Single Head Versus Multi Head Ductless Heat Pumps – Which is right for you?

So you’ve been thinking about purchasing a ductless heat pump, but something has you hung up.

You have the main level of your home you want to heat and cool, but you would also like some supplemental heating and dehumidification in your rec room in the basement as well as your master bedroom upstairs.

You’re not sure whether you should purchase individual ductless heat pump units for each of these spaces or if you should purchase multi-zone ductless mini split heat pump system.

This post and the video above will help answer this question for you.

Multi zone VS Single zone what’s the difference?

A single zone heat pump is a unit with one indoor head and one outdoor head. You may purchase more than one single zone unit.

This would be an example single zone system.

A multi-zone heat pump is a system with one outdoor unit and more than one indoor unit connected to it.

This would be an example of a tri-zone (3 heads to one outdoor unit) heat pump unit. Notice there are three sets of line sets coming from that one outdoor unit.

Benefits of a Multi Zone Heat Pump

  • Multi zone heat pump systems a less expensive than purchasing more than one single zone system.
  • Multi zone systems only have one outdoor unit affixed to the side of your home, so for some this is more aesthetically pleasing.

Disadvantages of a Multi Zone Heat Pump

  • One outdoor unit means that if there’s an issue with that unit all of your indoor heads go down
  • The more indoor units that are attached to the same outdoor unit the lower efficiency you’ll get from that system
  • The popular brands we sell (Fujitsu, Mitsubishi and LG) do not make their most efficient models available as a multi zone system.

Benefits of a Single Zone Heat Pump

  • You’ll have the option of buying the most efficient models for each brand
  • If there are any issues with the outdoor unit you only lose the one zone

Disadvantages of a Single Zone Heat Pump

  • Generally more expensive on a “per head” basis than a multi zone (however they cost less to run)
  • Aesthetically you will have more than one outdoor unit affixed to the home

What’s the right choice for your home?

From and efficiency and cost of operation perspective you’re almost always better off purchasing multiple single-zone systems.

However for each home the decision can be different.

As a rule, if you’re going to be purchasing more than one 12,000 BTU head to cover a larger area of the home and both heads are going to be used all year round for heating and cooling then you should seriously consider purchasing two separate units.

However, if you are looking at a 12,000 BTU or 18,000 BTU head to cover off a main living area and then adding one or more 9,000 BTU or 7,000 BTU heads for smaller areas of the home which won’t be used as often then a multi-zone system could be a better choice.

Because each home is different it’s a good idea to take 30 minutes to meet with one of our Home Energy Specialists. They’ll review your home’s layout and discuss with you the areas you would like to improve comfort in and experience savings.

From there, our energy specialists can devise a recommendation of both multi-zone and single zone systems to achieve your goals.


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