Central air source split heat pump systems consist of a box-shaped outdoor unit and an indoor air handling unit with a blower. The indoor unit is attached to ducting that distributes air throughout the building.

Central air source heat pump systems are a good option for houses that already have a properly designed duct system. This type of system provides heating, cooling and ventilation in a simple whole-house solution, with one outdoor unit, one indoor unit, and one thermostat. These heat pumps can be installed as an add-on to existing forced air heating systems, and combined with natural gas, propane, or oil furnaces for supplemental heat during cold weather.

Standard central ducted heat pumps use heat exchangers and refrigerant to transfer heat from one place to another. The process of moving heat uses much less energy than converting fuel into heat. A reversing valve allows the heat pump to either move heat from outside to inside (heating), or from inside to outside (cooling). Heat pumps with a single-stage compressor, such as Tempstar’s Ion TSH6 offer a balance between cost and efficiency.


Premium central ducted heat pumps, such as the Ion TVH8 from Tempstar, are inverter-driven, allowing the system to modulate the compressor and fan motor speeds to match the temperature conditions and demand. This smoother, smarter operation makes the system more efficient and quiet than conventional heat pump systems. Variable speed systems can also operate more effectively in colder outdoor temperatures, so a back-up source of heat is not needed.