Skip to content

What is a Mini-Split? A Heat Pump? Ductless Heating?

Ductless heating and cooling systems, also known as “heat pumps” or “mini-splits” are a clean form of climate control that does not require interior ductwork to distribute warm or cool air.  They consist of: 

  • One or more indoor air handling units.  These units are separately controllable and deliver warm or cool air to their zone. 
  • One or more exterior compressors which extract outside heat to deliver interior warmth, or extract interior heat to provide cooling.

The number of interior and exterior units depends on the size of your home and the engineering solution used.  Read more below. 

Mini-splits are fuel efficient because they are powered by cleaner, lower-cost electricity (versus fossil fuels) and their operation only involves moving heat between outside and inside versus generating heat using a boiler or furnace. 

A mini-split system is easy to install due to the lack of ductwork.  Homeowners use mini-split systems to provide whole-home heating or cooling (often replacing traditional furnaces or boilers) or to provide a minimally invasive heating and cooling solution to extensions, garages or areas insufficiently served by their existing system. 

So, while all mini-splits are heat pumps, not all heat pumps are mini-splits.  

Mini-split systems are ductless – delivering heating and cooling through interior air handling units.  This makes mini-split systems well suited to older homes, room additions or areas of the home where ductwork would be impractical or costly. 

Heat pumps do not require ductwork, but often are integrated into traditional heating and cooling systems.