Homeowner Articles Ducted vs Ductless Heat Pump

Are you looking for an efficient and cost-effective way to heat or cool your home?

If so, then you may want to consider a heat pump. This type of heating and cooling system is becoming increasingly popular within American households and can provide the comfort you need while saving money on your energy bills.

But if you choose it, there’s still one important question to ask: which is right for your home: a ducted vs ductless heat pump?

In this article, we’ll compare the differences: their features, pros and cons, installation costs, energy efficiency ratings, maintenance requirements, noise levels, and more.

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So Then, Which Is Better?

ductless mini split

There a number of factors that differentiate a ducted heat pump system from a ductless heat pump system, so we need to talk about these in order to compare the models.

Here’s an explanation of how each of these systems works, and what advantages and disadvantages they have compared to other systems.

Ducted Heat Pumps

How Do They Work?

ducted heat pump

Ducted heat pumps use a single outdoor unit to circulate heated or cooled air throughout the home.

The outdoor unit contains a compressor, fan, and condenser coil.

These work together to take heat energy from the outdoor air and bring it into the home during the winter, and release heat energy into the outdoor air in summer.

They move air through the ducts in your home using a forced air system controlled by the central indoor unit.

The indoor unit contains the evaporator coil and blower fan to condition and move the air.

The ducts then distribute the conditioned air throughout the house through vents located in each room.

Advantages Of Ducted Heat Pumps

Ducted heat pumps are a popular option for homeowners looking to optimize their comfort when heating or cooling their homes.

Compared to ductless heat pumps, ducted systems provide greater coverage and larger airflows throughout the entire home.

They are also more powerful in terms of cooling and heating output, meaning they can handle larger spaces with ease.

Additionally, since the system is centralized and all connected through the same ductwork, it makes maintenance much easier than having multiple units.

Furthermore, because there is only one indoor unit, it reduces noise pollution compared to a system with multiple indoor units that can be loud when running.

Disadvantages Of Ducted Heat Pumps

If you’re in the market for a heat pump, one of the most major setbacks to consider between ducted and ductless models is the expense.

Ducted systems require extra equipment such as vents and new air pathways, which can be quite costly if your home lacks existing ductwork, or even more expensive should it need retrofitting.

Additionally, since circulated air follows through shared ducts within a building’s walls, any leakage or impediments could cause unequal heating/cooling temperatures among rooms inside your dwelling.

The large size and design of a ducted heat pump may not be suitable for tight spaces which can be easily catered to by its more compact counterpart – a ductless heat pump.

In a very similar vein, since all rooms are linked through one single unit and control set-up, it makes tailoring temperature settings in each room impossible, unlike ductless systems.

Ductless Heat Pumps

How Do They Work?

family adjusting a ductless heat pump

Ductless heat pumps (also known as mini-split heat pumps or ductless mini-splits) are different from ducted heat pumps because they do not use ducts to distribute air throughout the home.

Like a ducted heat pump, they have an outdoor unit that contains a compressor, fan, and condenser coil, which is used to transfer heat energy in and out of the home.

However, the indoor unit recirculates conditioned air directly into each room or zone through multiple small wall-mounted blowers instead of through ducts.

Because of this, each zone can be independently controlled by the air handlers for temperature based on individual needs.

Advantages Of Ductless Heat Pumps

The advantages of ductless mini-split systems compared to ducted heat pumps are numerous.

Ductless heat pumps offer increased energy efficiency for all kinds of energy sources, allowing homeowners to cut heating costs for the entire house.

They are also more efficient at cooling and heating individual rooms or zones, providing a great way to reduce energy costs and customize temperature levels in different home areas.

Furthermore, since they don’t require ductwork, they can be installed quickly and easily with minimum disruption; this is especially beneficial for homes that don’t have existing ducts.

Disadvantages Of Ductless Heat Pumps

The main disadvantage of ductless heat pumps compared to ducted heat pumps is that they cannot cool or heat a whole house at once.

Instead, each room or zone needs its own unit and controls.

This can make it harder to manage the temperature in all the rooms than with a ducted system, though, of course, at the same time, it allows for more precision if you’re willing to adjust them individually.

Lastly, they are slightly noisier than ducted systems since each room has its own fan unit.

You should check with whoever lives with you that this won’t be a problem for them.

The Real Question To Ask: Which Is Right For You?

kid thinking

The decision of whether to install a ducted or ductless heat pump depends on your individual circumstance.

Ductless min splits are ideal for homes without existing ductwork or tight spaces where no other system would fit, but they aren’t as effective as ductless systems in heating and cooling full homes.

In contrast, installing ducted systems takes time and money but offers greater comfort and easier long-term maintenance.

No matter what style you choose, you’ll also have to decide between air-source heat pumps and ground-source heat pumps.

While ground-source is more efficient, it’s also more expensive, which might be an additional cost to those investing in ducted heat pump systems.

Ultimately, each choice comes with its own set of trade-offs that need to be considered when deciding which system best suits you and your home’s needs.

Ducted & Ductless Heat Pump Installation And Repairs

When it comes to getting complex heat pump installation and repairs done, homeowners should trust their homes to a professional HVAC company.

Not only can Upstate Home Maintenance Services advise on the best type of system for your specific home and budget, but we can install it quickly and safely.

Our HVAC system professionals have years of experience with all kinds of systems, so you know that whatever model you choose – whether a ducted or ductless system; or a ground source or air source heat pump – it will be installed correctly and efficiently.

If you live in Spartanburg, SC, or Greenville, contact us today.

We also specialize in installations on air conditioners, furnaces, and HVAC systems, so no matter your goal, we’re here to help.

This article was written by Morgan Loch

Owner of Upstate Home Maintenance Services LLC and Local HVAC Guru

Connect with Morgan on Linkedin