New Series: Common Myths about Ductless Heat Pumps

This is the first in a new series addressing some common myths about ductless heat pumps.

If you are a regular to this blog, or a ductless heat pump owner yourself, you may know that many folks in the US are simply not very familiar with the Ductless Heat Pump. That is pretty understandable really, given they are a “newer” way of heating and cooling your home in our country. They have only been in common use for homes and businesses a bit over a decade in the US, but they have a longer history in Europe and Asia. Over 30 years to be precise.

Because of this, there is a bit of a cloudy aura still surrounding their use and benefits here, even with HVAC installers themselves. And many folks just can’t wrap their heads around how they work, how they could be so efficient if they are using electricity and running constantly, and how indeed one little air handler could heat and cool an entire small home.

Well, this series is here to set the record straight and give you the facts. The mystery of ductless heat pumps will be solved and hopefully, things will be much more clear about these great little systems when the series is complete. And if not, please send us a note with any questions or concerns you may have and we will do our best to answer anything else you may want to know.

Ok, so here goes. Myth number one, and this is a BIG one.

1. I need a head/indoor air handler in every room.

This is almost never the case. We say “almost never” because if you have several 1000 square foot rooms in your home and typically keep all the doors closed, or these rooms are all on separate floors, well, yes, then you may need a head in each room. However, most of us do not fit that criteria.

A single head system, if properly sized, can heat and cool up to 1500 square feet or even more depending upon your home’s building envelope and air flow. Yes, if you have an open floor plan and tend to leave doors open, this provides for more even temperature control, but even older homes with more separated rooms can be very comfortable with a Ductless Heat Pump System. It is really all about air flow and heat exchange. If you are poorly insulated and losing a lot of heat in your home already, any system will work hard to keep up and you may encounter hot or cold spots in the home. But if your home has been sufficiently weatherized and you have good air flow, a single head Ductless System can easily keep an average sized home of 1300 square feet nice and comfortable.

This works because of the technology behind the Ductless Systems. Unlike a typical furnace that comes on when the temperature drops below a certain level and cuts off when the temperature rises to that set level, a Ductless Heat Pump is designed to be running continuously. This does not mean it is always in heating mode or cooling mode, blowing out hot of cold air and all your money with it, but instead it means the fan is always operating, circulating and filtering the air throughout your home, and moving that air throughout the entire home, not just in the room in which it is operating. We liken it to a warm home on a winter’s day. If it is 40 degrees outside and you open the front door and keep it open, eventually your whole house will equalize in temperature to the outside, that 40 degrees. The circulating air from the Ductless Heat Pump is like that open door. It moves the air around the entire space of your home and equalizes the temperature.

Yes, there are applications in which more than one indoor air exchanger is needed, and we can certainly help you make that call. There are also likely plenty of folks willing to sell you multiple heads for your home. The more they can sell, the more money they can make from you. But knowing the truth about these systems and how they are designed to work can help you to understand how to properly size your new Ductless System to your home and ensure you are not over-sizing your new system or paying for more than you need.

If this explanation does not bust this myth for you, or if you have any other questions or concerns about Ductless Heat Pump Systems and how they work, give us a call and we will be happy to give you a free, no obligation estimate in your home or office.


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