Are you shopping for a dependable, reasonably priced home comfort system? If electricity is the best 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 operate 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. As opposed to a furnace, which produces usable heat for the home by combusting a fuel source, a heat pump redirects heat from one place to another. In the winter, it draws heat energy from the air outdoors and deposits it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve will allow it to perform this process backward in the summer, behaving 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 operates on the same principle as a heat pump. Actually, it is a kind of heat pump — just without the ductwork. That’s 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 portion hooks up directly to an outdoor condensing unit through a tiny hole drilled in the wall. Several indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, providing whole-home comfort with no ductwork needed.
Making Your Selection
Below are the most important details to think about when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Fort Worth home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is currently heated and cooled with a conventional furnace and air conditioner, the required ductwork infrastructure is already in place. In this situation, installing a heat pump is likely the more cost-effective option.
On the other hand, if you live in an older home or have just completed a renovation, you might not have ductwork in reach. In this case, getting a mini-split is much less complex and costs far less than putting in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are managed very much like most other central heating and cooling systems: by setting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a convenient location. Having said that, ductless mini-splits use a remote that lets you adjust 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. If it is, you can increase home comfort and conserve energy by heating and cooling separate rooms separately.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be added into a central heat pump system by installing multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be easier and more cost-effective 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 supply whole-house comfort with help from a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have greater versatility for where you can put the unit. You can add one in a single room that you would otherwise find tricky to keep comfortable. You can mount one in a transformed garage or other home addition without new ductwork. You can also install a mini-split air handler in each room, all connected to the outdoor condensing unit for cost-effective operation.
Modern 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. 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 likely to produce 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.
On the other hand, mini-splits are more noticeable. The air handlers come in sleek jackets designed to be unobtrusive, 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 system you decide is right for your home, Stark Services 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 learn more about heat pumps vs. mini-splits or request an installation estimate, please contact your local Stark Services office today.