The benefits of different types of heat pump » HPAC Energy Centre
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The benefits of different types of heat pump

Today’s heat pumps are incredibly versatile, with lots of advanced features that allow you to customise the way your unit operates to enhance efficiency and complement your lifestyle. But what are the different types of system and what makes one better than the other?

Single split heat pumps

A single split heat pump has one indoor unit and one outdoor unit. These are the most common kind of heat pump you find in New Zealand homes.

Benefits of a single split heat pump:

  • The option of buying the most efficient models for each brand
  • If there are any issues with the outdoor unit only the one indoor unit is affected.

Things to consider:

  • Generally they are more expensive on a per unit basis than a multi zone (however they cost less to run so from and efficiency and cost of operation perspective you’re probably better off with multiple single-split units)
  • If you have more than one single split heat pump you’ll also have more than one outdoor unit attached to your home.

Multi split heat pumps

Multi split heat pumps also have the one outdoor unit but more than one indoor unit connected to it. They are gaining in popularity thanks to their ability to heat and cool a wide range of rooms. Multi-split units have the added advantage of enabling you to create different temperatures in different rooms, giving you great control over your environment.

Benefits of a multi split heat pump:

  • It can be more cost efficient when buying more than two single split unit.
  • Because there’s only one outdoor unit on the side of your home it’s more aesthetically pleasing.

Things to consider:

  • Having only one outdoor unit means that if there’s an issue with it ALL of your indoor units are affected.
  • The more indoor units running from the same outdoor unit the lower the efficiency you’ll get from that system.
  • When more than one indoor unit is operating they must operate in the same mode i.e. one unit cannot run in cool mode whilst another runs in heat mode.

Ducted systems

Also known as “central heating”, ducted systems disperse air through discreet vents mounted in the ceiling. The usually consist of the indoor vents, outdoor unit and flexible ducting which is hidden in the roof cavity.

Benefits of a multi split heat pump:

  • They’re virtually invisible; all you ever see are subtle grates in the ceiling and the control pad on the wall.
  • Climate control is delivered into multiple areas at once, enjoying a consistent total temperature around your whole home from one central system.

Things to consider:

  • Unlike single or multi split heat pumps, which you strategically place where you need heating, ducted systems service the whole house. Therefore, they are the most expensive option to install.
  • You can only have limited control in individual zones of your home, such as turning on and off outlets into select rooms 

Types of indoor units

High wall unit

Placed high up on a wall, these are the most popular and economical to buy, and suitable for almost every home. They’re simple to install and don’t take up any floor space.

Floor console

Floor consoles are mounted low on the wall. As they are mounted low on the wall they are very good at dispersing the heat they generate through the room at a level you will feel. They’re great if you’re replacing a night store or fixed gas heater they cover the space left behind without having to redecorate.

They’re easy to install and maintain but can be slightly more expensive than a high wall heat pump even though they operate in a very similar way.

Ceiling cassette

Recessed into the ceiling, this is an elegant solution that looks good. You’re able to direct heat/air to any part of the room, as opposed to a high wall or floor console which can only emit heat outwards from it’s location. And come summertime, being located at the top of the room where warm air gathers, ceiling cassettes are very very good for cooling.

Although not currently common in residential homes, it’s definitely worth considering if you want a compact, unobtrusive solution that leaves all your wall and floor space available.

All three of these options can be single split or part of a multi split system.

What’s right for your home?

If the area you want to heat is a large living area, go for a single split unit. However, if you have a main living area and a couple of smaller areas to heat, a multi-split is ideal. If you’re building new it’s worth including in your budget a ducted system as this is the best time to install one. Ducted systems can also be retro-fitted to existing homes too but this maybe more difficult.

However, the right heat pump really depends on the size and shape of the space you want to heat and how you want it to operate. The heat pump you choose needs to be powerful enough or it won’t be as energy efficient as it could be, sending those power bills up. On the flipside, its too big and powerful it will be noisy and draughty and unlikely to heat the room evenly.

Each home is different, which is why we come to your place to properly assess what your best options are.

We’re Canterbury’s home heating specialists and have been keeping families warm since 1986. We have great local knowledge and industry experience, so you can be sure whatever we suggest will give you the best outcomes.


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