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Brown's Heating & Cooling Blog

Ducted & Ductless Heat Pumps: What’s the Difference?


Mini splits, heat pumps, and ductless systems–oh my! If you’re confused about all these terms you’ve read about and need some clarification, you’ve come to the right place.

Although it may take a minute to wrap your head around all the heat pump terminology, it’s definitely worth learning about these amazing HVAC systems. Let’s go over the basics of heat pumps including what’s the difference between ducted and ductless systems. It’s really not that complicated once you know how these systems work. Let’s explain.

The Name “Heat pump” Can Be Confusing

You’re not alone if you’ve been confused by the thought of an air conditioner that’s called a “heat pump.” Although heat pumps provide both heating and cooling, the reason they got that name in the first place is because they “pump” or transfer heat from one place to another. 

When a heat pump is in heating mode, it taps into the heat in the ambient air outside and transfers it inside your home. In cooling mode, it collects the heat inside your home and pumps it outside. It really is an ingenious system.

What’s the Difference Between Ducted & Ductless Heat Pumps?

In a nutshell, ductless heat pumps don’t require ductwork to work. Ducted heat pumps do require ductwork. Ductless heat pumps are also called ductless mini splits. It’s that simple! 

As you think about your home’s setup, you’re likely beginning to understand the pros and cons of each. Let’s say you live in a 50-year-old home that’s always been heated by a central, forced-air furnace. Your home’s ductwork likely isn’t in the best of shape considering its age.

With a ductless heat pump (same as a mini split system), you can bypass the need for ductwork entirely. We’ll install air handlers in the rooms of your home which will deliver the conditioned air instead of a complicated network of air ducts. 

As you can imagine, the energy efficiency of ductless heat pumps is pretty remarkable! But ducted heat pumps also have incredible efficiency levels. So, what’s a situation where a ducted heat pump might be better than ductless? We’re glad you asked.

Which Is Better For Me: Ducted or Ductless?

Let’s say your home is relatively new and well-built. Its ductwork is in great shape with very few holes, tears, or problematic connection points. Your home is a great candidate for a ducted heat pump. You’ll have a setup that’s similar to a central AC or furnace. 

You’ll also enjoy paying less for this system because it usually costs less than a mini split system, especially if your home’s ductwork is in great shape. Ductless systems can cost more to purchase upfront because of the sheer amount of air handlers and the labor required to install all of them.

We hope we’ve clarified any confusion you may have had regarding heat pumps and answered any lingering questions. Be sure and contact us today if you need any more information.

Don’t let the weather get you down, call Brown’s! Brown’s Heating & Cooling is your trusted resource for heat pump services in Colorado Springs. Contact us today!

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