Heat Pump vs. Mini Split Systems

02.20.2023 | News, Product


A common question to technicians is: “What is the difference between a heat pump and a mini split system?”

Knowing how to explain what a heat pump and a mini split system are can be invaluable for technicians. A mini-split is also often called a heat pump. It is a ductless heating and cooling system that can regulate the temperatures in individual rooms or spaces. This is in contrast to the traditional central air system that require a ducted install.

What is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump is an all-in-one climate control system that can both heat and cool your home. It works by transferring either warm or cool air from one area to another, depending on the season.

During the summer months, an air conditioner pulls warm air out of your home and replaces it with cooled air. This cooling process is achieved by drawing in air from the outside. The air then passes over a cooling coil containing a refrigerant. Finally, the cooled air is pushed back into the home.

During the winter months, the air conditioner works in reverse, transferring warm air from outside into your home. The outside air is pulled into the house, passes through a coil with a refrigerant, and then is pushed back inside to provide warmth.

Mini-split heat pumps are an alternative to traditional air conditioners, as they do not require ducts to transfer heat. They may also be referred to as ductless mini-split air conditioners, ductless ACs, or a mini-split air conditioning system.

Mini-split heating systems have two primary units consisting of an outdoor compressor and an indoor evaporator. The indoor unit maintains the room temperature by ventilating warm/cold air while the outdoor unit discharges the unwanted heat generated during the process.

How Heat Pumps Work for Mini Split Systems.

A ductless heat pump system transfers heat through a pattern of evaporation and condensation as a refrigerant substance runs through the system. All ductless heat pumps contain two heat exchanger coils, one used to condense the refrigerant and another to evaporate it.

The refrigerant sucks up heat from the encompassing area throughout the process of evaporation. On the other hand, the condensing process diffuses heat absorbed previously. Ductless heat pumps then regulate the room’s desired temperature as a result of the movement of refrigerant between these coils.

Ductless Mini Split Systems

Ductless Mini Split Systems, as its name suggests, does not require ductwork. Each room in your house has its own individual unit - usually mounted on the wall, ceiling or the floor. Conditioned air passes directly into the room through this individual unit. This eliminates the need for central ducts. Making mini split systems ideal for smaller homes or homes with difficult to access areas, such as attics or crawl spaces.

Additionally, mini split systems are more efficient than traditional HVAC systems. This is because they do not lose energy through leaky ducts. Instead, they transfer energy directly from one unit to another with minimal loss.

Inaba Denko America - Mini Split

Mini-Split Features

Mini split systems offer features that make them attractive for homes without existing ductwork. Ductless equipment can accomplish applications such as zoned heating and cooling, quieter operation, better air filtration and lower energy bills.

Zoning allows multiple temperature settings or individual room temperature control, with wireless remotes or Wi-Fi enabled thermostats. This allows you to use only the energy you need, where you need it. We are transferring the heat through refrigerant lines instead of ductwork. This saves the homeowner money on costly renovations both during and after the installation.

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HVAC Costs & Installation

When it comes to cost and the ease of installation, mini split systems offer a cost-effective solution compared to other heating and cooling options that require having ducts installed into existing spaces. Professional installation due to complexity of their design is recommended.


When selecting a heating/cooling system for your home, it is important to look beyond the initial cost and think about the comfort features that each system provides, such as zoning. Also, the long-term costs such as maintenance fees and energy consumption associated with each option.

Using the correct equipment for installation, like lineset, lineset covers, drain hose and more, can guarantee that your system will function effectively for a long time.

Before making a purchase, it is important to do thorough research on the various options available. This will help you to determine the product that best meets your needs while also saving you money in the long run.

You should consider factors such as the climate you live in, any special features you may need, such as energy efficiency or noise reduction, and the cost of installation and operation. Additionally, you should research the reviews of different brands and products to ensure that you are making a wise investment.

Once you have done your research, you can confidently choose the right option that will provide you with the comfort you need while also helping you to save money.


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