Are you looking for a dependable, reasonably priced home comfort system? If electricity is the ideal or only choice available to you, a central heat pump or ductless mini-split could be perfect for your home. Both systems operate on electric power and run 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 make your mind up.
What Is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump is a kind of central climate control system. Unlike a furnace, which creates usable heat for the home by combusting a fuel source, a heat pump transfers 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 will allow it to complete this process backward in the summer, working the same as an air conditioner to pull 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. 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 is designed as a ceiling- or wall-mounted unit with a built-in air handler. This indoor portion connects directly to an outdoor condensing unit from a tiny hole drilled into the wall. Several indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, allowing for whole-home comfort with no ductwork needed.
Making Your Choice
Below are the most important things to review when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Boise home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a conventional furnace and AC unit, the necessary ductwork infrastructure is already in place. Therefore, installing a heat pump is probably the more practical choice.
On the other hand, if you live in an older home or have just made an addition, you may not have ductwork in reach. In this case, adding a mini-split is much less complex and is more affordable than installing in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are controlled identical to most other central heating and cooling systems: by adjusting a wall-mounted thermostat installed in a central location. Having said that, ductless mini-splits use a remote that lets you operate each wall-mounted unit from anywhere in the room.
If you’re satisfied with regulating the temperature throughout the house using a single thermostat, zoning may not be worth the effort. If it is, you can enhance home comfort and save energy by heating and cooling separate rooms separately.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be integrated into a central heat pump system by using multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be more straightforward and more cost-effective 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 offer whole-house comfort through a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have greater versatility for where you can put the unit. Homeowners can place one in a single room that you would otherwise find tricky to keep comfortable. You could mount one in a modified 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.
Today’s 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 usually more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses connected with leaky ductwork. A normal home squanders more than 20% of the air passing through the ductwork to spotty air sealing or a lack of insulation. This means that a mini-split is likely to provide the same quantity of hot or cold air at a lower cost.
Heat pumps look similar to central air conditioners. The outdoor unit is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler stays concealed within a utility closet or place in the basement.
In contrast, mini-splits are easier to spot. 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
No matter which system you decide is right for your home, TML Service Experts can complete the professional installation you expect. Our specialists are ready to provide excellent products and services supported 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 nearby TML Service Experts office today.