Ducted or Mini Split Heat Pumps? How to Choose


Find out which type of heat pump setup is best suited to your home and your heating and cooling preferences.

Choosing a new heating and cooling system for your home is a significant long-term decision. You will likely be living with your choice of an HVAC system for well over a decade, so it’s essential that you make an informed choice.

You know that heat pumps are a popular option because of their versatility and energy efficiency. However, when it comes to picking the right heat pump, it can be tough to choose from the options and configurations available to you.

There are two primary configurations of heat pump systems, ducted and ductless (also known as mini-splits). Choosing the proper setup to install will come down to several factors, such as the layout of your home, and what you’d like to get out of a home heating and cooling system.

What is The Difference Between Ducted Heat Pumps and Mini-Splits?

The most significant difference between ducted and ductless systems is what the name implies—the presence of ducts. Ducts are sheet metal passages that allow air to flow from a central unit to different areas of your home. Typically, houses that were constructed to use forced air furnaces would have ductwork already in place.

By replacing your old furnace with a ducted heat pump system, your central heat pump unit would spread heated or cooled air through the ducts and out of the vents in each room of your home.

In contrast, ductless units use individual air handlers to spread air to only the area or room containing that unit. Ductless units can have several air handlers in different areas of your home, all connected to a single outdoor unit. This zoned approach allows for maximum efficiency of electricity use, as you have the option of heating or cooling only the room that you’re using.

As you’ll see, each configuration has their benefits that depend on how you’d like to heat and cool your home.

There are also a few different configurations of ductless mini-splits. Click the article below to learn more about them: What Are Ductless (Mini-Split) Heat Pumps?

When Are Ducted Heat Pumps The Best Option?

There are several scenarios where ducted units are your best bet for an HVAC solution:

Your House Has Existing Ductwork

The top factor to consider when deciding between ducted or ductless systems is whether or not your house already has ductwork installed. If so, a ducted system will be your best bet as you already have the necessary infrastructure in place

You Require a Complete Heating and Cooling System

Although mini-splits can operate at very low temperatures, they will need to rely on a backup heat source (such as a traditional heating method) for unusually cold days. One tremendous benefit of most ducted systems is that they have their own built-in backup heating system for days where a heat pump could struggle to operate effectively.

You Want A Cleaner Design

Apart from the outdoor and central indoor unit, ducted systems go unseen in the rooms which they are heating or cooling, resulting in a solution that won’t alter the aesthetic of your home’s interior.

Airflow is an Issue in Your House

Since duct systems connect each room in your home, central heat pump systems naturally offer better airflow throughout your house. Better airflow can help alleviate that musty feeling when the air in a particular room becomes stale.

When Are Ductless Heat Pumps The Best Option?

You don’t want to install ducts

Mini-split heat-pump systems are quickly becoming a popular heating and cooling option for homeowners, especially those without ductwork already in-place. Ductwork can be somewhat expensive to install in your home, so for many homeowners, it makes much more sense avoid that hassle and go with a mini-split option.

Quick and Easy Installation

The installation process for mini-splits is reasonably fast and does not require much disturbance to your walls or siding. After an in-home consultation from a Daikin Comfort Pro, the installation can often be completed in under a day. For this reason, many homeowners choose ductless options, especially when their traditional heating method does not need to be replaced any time soon, and can act as a suitable backup.

Maximum Efficiency

Mini-splits offer the best option for maximizing energy savings, as you only need to heat or cool whichever room you’re currently using. This efficient zoning capability also gives you the opportunity to cool or heat rooms at different temperatures, adding another layer of versatility. The same versatility is not always present with some ducted units.

There are several different types of both ducted and ductless heat pumps. Learn more about them here: Mini-Splits vs Ducted Heat Pumps: What’s The Difference?

Find The Right Heat Pump For Your Home

Now that you have a better idea of which heat pump configuration is a better fit for your home; download the Daikin Heat Pump Catalogue to browse our lineup of Daikin mini-split and centrally ducted heat pumps.