Not Your Average AC Unit: Advantages of a Mini-Split Heat Pump for the Owner of a Small Home

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If you live in a large home, you need a cooling system that will efficiently push conditioned air to every room in your home. On the other hand, if you live in a small home or a basement, you may be able to manage without a central-air system. Furthermore, if you only have to worry about a mild winter, you may be able to heat and cool your home with one piece of equipment—the mini-split heat pump.

What is a Mini-Split System?

A central-air system will have a set of condenser coils on the outside of your home and a separate set of evaporator coils located inside your home. This is a split system. A mini-split system will likewise have one large set of condenser coils located outside your home, and up to four small evaporator units located right in the rooms that need cooling. In that they don't require ducts, mini-split systems are sometimes referred to as ductless. More on this later. 

What is a Heat Pump?

Your AC system cools your home by absorbing heat from the air in your home and expelling it outside. A heat pump reverses the flow of refrigerant through the system so that it absorbs heat from the outside air and then expels the heat inside your home. Thus, you can use one piece of equipment to both heat and cool your home. 

When Is a Mini-Split Heat Pump a Good Choice for Your Home?

Heat pumps are most efficient at heating a home when the outside temperature is around forty degrees. Thus, if you live in the north, you probably will not be able to use a heat pump as your primary heat source during the winter. On the other hand, in temperate zones you can eliminate the need to install both an AC unit and a furnace to condition the air in your home by buying a heat pump. This will help to reduce your installation and maintenance costs. 

A basement should stay cool without the need to run an AC unit, and if you don't have more than four rooms that need cooling, you can use a mini-split system to cool those rooms. By using a mini-split system to target your needs, you can avoid the waste of cooling rooms that don't need cooling. Furthermore, something as simple as the pressure of air flowing through ducts can create leaks, and leaky ducts can decrease your HVAC efficiency by up to 40%. Thus, by eliminating ducts, you can keep your operating costs lower. 

Mini-split heat pumps might not be the right choice for everyone, but you should at least consider them for your home. Discuss your options with an HVAC professional, such as Quality HomEnergy, to decide if a mini-split heat pump is right for you.