The allure of mini-split Heat Pump systems is one that’s slowly, but surely, sweeping the nation. Homeowners are finding the convenience of a unit similar to a central air conditioner, but smaller and with no ductwork is great for installation in a house add-on, or as a secondary cooling system to save some wear and tear on the regular CENTRAL A/C on those excessively hot San Fernando Valley days. Much to many consumers surprise though, the mini-split Heat Pump can also be used to heat a home, a feature especially popular in California weather where a full-scale furnace isn’t usually needed.Pros and Cons of a Mini-Split System for Heating in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley

Pro #1 – Energy Efficiency

When heating or cooling a home a large portion of the energy is lost from the air handler until delivery out the registers.  Besides losing heat through leaks in the ductwork, standard size central HVAC systems use a lot more electricity to treat the larger amount of air needed to be funneled through the whole home, thus driving up utility bills two-fold. A mini-split Heat Pump has no ducts and has an air distributor and thermostat for each room it heats increasing the energy savings tremendously.

Con #1 – High Initial Costs 

Unfortunately, a mini-split Heat Pump has to be run frequently, and for a number of years, in order to recoup those energy savings altogether. The reason is that the cost of the equipment, plus labor to install the systems, can be in the $3,000 to $5,000 range or higher, an investment too pricey for what it’s worth in many people’s eyes.

Pro #2 – Small and Convenient Indoor Use 

A nice thing about mini-split Heat Pumps compared to space heaters, or alternate warming devices is that the indoor unit can mount discreetly on a wall and can be controlled with a remote control for ultimate convenience.

Con #2 – Relatively Large Outdoor Unit Still Required 

Unfortunately the mini-split Heat Pump as a heating systems still requires a somewhat bulky outdoor compressor / condenser unit that must be mounted somewhere within 50 feet of the home.  This outdoor unit is noisy, can be a nuisance to perform yard work around, and requires regular monitoring & clearing of debris.

Pro #3 – Implement Perfectly in Add-Ons and Retrofits 

The reason that mini-split heating systems are so popular is because the system is much smaller and less obtrusive than your standard central HVAC which is great for providing heat to home additions or retrofits. The mini-splits run independently of the rest of the central heating system and can be used to provide warmth to basements and garages as well, expanding the home’s living quarters.

Con #3 – Not a Viable Whole House Heating Solution

While a solo mini-split condenser / compressor outdoor unit can power up to four different indoor air handlers, it still isn’t a realistic heating option for a whole home. This is a big deterrent for some people as they consider that spending up to $5,000 on the mini-split should provide heat for their entire home.

As with many home heating options, there are definitely pros and cons associated with the mini-split heating systems. That being said, for a good majority of homeowners they’ve become the perfect Los Angeles heating solution.