Are you shopping for a dependable, 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 perfect for your home. Both systems operate on electric power and run in heating and cooling modes for 365 days of comfort. So, is it a heat pump or mini-split for you? If you're still trying to figure it out, 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 generates usable heat for the home by burning a fuel source, a heat pump transfers heat from one place to another. In the winter, it extracts heat energy from the air outdoors and deposits it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve will allow it to complete 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. As a matter of 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 is connected directly to an outdoor condensing unit via a small hole drilled into the wall. Various indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, enabling whole-home comfort with no ductwork necessary.
Making Your Decision
Below are the most important factors to think about when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Edmonton home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a traditional furnace and AC unit, the needed ductwork infrastructure is already in place. So in this case, installing a heat pump is probably the more cost-effective choice.
On the other hand, if you live in an older home or have added on to the home, you might not have ductwork in reach. In this case, adding a mini-split is much less complicated and costs far less than putting in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are managed the same as most other central heating and cooling systems: by setting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a convenient location. On the flip side, ductless mini-splits use a remote that lets you control each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.
If you’re content with regulating the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be needed. If it is, you can maximize home comfort and reduce wasted energy by heating and cooling separate rooms separately.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be integrated into a central heat pump system by setting up multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be simpler 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 focus on flexibility. Instead, they can replace your existing furnace and air conditioner and deliver 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 sunroom without new ductwork. You can also install a mini-split air handler in each room, all connected to the outdoor condensing unit for affordable operation.
Today’s heat pumps are more efficient than ever. There are even cold-climate versions offered for a performance boost at low temperatures.
Regardless, ductless mini-splits are usually more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses connected with leaky ductwork. The average home wastes more than 20% of the air traveling through the ductwork to poor air sealing or a lack of insulation. This means that a mini-split is more likely to offer 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 stays within a utility closet or place in the basement.
In contrast, mini-splits are easier to spot. The air handlers come in sleek jackets designed to be unobtrusive, 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 system you decide is right for your home, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can accomplish the professional installation you are expecting. Our specialists 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 nearest Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.