Central Air vs. Ductless Heat Pumps

With warmer temperatures on the horizon, you may be wondering what the best solution for keeping cool in the Pacific Northwest summer. Innovations in efficient cooling solutions have likely made great strides since you last replaced your cooling system, so let’s compare two options: central air and ductless heat pumps. Both provide cooling using different technology, so a lot will depend on your family’s needs.

How Do They Work?

Central air is a common cooling solution for many homes in  Vancouver, WA and Portland, OR, but it provides only cooling. It relies on an outside AC unit to cool air that is then circulated throughout your home via ductwork.

Ductless heat pumps, sometimes called “mini-split heat pumps,” offer year-round cooling and heating using an outside heat pump that is connected to an inside air handler that’s mounted high on a wall. Ductless heat pumps can be installed wherever cooling and heating are needed, without needing to be connected to ductwork.

Centralized vs. Zoned Comfort

A traditional central air conditioner delivers cooled air throughout your entire home, which can be a challenge depending on the size of your house. It also limits your whole home to one temperature setting, using extra energy to cool unused rooms.

Compare that centralized system to a ductless heat pump that only cools its immediate area — usually one or two rooms. Each ductless heat pump has its own controls, so each zone can be set at a different temperature. For a large home, that may translate into multple heat pumps to cover the entire space. The upside is that you’ll be able to target which rooms you want air conditioned. Ductless heat pumps provide a custom comfort solution and that can cut your energy bills dramatically.

Summer vs. Year-Round Solutions

Central air conditioners are only useful during warm weather, since their sole function is cooling. For heat you’ll need a separate heating system in your home — either a furnace or boiler. Ductless heat pumps provide cooling and heating. With the changeable weather we experience in the Northwest, it’s great to be able to switch back and forth between the two functions. Plus with a single system to look after, you’ll save on maintenance versus separate service calls for a furnace and central air.

Fixed vs. Flexible

Ductless heat pumps use small flexible tubes instead of bulky ductwork to deliver conditioned air into your home. Central air conditioning systems and heating systems generally share bulky ductwork to deliver heat and cooling throughout your home. If your home doesn’t currently have a forced air system, installing ductwork can be an invasive and costly process. Ductless mini-splits don’t rely on ductwork, allowing them to be installed quickly and easily.

Efficient Cooling Upgrades Save Money

Even if it’s just 10 years old, replacing your existing central air with a new air conditioning unit cold save 20% to 40% in energy costs because of improved efficiency ratings. If you’re hoping to really save money, opting for a targeted high efficiency ductless heat pump upgrade may make more sense. No matter what system you select, the AC pros at Revival Energy can identify the right cooling solution for your specific needs.

Ductless heat pumps are an efficient cooling choice. Find out what a ductless heat pump can do for you by calling

Vancouver: 360-836-5366 Portland, OR: 503-893-8243

or contacting us!