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How Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps Work

February 18, 2016

If you’re replacing an old heating system or installing a system in a new house, you have quite a few equipment choices available. While many people choose a centralized system that uses ducting to deliver heated air throughout their homes, you may want to consider something called a ductless mini-split heat pump. In several respects, this type of unit functions differently than a traditional centralized heating solution.

How Do Heat Pumps Work in General?

Heat pumps come in both centralized and ductless forms. Both of these configurations differ in operation from a traditional furnace. When you turn on a furnace, it creates warmth by igniting a fuel source or triggering an internal heating element. In contrast, when you turn on a heat pump, it pulls warmth into your home from another source instead of producing it internally. Potential sources include the outside air, a nearby body of water and the ground. In the summertime, a heat pump can also reverse direction and pull warmth out of your home like a standard air conditioner.

Ductless Operation Vs. Centralized Operation

A centralized heat pump or furnace uses a connected ducting network to carry warmth simultaneously to rooms throughout your household. To make this approach work, you must dedicate indoor space for each duct. A ductless system is not connected to your heat source through an indoor ducting network. Instead, each unit in the system has its own mini-duct or conduit that connects to the heat source after passing through a wall or floor to the exterior of your home. This arrangement saves considerable amounts of indoor space.


HVAC specialists use the term “mini-split” to describe a system that gives you independent control over the temperature in individual zones inside your home. This zoning approach allows you to keep certain rooms warmer or cooler. It also allows you shut off the heat completely in specific areas if you prefer. Some mini-split systems only let you set up a couple of household zones. However, advanced systems let you set up a maximum of eight separately adjustable areas.

From the information covered so far, you can see that a ductless mini-split heat pump draws heat from an outdoor source, then gives you the ability to distribute that heat to individual household areas without relying on an indoor ducting network. Unless winter temperatures are very cold where you live, you may find this type of pump to be an excellent option for summertime cooling as well as heating. For more up-to-date info on your options for the best in heating and cooling technology, bookmark this blog and check back with us often.

About The Author

Brody Pennell

Since 1945, Brody Pennell Heating & Air Conditioning is the committed to helping homeowners in the greater Los Angeles area experience total home comfort. In 2021, the readers of the Los Angeles Times voted Brody Pennell the Best HVAC Company in the area.

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