Are you looking for a dependable, reasonably priced home comfort system? If electricity is the best or only option available to you, a central heat pump or ductless mini-split could be a convenient option. Both systems function on electric power and run in heating and cooling modes for year-round comfort. So, have you made your choice? If you're still trying to figure it out, 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. Compared with a furnace, which creates 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 redirects it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve allows it to complete this process backward in the summer, running the same as an air conditioner to remove 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 — but although they don’t use the ductwork. That’s 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 equipment connects directly to an outdoor condensing unit via a tiny hole drilled through the wall. Various indoor units can link up with a single outdoor unit, allowing for whole-home comfort with no ductwork needed.
Making Your Decision
These are the most important things to think about when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Savannah home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is currently heated and cooled with a conventional furnace and AC unit, the necessary ductwork infrastructure is already in place. In this situation, installing a heat pump is probably the more practical option.
However, 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 installing in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are managed the same as most other central heating and cooling systems: by adjusting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a central location. On the other hand, ductless mini-splits have a remote that lets you adjust each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.
If you’re happy with regulating the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be necessary. If it is, you can increase home comfort and conserve energy by heating and cooling separate rooms independently.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be incorporated into a central heat pump system by setting up multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be simpler and more affordable to install mini-splits in rooms with individual temperature demands, 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 greater versatility for where you can put the unit. You can add one in a single room that you would otherwise find difficult to keep comfortable. You could mount one in a transformed garage or other home addition without new ductwork. You can also outfit the entire house with a mini-split air handler in each room, all hooked up to the outdoor condensing unit for cost-effective operation.
Modern heat pumps are more efficient than ever. There are even cold-climate versions available for a performance boost at low temperatures.
Regardless, ductless mini-splits are basically more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses connected with leaky ductwork. An ordinary home wastes more than 20% of the air traveling through the ductwork to inadequate air sealing or a lack of insulation. This means 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 air conditioners. The outdoor cabinet is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler stays concealed within a utility closet or place in the basement.
By comparison, 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 installed on the wall or ceiling.
Schedule Heat Pump or Mini-Split Installation
No matter which system you decide is right for your home, Coastal Service Experts can accomplish 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 local Coastal Service Experts office today.