Mini Split vs Heat Pump: Which Reigns Supreme?
Mini Split vs heat pump. Are you in the market for a cooling and heating system, but the cost of ductwork and a new central air system is out of reach? If so, you might wonder if a mini-split or a heat pump is the right choice. In this article, we’ll explain the differences between these two systems and help you make an informed decision.
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We recently moved into a new house that lacks central air conditioning. As summer approached, we sought a solution to keep our home cool without breaking the bank. After researching, we considered two options: a ductless mini-split system or a split heat pump and Mini Splits for cooling with a Gas Boiler system for heating.
We first learned about mini-split systems from a friend who recently installed one in their home. We were intrigued by the idea behind mini splits for a cooling and supplemental heating solution without needing existing ductwork. Oh, not to mention we already have a natural gas furnace for hot water and heating during the cold season. We’re sharing what we’ve learned throughout this process, and hopefully, you can learn from our experience.
Quick Explanation on Mini Splits
First, let’s clarify what each system is. A mini-split is one type of heat pump that consists of an indoor unit and an outdoor unit connected by a conduit that contains refrigerant tubing and electrical wiring. The indoor unit blows cool air into its installed room while the outdoor unit pumps the hot air out. The reverse of that process occurs during the cold months when the outdoor unit moves heat indoors. You can also find Mini Split for cooling only.
A mini-split might be the best choice if you’re primarily looking for a cooling solution with backup heating capabilities. They are more efficient than window units and can provide both cooling and heating without ductwork saving you money on installation costs.
However, it’s important to note that mini splits can be more expensive upfront than window units, so you’ll need to consider long-term cost savings in your decision-making process.
Heat Pumps Explained
On the other hand, a heat pump may be a better fit if you’re looking for a more comprehensive HVAC solution that can provide both heating and cooling. Heat pumps can be installed as a standalone unit or as part of a central HVAC system. In moderate climates, they can also be more efficient than traditional heating systems, such as furnaces.
The term Heat Pump is often used interchangeably when people are talking about a Mini Split. That typically means it’s a Mini Split that can provide both Cooling and Heating (Split Heat Pump or not part of a central HVAC System).
Choosing what works Best for Your Home
Ultimately, deciding between a mini split and a heat pump comes down to your specific needs and preferences. If you’re looking for a cooling solution that can also provide heating, a mini-split might be the right choice. A central heat pump might be a better fit if you need a complete HVAC system that can provide both heating and cooling in all weather conditions.
In either case, it’s essential to work with a reputable HVAC contractor to determine the best solution for your home.
Mini Splits Common Problems
Here’s a list of Typical problems with mini splits:
Inadequate Cooling/Heating: Sometimes, mini-split systems don’t cool or heat a room well if they are the wrong size or if there are problems with how they work.
Leaking Refrigerant: They can leak a special liquid called refrigerant, which makes them not cool or heat as well. A professional needs to fix these leaks.
Airflow Issues: Mini splits need to have good airflow to work properly. If things like air filters or ducts get blocked, they won’t work as well.
Noisy Operation: They can make also loud noises when they run, like buzzing or rattling. This might mean something is wrong with the fan or other parts.
Condensate Drainage Problems: Mini splits make water when they run, and it needs to drain away. If the drain line gets blocked or damaged, it can cause water leaks or too much moisture.
Freezing of Outdoor Unit: In very cold places, the outside part of a mini-split can freeze because of the weather. This can make the system not work as well and need fixing. In places like this, a split heat pump system can only be used as a backup to traditional gas or oil furnaces and boilers.
Installation and Maintenance Challenges: Only a handful of mini splits are DIY-Friendly such as the MR Cool Line of products. If a mini-split system is installed or maintained incorrectly, it can cause lots of problems. It’s important to hire a professional and take care of it properly.
Compatibility with Voltage and Wiring: Mini splits need the right amount of electricity and special wiring. If they don’t get that, they can break or constantly trip your circuit breaker.
TIP: Remember that these issues can often be resolved or prevented with professional installation, regular maintenance, and timely repairs.