Before Selecting a Ductless Heat Pump, Check These Features

Ductless heat pumps offer an excellent heating and cooling solution for homeowners or business owners in Northwest Washington. Also known as a mini-split, these systems are easy to install because they don’t require standard ductwork. Instead, they use an outdoor and indoor unit(s) to heat and cool zones within the building. Here we explain more about what a ductless heat pump is and the features you need to check before selecting the right model.

What is a Ductless Heat Pump?

A ductless heat pump system provides warmth in the winter and cooling in the summer. Instead of delivering conditioned air to each room using ductwork, they are composed of an outdoor compressor connected to a single or multiple indoor air handling units. They are ideal for a long list of applications, including:

  • Rooms with low ceilings
  • Add-ons not currently connected to your existing HVAC system
  • Areas or rooms that can’t accommodate ductwork
  • Rooms that have different heating and cooling needs
  • Garages or man caves
  • Homes and businesses with several areas not used every day
  • As a whole-home heating and cooling solution

Because of their easy installation, and ability to run without ductwork, they can be used in almost any situation from attics to garages and sheds to workshops.

Ductless Heat Pump High Air Quality Options

When you install a ductless heat pump, you have the option to add an air purifier to your system. This offers many health benefits as it helps trap and remove harmful dust particles and airborne allergens. Air filtered by both your ductless heat pump and an air purifier add-on helps keep the air in your home cleaner. In addition, you can reduce odors in your home and decrease allergens that lead to symptoms from itchy burning eyes to coughs and sore throats. Your system, with a purifier, can also trap up to 99% of airborne bacteria.

This is important because indoor air is on average two to five times dirtier than outdoor air (EPA). Mini-splits are already one step ahead of traditional HVAC systems in that they simply treat air already within the existing room. Traditional systems treat air in a central location and then send it through a series of ductwork. Because of that, dust and allergens build up along the way.

Ductless Systems That Support Smartphone Controls

Today smart technology has a huge influence on our home comfort. Some ductless manufacturers offer smartphone controls, depending on the unit. For example, Daikin has a Daikin Comfort Control App, which allows you to operate your ductless heat pump from anywhere using your tablet or smartphone. As long as you have access to the internet, you can adjust temperatures and check energy usage. You can also see fault conditions (detected remotely) so you know if there is a problem. Smartphone controls help you manage energy use effectively while keeping the rooms in your home at the ideal temperature.

Multi-Zone Ductless Heat Pumps Support Up To 8 Indoor Zones

One of the most appealing features is the ability to customize your system to suit your needs. Not only can you decide whether you want to add an air purifier or remote controller, but also how many indoor units you wish to install. With a multi-zone ductless heat pump, you can install up to eight indoor zones. It all depends on the size of your home, how many floors you have and the number of rooms. 

In many cases, you need a single zone unit for each floor. As long as you keep the doors in all the rooms open and you have optimized airflow, your single zone can heat and cool the entire floor. However, you also have the option to install units in each room, or only in a single room. This is one of the reasons many people choose the ductless heat pump system because they have a specific area or room in mind that requires more cooling or heating. 

A multi-zone ductless system is needed when you need to heat the entire home or building or when you want to have more control over the temperature in specific rooms. You might have a room in your home that tends to be much colder or warmer than the rest of the house, or you might have an area of your business that requires a specific temperature due to the equipment used. As well, a multi-zone compressor comes in handy for rooms or areas not connected to the rest of your system.

Efficiency and Power-Saving

As mentioned, the ductless heat pump allows you to improve energy efficiency and save power. This in turn reduces your operating expenses, an appealing feature for both home and business owners. You can save between 30% to 50% in energy costs compared to a traditional forced-air system. Because the warm or cool air goes into the space directly without the use of ductwork, there is no temperature loss. 

You also don’t experience air leaks due to faulty ductwork. Ductless systems have individual controllers for each zone or room, allowing you to adjust temperatures based on use. This greatly reduces the energy used to heat or cool the entire house or business space. The SEER and EER ratings of ductless heat pump systems correspond with the amount of energy your system uses. Ductless air conditioners can provide exceptional energy savings with SEERs as high as 30.

Cost of Ducted vs Ductless HVAC Systems

Ductless systems involve very little alterations to your space during the installation process. There are no ceilings or walls knocked out for the ductwork, making installation more affordable. The process is much quicker even for multi-zone installation. How? Installation only requires a small hole drilled in each room or zone to accommodate the tubing connecting the indoor and outdoor units. 

This saves money on expensive drywall work. The average cost of installing a ductless system with a single indoor heating/cooling zone including the equipment, parts, expert installation services, and associated electrical work and permits is between $6,000 and $7,000. This is not much different than installing baseboard heating systems. In some cases you might pay more than a traditional forced-air system upfront. However, the energy savings over time easily offsets the costs. For example, it costs on average $2.93 KWH for an electric system, $2.34 for a zonal electric system, and just $.88 for a ductless heat pump.

Air Handler Capacity for a Ductless Heat Pump

We calculate air handler capacity based on the square footage of the room times 25. So if a room is 10 x 10, that is 100 square feet multiplied by 25 for 2500. Your ductless heat pump installer will calculate your air handler capacity to ensure you have the right output for your space.

Considering these features will help you choose the ideal system to meet your needs.

Contact us here or call us at (360) 615-2803 to see if a Ductless Heating system is right for you!


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