Forced Air Or Mini-Split Ductless Heat Pump? FAQs About Heating Services

Which HVAC system is the right choice for your home—a forced air heater or a ductless mini-split heat pump? If you need a new system and you're not sure which type to select, take a look at what you need to know about heating services, options, HVAC efficiency, and more.

What Is A Forced Air HVAC System? 

The term "forced air" describes the HVAC system's heating distribution method. As the name implies, a forced air system forces the warmed air throughout the interior space. The system relies on a network of ducts and vents to move the air from a central point (a furnace) into each room. 

What Is A Mini-Split Ductless System?

Instead of ducts and vents, this type of heating/cooling system uses individual appliances to heat your home in zones. The system requires an outdoor condenser (a central forced air conditioning system also requires this exterior component) and indoor air handlers. 

Which System Is More Energy Efficient?

Is the rising price of natural gas, electricity, or another HVAC system fuel tipping your budget too far? Whether you're searching for a way to lower your home's utility costs, you want to install an eco-conscious heater/air conditioner, or both, you need an energy-efficient option. 

There is no universal type of energy-efficient HVAC system. You can find energy-efficient options in both forced air and mini-split models. But this doesn't mean that you won't find some general efficiency advantages in some types of systems. 

Ductless heaters often offer the most efficiency benefits when compared to a traditional forced air system. These benefits are the result of two major differences in the overall setups of the heating/cooling appliances—ducts and zones. 

The heating-related losses created by forced air systems through ducts account for 30 percent or more of the overall energy consumption, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. This number can jump to a higher percentage if the ducts have damage, wear, or are in unheated spaces. Without ducts, mini-split systems reduce these losses and the energy used to offset them.

Along with duct-related efficiency issues, mini-split systems can improve energy usage by heating in zones. Instead of heating your entire home, you can choose spaces to install air handlers. This reduces the overall energy necessary to control the indoor air temperature and can cut utility costs. 

Who Should Install the HVAC System?

This answer is the same for both types of systems. Only a qualified HVAC contractor should provide heating system services and install either a forced air or a mini-split ductless system. These appliances are complex and require a specialized set of knowledge and extensive experience to install correctly. Failure to install either type of system correctly could result in damage to the heater, cause a home safety hazard, or void a warranty.

Contact a local heating system service to learn more.