How Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps Work
Today, homeowners have an unprecedented array of choices when the time comes to replace a heating/cooling system. For example, instead of installing a standard centralized system, you can opt for a new type of system arranged around something called a ductless mini-split heat pump. Here are a few details that help explain why this temperature control system has a broad-based appeal.
Heat Pump Basics
Heat pumps don’t directly generate heat like a traditional furnace or an electric furnace. Instead, they pull heat from the surrounding environment, concentrate that heat and conduct it into your home’s interior. Depending on the model in question, a heat pump may pull heat from the ground, from the outside air or from a lake or some other water source. Despite their names, heat pumps can also cool your home in the summertime. They achieve this goal by reversing the direction of their air flow and pulling warmth out of the interior of your home.
Most homes in America have a standard, centralized indoor ducting system that carries air to and from all connected rooms at the same time. The individual ducts in this type of system are usually placed behind walls, above ceilings and/or below floors. As its name implies, a ductless system does not contain indoor ducts that run to a centralized point. Instead, the heating/cooling units mounted directly in individual rooms are equipped with relatively small tubes called conduits, which exit straight from the room to the outside via a hole in the wall or floor. Outside the building, the conduits in each room run to heat pump’s location.
Unlike a standard, centralized air system, a mini-split system lets you set up individual temperature control zones inside your home by separately controlling the function of room-mounted heating/cooling units. You can use this increased control to do such things as increase or lower the temperature in only certain parts of the house, or even avoid sending any heat or air conditioning at all to specific rooms or entire areas of the house. While basic mini-splits may only let you set up two separate temperature zones, more sophisticated mini-splits will allow you to set up five or more zones.
To sum things up, a ductless mini-split heat pump lets you direct heat from the surrounding environment to separately controllable zones inside your home without taking up the interior space required for a traditional ducting network. Unless winters in your area bring especially harsh temperatures, this type of setup may be just the ticket for advanced, efficient home heating (and cooling).
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