When it comes to heating our homes, we all desire the most efficient solution possible. Not only do we like to save money on our utilities, but we want a level of air quality to keep our families healthy. And while there are a few different systems that can help you achieve both of these goals, more and more people have been electing to install ductless mini split systems in their homes for all the additional benefits they also provide. So while you’re making the decision between a ducted vs. ductless heat pump in your home, it’s important to be educated on the advantages of each. Here’s how you can decide which system is right for you.
What are Ductless Mini Split Heating Systems?
Ductless mini split heat pumps are beautifully efficient, providing consistent room comfort in both small and large living areas. The mini split system is comprised of two components; a condenser, housing the compressor situated outside of the home and an air-handling unit, traditionally, which is outfitted inside. The air handler is roughly three feet long by one and a half feet high. These systems make great retrofit add-ons to houses that already have “non-ducted” heating systems, such as hydronic (hot water heat), space heaters, or radiant panels. Likewise, ductless mini split heat pumps are ideal for additions or finished basements where extending or installing distribution ductwork isn’t a viable option.
Advantages of A Ductless Mini Split Heat Pump
You’ll be happy to hear you don’t have to tear apart your home in order to get intelligent heating. Whether your home isn’t compatible with traditional HVAC systems or you’re simply looking at all your options for an efficient home heating system, the benefits of ductless heat pumps are worth exploring.
Quick & Easy Installation
Compared to the installation of other types of space conditioning systems which can take weeks and some major construction, mini split systems are far less invasive to install. Typically, the coupling of the indoor and outdoor units requires only a 3-inch hole through the conduit wall. That means homeowners don’t have to worry about rebuilding walls around the ductwork or losing any valuable square footage. Overall, the installation process is much less disruptive on your daily routine with many units up and running in as little as a day or two.
Increased Energy Efficiency
Ducted systems have a reputation for losing energy. Due to their construction, heat often dissipates through the ducts as it disperses throughout the home. Since mini splits don’t require ductwork, they aren’t susceptible to the same type of delivery system and energy loss. And unlike most traditional ducted systems that have two modes of operation, either on or off, ductless units use inverter-driven compressors to speed up or slow down based on the system needs. This eliminates the process of the compressor starting up each time, which consumes a lot of energy.
Ductless units make it easy to maintain your existing interior design with highly-customizable and minimally-intrusive placement options. Air-handlers can be suspended from a ceiling, mounted into drop ceilings or affixed to a wall, while a variety of floor options exist as well. And through a variety of lengths for the unit’s connecting conduits, homeowners have the ability to locate the outdoor unit as far as 50 feet from the indoor evaporator. People also tend to love how remarkably quiet ductless units operate.
Overall, ductless units give homeowners much more control of their heating system. Individual air-handling units work in “zones,” meaning homeowners can adjust the system to heat certain rooms only when they’re occupied, instead of constantly heating the entire home. You can also choose from customizable features like timers and built-in sleep functions to minimize utility costs each month.
The last thing you want is a heating system that requires more work and repairs, so by choosing a long-lasting option, you can save yourself the hassle of frequent contractor visits and more costs. Mini split heating systems can last up to 20 years if properly maintained.
Why You May Still Prefer Ducted Heating Units
The cost of installing mini splits can be higher than other systems, despite lower operating costs and rebates helping offset this initial cost. And while ducted units may require a more extensive installation, they tend to offer a more built-in look as a result, which some people prefer over the indoor features of the ductless system. Additionally, ductless systems also need a space to drain condensate water for every indoor air handler.
When it comes down to it, many consumers are simply more familiar with ducted systems due to the relatively newness of the ductless unit, and therefore are more comfortable with it as their heating system. With good airflow exchange, filtration and humidity control, it does present reason to stick to what you know. But as you make your decision, you should also consider the layout and structural design of your home to determine which system is a better fit for you. The installer must determine the best location for each unit and correctly size it in order to provide proper temperature and humidity control. An experienced HVAC company can help you decipher which unit will most benefit you and your home in the long run by analyzing photos or conducting a home visit prior to installation.
While qualified installers for ductless mini split systems may be tough to find, Unique Indoor Comfort has over half a century of heating and cooling expertise, including years of experience installing ductless mini split systems in homes all across the Greater Philadelphia area. Contact us today to learn more about ducted vs. ductless mini split systems and discuss all your options to find the best heating solution for you.