Are you searching for a efficient, affordable home comfort system? If electricity is the better 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 year-round comfort. So, have you made your choice? If you're still trying to figure it out, get the details 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. Unlike a furnace, which produces usable heat for the home by burning a fuel source, a heat pump transfers heat from one place to another. In the winter, it extracts heat energy from the air outdoors and deposits it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve allows it to operate backward in the summer, working the same as an AC system 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. As a matter of fact, it is a kind of heat pump — but although they don’t use 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 portion hooks up directly to an outdoor condensing unit via a small hole drilled through the wall. Multiple indoor units can link up with a single outdoor unit, allowing for whole-home comfort with no ductwork needed.
Making Your Decision
Below are significant factors to review when deciding between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Oklahoma City home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is already heated and cooled with a standard furnace and central AC system, the needed ductwork infrastructure is already in place. In this situation, installing a heat pump is likely the more cost-effective choice.
On the other hand, if you live in an older home or have added on to the home, you may 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 putting in the ductwork required for a heat pump.
Heat pumps are managed 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 have a remote that lets you operate 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. If it is, you can enhance home comfort and conserve 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 practical to install mini-splits in rooms with distinct temperature demands, whether they’re heated and cooled by a central HVAC system or not.
Heat pumps don’t prioritize flexibility. Instead, they can replace your existing furnace and air conditioner and deliver whole-house comfort through a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have more options for where you can put the unit. You can add one in a single room that you would otherwise find challenging to keep comfortable. You can mount one in a modified garage or sunroom without extending the 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.
Modern heat pumps are more efficient than ever. There are even cold-climate versions on the market for a performance boost at low temperatures.
Regardless, ductless mini-splits are basically more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses associated with leaky ductwork. A typical home squanders more than 20% of the air traveling through the ductwork to inadequate air sealing or a lack of insulation. This means that a mini-split is likely to provide the same amount of hot or cold air at a lower cost.
Heat pumps look similar to central air conditioning units. The outdoor unit is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler sits hidden within a utility closet or somewhere in the basement.
On the other hand, 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 mounted on the wall or ceiling.
Schedule Heat Pump or Mini-Split Installation
Whatever you decide to do, Gordon's Service Experts can perform the professional installation you count upon. Our techs 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 nearby Gordon's Service Experts office today.