Are you searching for a efficient, reasonably priced home comfort system? If electricity is the ideal or only option available to you, a central heat pump or ductless mini-split could be a convenient option. Both systems operate on electric power and operate in heating and cooling modes for year-round comfort. So, is it a heat pump or mini-split for you? If you're still trying to decide, 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 kind of central climate control system. As opposed to a furnace, which creates usable heat for the home by burning a fuel source, a heat pump moves 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 enables 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 is designed on the same principle as a heat pump. Actually, 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 hooks up directly to an outdoor condensing unit from a small hole drilled through the wall. Various indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, providing whole-home comfort with no ductwork required.
Making Your Choice
Here are key things to review when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Tulsa home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a conventional furnace and AC unit, the required ductwork infrastructure is already in place. Therefore, installing a heat pump is probably the more practical choice.
However, if you live in an older home or have just made an addition, you might not have ductwork in reach. In this case, adding a mini-split is much less complex and is more cost effective than adding in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are managed in a way similar to most other central heating and cooling systems: by setting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a central 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 happy with controlling the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be necessary. If it is, you can maximize home comfort and conserve energy by heating and cooling separate rooms individually.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be integrated into a central heat pump system by installing multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be more straightforward and more practical 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 supply whole-house comfort with help from a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have more options for where you can put the unit. Homeowners 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 extending the ductwork. You can also install a mini-split air handler in each room, all connected to the outdoor condensing unit for affordable 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.
Even so, ductless mini-splits are basically more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses associated with leaky ductwork. A normal home loses more than 20% of the air passing through the ductwork to inadequate air sealing or a lack of insulation. This suggests that a mini-split is more likely to supply 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 cabinet is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler sits within a utility closet or space in the basement.
In contrast, 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 displayed on the wall or ceiling.
Schedule Heat Pump or Mini-Split Installation
No matter which decision you make, Jack Nelson Service Experts can accomplish the professional installation you count upon. Our techs are ready to provide excellent products and services supported 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 Jack Nelson Service Experts office today.