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When you think about cooling, you probably don't think of heat pumps. In fact, the words "air conditioner" is probably what you think. A heat pump can both heat and cool, and in some applications, it's preferred to separate heating and cooling systems. Heat pumps are typically used to pull heat out of the air or ground to heat a home or office building, but they can be reversed to cool a building. Heat pumps and air conditioners operate in a very similar way. One of the biggest advantages of a heat pump installation over a standard (HVAC) heating and air conditioning unit is that there's no need to install separate systems to heat and cool your home. Heat pumps also work extremely efficiently, because they simply transfer heat, rather than burn fuel to create it. This makes them a little more green than a gas burning furnace. They work best in moderate climates, so if you don't experience extreme heat and cold weather, then using a heat pump instead of a furnace and air conditioner could help you save a little money each month.
Mini splits are ductless heating-and-cooling systems. Also referred to as ductless heat pump. They look like what you’ve probably seen in hotel rooms, although residential models these days are smaller and more streamlined. A mini-split system has two components: an indoor air-handling unit (or units) and an outdoor condenser. The components are connected by a conduit, and no ducts are involved. Mini splits can offer both heating and cooling in one. They are generally designed to cool and heat a single room or zone, and there may be up to four indoor handling units hooked up to a single outside condenser.Mini splits are not right for every space, but there are definitely advantages for particular applications. Here are a few places you might consider installing such a system:
- A home that has no ductwork, like one that has previously had radiant or electric baseboard heat. One outdoor condenser can operate up to four indoor air handlers, so you could individually control four rooms/zones with a single mini-split system.
- Rooms that are not regularly occupied. You can turn off the mini-split system and close the door to save money.
- Additions or outbuildings where extending or installing ductwork is not feasible.
- Spaces that are adjacent to unconditioned spaces (like garages, attics, and unfinished basements) where ductwork would be exposed to harsher temperatures.
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