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Heat Pumps vs Mini Split Systems

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If you’re building a new home, or need to replace your current air conditioner or furnace, make sure you choose the best heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system possible. Rest assured that Classic Aire Care is here to help! In this blog, we’ll go over two HVAC systems and compare mini splits vs heat pumps. Although these systems are less common, they offer amazing energy efficiency benefits and keep your home at the perfect temperature all year round.  

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What Are Mini Split Systems?


Mini split systems are also referred to as “ductless air conditioners”, for their ability to cool (and heat) homes without ductwork. Mini splits have indoor and outdoor units that function together to transfer hot and cool air, providing efficient heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. A large home may have multiple indoor units which allows for zoning, meaning you can centralize the airflow and temperature of each room in the home.

Single Zone Systems 

Single-zone mini split systems consist of one outdoor unit connected to a single indoor unit, providing heating and cooling for a specific room or area. A single-zone system is ideal for small living spaces and homes that prefer cohesive heating and cooling. Single-zone systems offer simplicity and efficiency for individual rooms, while multi-zone systems provide customized comfort for larger spaces. 

Multi-Zone Systems

Multi-zone mini split systems feature one outdoor unit connected to multiple indoor units, allowing for independent temperature control in different zones or rooms. A multi-zone system is generally best suited for large homes, room additions, or rooms that need unique heating and cooling requirements.

The Pros and Cons of Mini Split Systems


Flexibility in Installation

Mini split systems offer flexibility in installation because they don’t require ductwork. Whether you are retrofitting an older home or adding an extension, mini splits can be installed in a variety of locations best to suit the specific needs of your living space. 

Zoning Capabilities

One of the major advantages of mini split systems is their zoning capabilities, which allow personalized comfort and better energy efficiency. 

Better Air Quality

Mini splits don’t require ducts to transfer air throughout the home, instead, they use a small conduit that connects the indoor and outdoor units. With a mini split, you don’t have to worry about the allergens, dust, and other debris that live in the ductwork of a home. In addition, most ductless air conditioners have a better filtration system than other HVAC systems, ensuring cleaner air throughout your home.  


Higher Upfront Cost 

The initial cost of a mini split may be more expensive than traditional HVAC systems. However, if you already live in a home without ducts, mini splits may be the more cost-effective option since other HVAC systems would require duct installation as well which can be pricey. It’s also important to note that a mini split system offers better energy efficiency because of its zoning capabilities, lowering your utility bill. 

Unsightly Appearance

Some homeowners don’t mind the appearance of the indoor and outdoor units, whereas others see them as eyesores or not fitting with the aesthetics of their home. Traditional HVAC systems hide their components like ductwork within the walls of a home, whereas mini split units are visible.   

Incompatible in Extreme Climates

If you live in an area with extreme temperatures, especially cold temperatures, then you may need a supplemental heating system. Since mini split systems rely on capturing heat from the outside air, they may not perform as well in extremely cold climates. 

What Are Heat Pumps? 

heat pump outside of st louis house

Heat pumps are versatile HVAC systems that function very similarly to mini split systems. Despite its name, heat pumps can cool your home in addition to heating. Heat pumps work by utilizing a refrigerant cycle that absorbs heat from the air, water, and ground outside of your home and transfers it inside during the cold winter months. During the hot summer months, the refrigerant cycle reverses and takes the hot air from inside your home and transfers it outside.

The Pros and Cons of Heat Pumps


Eco-Friendly Heating and Cooling

Heat pumps excel in moderate climates and provide energy-efficient heating and cooling throughout the year. Additionally, they are a great HVAC option if you’re trying to cut down on your carbon footprint since they use electricity—not gas. 

Low Operating Costs 

Heat pumps generally have lower operating costs compared to traditional heating systems which can save you money long-term. 


Incompatible in Extreme Climates

Similar to mini splits, heat pumps have reduced efficiency in extremely cold weather conditions. These systems work the same way, and if there isn’t enough heat outside, then the heat pump won’t work as effectively. When temperatures get below freezing, ice can form on your outdoor unit and will need to defrost before being able to use it.  

Shorter Lifespans

Heat pumps have a long lifespan of about 10-15 years, but gas furnaces can usually last much longer. Make sure you compare the lifespan of different HVAC systems when you’re choosing which one to go with.

Making the Decision: Mini Split or Heat Pump?

Choose a Mini Split When…

Mini split systems fit best in smaller homes or spaces without existing ductwork. If your home already has ductwork in place, it may be more cost-effective to opt for a traditional HVAC system. Mini splits offer the flexibility of zoning, allowing for individualized comfort and temperature control in different areas. 

Choose a Heat Pump When… 

When you’re deciding between a heat pump and a mini split, keep in mind that both HVAC systems may not perform as well in extreme climates. If you do live in an area with extreme temperatures, a traditional HVAC system may be right for you. Make sure you evaluate the upfront costs against the long-term energy savings to determine the overall cost-effectiveness of a heat pump. 

HVAC Services in St. Louis

When selecting an HVAC system for your home, consider a heat pump or mini-split system over traditional systems for enhanced functioning and long-term costs. Your home is an investment, make sure it’s built to last with a reliable heating and cooling system. Consult with one of our HVAC professionals at Classic Aire Care to help you decide which HVAC system is right for you and ensure a flawless installation service. 

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