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A Comparison of A Standard Heat Pump and A Mini-Split

mini-split install with Mass Save Rebates

It’s time to update your heating and cooling system in your home, and you are debating what system is right for you. Mini-split systems have risen in popularity because of their ductless operation, but standard ducted heat pumps still have their merits. The first step to choosing the heating system for your home is to understand the similarities and differences between them. Let’s look at both systems to try to determine which one would work well for your home. 


The Similarities

Both standard heat pumps and mini-split units operate moving air rather than creating heat within the system. They use the outside air in combination with coils in the inner and outer units and refrigerant to heat and cool the home. The coils change the liquid refrigerant to gas, and then they change the gas back to a liquid. This process helps to move cool air inside to heat the home and warm air outside to cool it. 

Both systems have the potential to offer zoned heating. What is zoned heating? That allows you to heat (or cool) only the sections of the home you use with regularity. In other words, you can choose not to heat the entire house when you have rooms you only use when you have guests. Conversely, if you’re home is bubbling with activity and there is no wasted space, then you can heat the entire home efficiently. 

Standard Heat Pump


Standard systems move the heat or air through ductwork in the walls, ceiling, or floor of the home. When evaluating whether a standard heat pump is a good choice it’s important to know if the ductwork is already in place or if you will have to have it installed. If your home previously had a central heat and air system, there should already be ductwork installed within the home. 

Standard heat pumps offer a more centralized method of heating. While they can offer zone temperature control, they typically have a central thermostat that controls the temperature in all rooms at once.

Mini-Split Heat Pump

In contrast to the standard heat pump, the mini-split heat pump system doesn’t require ductwork. A mini-split heat pump has a compressor that is variable speed, so it can run as much or as little as you need it to run. It’s easier to modify a home with a mini-split system if necessary because there are no ducts to move. 

Mini-split systems have natural zoning capabilities built into the system. They have an exterior component and one or more interior components that are connected with a small conduit. Each interior unit can be operated separately to ensure the comfort of individual areas within the home. 

Final Thoughts

Heat pumps are a good way to upgrade your heating and cooling system in your home. The standard heat pump system has ductwork and is a more centralized method of heating and cooling. The mini-splits units have no ductwork and are more zoned heating friendly .

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