Ductless vs Ducted Heat Pumps: What's Best for Your Home?

outdoor compressor for heat pump

Which one suits your home best, a ducted heat pump or a ductless mini split? Which one is the most efficient? And most importantly, which one will keep you comfortable all year in the Finger Lakes climate? The good news is that you're on the right path—heat pumps, in general, are an excellent choice, especially for efficiently heating and cooling older homes. But choosing the right heat pump configuration will maximize that efficiency, and ensure you get the most out of your HVAC upgrade.

Understanding Ducted and Ductless Heat Pumps

Let's quickly summarize what ducted and ductless heat pumps are. Both systems utilize the efficient technology of heat pumps, which works quite similar to how a refrigerator works, but in two different ways. Heat pumps remove heat from the indoor space in the summer, and absorb heat from the outside air in the winter (even in freezing temperatures). This gives ducted and ductless heat pumps the ability to provide hot and cold air without the need for gas, propane, or oil. 

A ducted heat pump connects to central ductwork in order to distribute conditioned (heated or cooled) air throughout your home. On the other hand, a ductless heat pump, also known as a ductless mini split, is an indoor air handler connected to an outdoor compressor without the use of ductwork. Mini splits provide targeted heating and cooling, and can be installed in nearly any room of a home. 

The Efficiency of Ducted Heat Pumps

For homes with existing ductwork in good condition—meaning it's well-designed, well-insulated, and not leaky—a ducted heat pump can be a cost and energy efficient, all-electric option. These systems are designed to leverage your home's existing infrastructure, thereby reducing upfront installation costs.

When to Choose Ductless Heat Pumps

Ductless heat pumps and mini splits are effective at cooling areas where the original ductwork may not have been installed, like added square footage or previously unfinished spaces. A mini split can be used for:

  • Bonus rooms
  • She sheds and pool houses
  • Finished garages and basements 
  • And more

Utilizing ductless heat pumps in a multi-zoned approach allows you to target specific areas in your home. This means that you can heat or cool only the areas that are in use, thereby saving energy and reducing fights over the thermostat settings. Certain heat pump models allow for up to 5 indoor air handlers to be connected to a single outdoor air compressor, leading to efficient, zoned, and all electric heating and cooling.

What if Your Home Lacks Ductwork?

For homes without existing ductwork, the case for ductless heat pumps is even more compelling. Installing ductwork can be invasive, time-consuming, and expensive. In contrast, a ductless heat pump requires only a small hole in the wall to connect the outdoor compressor and the indoor air handlers. 

Call Halco for Heat Pump Installation

When deciding between ducted and ductless heat pumps, it's essential to consider the state of your existing ductwork and your home's specific heating needs. At Halco, we treat the entire home as an interconnected system. Installing heat pumps to heat and cool your home should be handled by an expert that can assess your heating and cooling loads, and recommend and design a system that will meet your needs without wasting energy. 

Get ducted or ductless heat pump installation for your home, with Halco! Call 1-833-844-2622 to start designing your upgrade today.

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