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Although not a new technology, ductless heat pumps are rapidly gaining popularity in the U.S., and why not?
Ductless cooling and heating systems can save 30-40 percent off the energy costs of a forced air system. They are the go-to choice for newly constructed houses and additions, as well as those houses with no existing ductwork and which rely upon radiator or electric baseboard heating. If this describes your home, here are some ways the ductless heat pump system can drive your energy costs down.
If you are in an older house with an old boiler delivering radiated heat, and you want to add cooling, switching to a ductless heat pump system can kill two birds with one stone, bringing both cooling and heating in one system. An air conditioner works by transferring the heat from inside to outside. A heat pump is an air conditioner that simply reverses the flow of refrigerant. Combining the functions means one less system to worry about. And newer hyper-heating systems provide reliable heat even when it’s below freezing outside.
A basic ductless cooling and heating system consists of two units, one indoors and one outdoors, which is why the system is often called a split-ductless system. Together, they take up considerably less space than equivalent traditional home comfort systems.
The refrigerant lines deliver the heating and cooling energy to the space much more efficiently than air ducting can. Forced air systems lose as much as 30 percent of its energy pushing dense, cold air up big, wide ducts through an entire house. Ductless systems in turn rely on thin refrigerant piping to deliver the heating and cooling energy to compact indoor units delivering air to the space much more easily.
Split-ductless systems can use up to eight separate indoor air-handling units for each outdoor unit. In this way, you can have eight separate rooms or zones, each with its own controller. You can save a lot of money by sending less heat into lesser-used areas of your home. For larger homes, you might consider purchasing two ductless multi-room outdoor units in order to boost your indoor cooling and heating to the entire house. The extra costs will be more than compensated for through eventual energy savings.
In order to maximize your savings, you want to secure your building “envelope”. You need to make sure you have adequate insulation, and that all window, door and attic air leaks are sealed. It wouldn’t make much sense to purchase and install a new cooling and heating system, only to have the savings it brings go seeping out of your house. This is especially true in colder climates, where the ductless heat pump needs to work harder to maintain heat in the winter.
If you’re smart enough to use this modern technology, you need to be smart enough to keep your house as environmentally sound as possible in order to get the most out of it.
This article and its content are sponsored by Mitsubishi Electric US Inc., Cooling & Heating Division.