Choosing between a wall-mounted or a central heat pump

October 16, 2014

You’re thinking about having a heat pump installed, but you’re hesitating between a wall-mounted or central heat pump. The main difference between the two types is that the central model needs to be connected to ventilation ducts. Otherwise, both models allow you to heat and cool your house without drying the air. Whichever you choose, there won’t be a need for a humidifier.

Choosing between a wall-mounted or a central heat pump

Wall-mounted heat pumps

If your house doesn’t have ventilation ducts, then the wall-mounted heat pump is your best option, given that it would be fairly costly to have ducts installed. It is less expensive than a central heat pump, and the condenser, installed outside the home, can be connected to several interior units if your house is too large to be cooled by a single unit.

Central heat pumps

Should your house already have furnace ventilation ducts, then a central heat pump is recommended. It is more expensive, but the comfort level is superior to that of the wall-mounted heat pump because there is a more uniform distribution of the cool air or heat.

Supplemental heating

Whether a heat pump is wall-mounted or central, it loses some of its efficiency when the temperatures fluctuate around -12°C. Consequently, when the temperature dips, a supplemental heating system becomes necessary to maintain the right temperature in your home.

Energy efficiency

Rely on the EnerGuide label to choose an energy-efficient heat pump. It indicates the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER); the higher the value, the more energy-efficient the appliance is. The label also displays an arrow that indicates the efficiency value of similar models. You may want to opt for an Energy Star qualified unit.

Fees to be foreseen

A heat pump is generally more economical than other heating systems. However, the amount of money you can save depends on several factors, such as the regional climate, the condition of your house, and electricity rates in your area. A poorly insulated house will limit any energy gains. In addition, you should take into account any eventual maintenance fees that your supplemental heating system will need, as well as the cost of the appliance. Since a heat pump lasts an average of 10 to 15 years, make sure that your energy bill will decrease sufficiently for the heat pump to turn in some long-term savings.


Before you purchase a wall-mounted or central heat pump, check your municipal by-laws with regard to the noise level and the location of your heat pump. Also make sure to have the appliance installed by a recognized company, as improper installation can make the heat pump noisier and less efficient. A badly installed unit could also increase your energy bill.

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