in which they are installed on the wall or ceiling.
Schedule Heat Pump or Mini-Split Installation
No matter which system you decide is right for your home, McElroy Service Experts can perform the professional installation you are expecting. Our technicians are ready to deliver 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 nearby McElroy Service Experts office today.