Are you shopping for a dependable, affordable 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 run 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, get the details 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. As opposed to 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 draws heat energy from the air outdoors and redirects it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve enables it to complete this process 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 operates on the same principle as a heat pump. As a matter of fact, 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 via a small hole drilled in the wall. Various indoor units can link up with a single outdoor unit, providing whole-home comfort with no ductwork necessary.
Making Your Selection
Here are the most important things to review when deciding between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Long Island home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is currently heated and cooled with a standard furnace and air conditioner, the required ductwork infrastructure is already in place. Therefore, installing a heat pump is likely the more affordable choice.
That being said, if you live in an older home or have just made an addition, you may not have ductwork where you want climate control. In this case, getting a mini-split is much less involved and is more affordable than adding in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are controlled very much like most other central heating and cooling systems: by adjusting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a convenient location. Having said that, ductless mini-splits have a remote that lets you adjust each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.
If you’re happy with adjusting the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be worth the effort. But you can maximize home comfort and reduce wasted energy by heating and cooling separate rooms independently.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be added into a central heat pump system by installing multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be simpler 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 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 tricky to keep comfortable. You could mount one in a modified 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 cost-effective operation.
Modern heat pumps are more efficient than ever. There are even cold-climate versions on the market for a performance boost at low temperatures.
All the same, ductless mini-splits are basically more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses that come with leaky ductwork. The average home loses more than 20% of the air passing through the ductwork to inadequate air sealing or a lack of insulation. This means that a mini-split is likely to offer the same amount 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 is hidden 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 inconspicuous, 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, Matz-Rightway can accomplish the professional installation you count upon. Our specialists are ready to provide 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 Matz-Rightway office today.