Are you searching for a dependable, affordable home comfort system? If electricity is the best or only solution available to you, a central heat pump or ductless mini-split could be perfect for your home. Both systems run on electric power and run in heating and cooling modes for 365 days of comfort. So, what’s it going to be — heat pump or mini-split? 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 type of central climate control system. Different from a furnace, which produces 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 redirects it inside. Then, a built-in reversing valve allows it to operate 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 works on the same principle as a heat pump. In fact, it is a kind of heat pump — just without the ductwork. That’s 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 component connects directly to an outdoor condensing unit from a small hole drilled in the wall. Various indoor units can connect with a single outdoor unit, allowing for whole-home comfort with no ductwork necessary.
Making Your Decision
Below are the most important things to think about when deciding between a heat pump and a mini-split for your Hilton Head Island home.
Ductwork & Installation
If your home is currently heated and cooled with a conventional furnace and air conditioner, the required ductwork infrastructure is already in place. Therefore, installing a heat pump is likely the more affordable solution.
On the other hand, if you live in an older home or have added on to the home, you might not have ductwork where you want climate control. In this case, adding a mini-split is much less complicated and is more cost effective than putting 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 accessible location. On the flip side, 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 required. But you can improve home comfort and reduce wasted energy by heating and cooling separate rooms separately.
Such ‘zoned’ temperature control can be integrated into a central heat pump system by setting up multiple thermostats and ductwork dampers. But it may be easier and more affordable to install mini-splits in rooms with individual temperature requirements, 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 offer whole-house comfort with help from a network of air ducts.
Mini-splits have more choices for where you can put the unit. You can place one in a single room that you would otherwise find difficult to keep comfortable. You can 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.
New 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 usually more efficient because they don’t suffer the energy losses connected with leaky ductwork. The average home squanders more than 20% of the air traveling through the ductwork to poor air sealing or a lack of insulation. This suggests that a mini-split is more likely to provide the same amount of hot or cold air at a lower cost.
Heat pumps look almost identical to central air conditioning units. The outdoor cabinet is nearly indistinguishable, and the indoor air handler is concealed within a utility closet or somewhere in the basement.
In contrast, mini-splits are more noticeable. The air handlers come in sleek jackets designed to be unnoticeable, but they are clearly visible in any room in which they are positioned on the wall or ceiling.
Schedule Heat Pump or Mini-Split Installation
No matter which system you decide is right for your home, Epperson Service Experts can accomplish the professional installation you count upon. Our techs are ready to provide excellent products and services backed 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 Epperson Service Experts office today.