In this blog post, we will compare mini splits vs. heat pumps and help you decide when choosing between a heat pump and a mini-split system.
What Is A Mini-Split?
A mini-split is a ductless heating and cooling system that does not require ductwork to distribute air throughout your space. Instead, it consists of an outdoor unit that connects to one or more indoor units via refrigerant lines.
The units located inside are mounted on the wall or ceiling and can be controlled individually to heat or cool different zones of your home or business.
What Is A Heat Pump System?
A heat pump is a device that moves heat from one place to another using electricity. Depending on the season and your preference, it can work as a heater and an air conditioner.
In the summer, it can extract heat and humidity from indoor air and vent it outside, leaving your space cool and comfortable. In the winter, it can reverse the process and draw heat from the outdoor air and transfer it indoors, providing warmth and coziness.
Also, it can be part of a central climate control system that uses ductwork to distribute air throughout your home , or it can be a standalone unit that serves a single room or area.
Installation & Ductwork: Which Is Easier?
One of the main differences between mini-splits and heat pumps is how they are installed and how they use ductwork. If you already have ductwork in your home, placing a heat pump might be easier and more convenient than a mini-split. You can simply replace your existing furnace or air conditioner with this system and connect it to the existing ductwork. You can also create a zoned heat pump by installing multiple thermostats and dampers to control the airflow in different areas of your home.
However, if you don’t have ducts, you may need to install ductwork especially if you have an older home. In addition, if you want to avoid the hassle and expense of installing it, ductless mini-split systems might be a better option for you. Ductless mini-splits use thin refrigerant lines that run through small holes in the walls or ceilings to connect the units with a built-in air handler. This makes them easier and more cost-effective to install mini-splits than ducted heat pump systems. It also eliminates the energy losses, air quality issues , and needed cleaning with ductwork.
Design Versatility: Heat Pump vs Mini-Split
The design versatility of these two central heating and cooling systems depends on your needs and preferences. If you have a large home needing consistent heating and cooling, a heat pump may suit you.
However, if you have a smaller home or want to customize the temperature of each room, a mini-split may be a better option for you as they use an indoor air handler in each room you want to control.
Which Is More Efficient?
When it comes to energy efficiency, heat pumps are more efficient than mini-splits. Even so, we even recommend avoiding certain types of mini-splits. Heat pumps don’t generate hot or cold air but transfer it from one place to another. They use electricity to transfer heat from the outside air to the inside in the winter and vice versa in the summer. This way, they can cool and heat your home with less energy than other systems that burn fuel or use electric resistance.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, central heat pump systems can reduce your electricity use for heating by approximately 50% compared to electric furnaces and baseboard heaters.
Mini-splits are also energy efficient, but not as much as heat pumps. They use electricity to power an outdoor compressor and an indoor fan that circulates refrigerant through coils. The refrigerant absorbs and releases heat as it changes from liquid to gas. This process allows mini-splits to cool and heat your home without ducts, which can lose up to 30% of energy in a typical home comfort system.
However, they have a lower coefficient of performance (COP) than heat pumps, which means they produce less heat or cold air at a lower cost per unit of electricity.
Choosing the right system for your home can be a daunting task. There are many factors to consider, such as the size of your home, the climate of your area, your budget, and your personal preferences. However, you don’t have to do it alone. You can consult our local HVAC company to help you find the best solution for your needs.
Whether you choose a heat pump or a mini-split, you can rest assured that you will get a reliable and durable central HVAC system that lasts for years.
We have the expertise and experience to help you with all your HVAC needs. Don’t let another season pass by without having a comfortable and efficient HVAC system in your home. Contact our Houston furnace experts or our Austin AC installation specialists for a free AC quote.