Are you searching 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 a good choice. 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. Different from a furnace, which generates usable heat for the home by burning a fuel source, a heat pump moves heat from one place to another. In the winter, it pulls out 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 works on the same principle as a heat pump. Actually, it is a kind of heat pump — minus 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 equipment hooks up directly to an outdoor condensing unit through a tiny hole drilled through the wall. Multiple indoor units can link up with a single outdoor unit, allowing for whole-home comfort with no ductwork required.
Making Your Choice
Here are key points to consider when deciding between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Gaithersburg home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a standard furnace and central AC system, the necessary ductwork infrastructure is already in place. Therefore, installing a heat pump is potentially the more cost-effective choice.
On the other hand, if you live in an older home or have just completed a renovation, you might not have ductwork accessible to use that space year-round. In this case, adding a mini-split is much less involved and is more cost effective than adding 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 accessible location. On the other hand, ductless mini-splits have a remote that lets you control each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.
If you’re satisfied with controlling the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be needed. 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 setting up multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be simpler and more practical 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 deliver whole-house comfort thanks to 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 converted garage or sunroom without adding more 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.
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 usually more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses associated with leaky ductwork. An ordinary home loses 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 provide the same amount of hot or cold air at a lower cost.
Heat pumps look similar to central air conditioners. The outdoor cabinet is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler is hidden within a utility closet or somewhere in the basement.
By comparison, mini-splits are more noticeable. The air handlers come in sleek jackets designed to be unnoticeable, 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
Whatever you decide to do, Parker Pearce Service Experts can perform the professional installation you count upon. Our technicians are ready to bring excellent products and services protected 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 Parker Pearce Service Experts office today.