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5 W’s & an H: Ductless Heat Pumps for A/C & Heat

Summer is upon us – a ductless heat pump system in your home provides instant, targeted air conditioning where and when you want it.  Better yet are the money and energy savings you’ll get when you use a ductless heat pump in winter for heating.  There’s so much information to decipher online so we wanted to answer some of the most common questions here.

Questions 1

Who could use a ductless heat pump system?

Nearly everyone.  There’s no need for ducts, so it can be installed in nearly every type of building. Homes with high heating bills, such as oil or propane heated homes, frequently install heat pumps to lower their heating bills. The ductless heat pumps are installed with up to four interior units (one per room you want to climate control) per single exterior unit.

What is it?

Just about every home already has a heat pump – a refrigerator!  So the technology is familiar to all, even if the name isn’t. Heat pumps do exactly what the name says: they “pump” or transfer heat from one area to another.

During the summer, a heat pump transfers the heat from inside your house to the outside, cooling your home just like a refrigerator. During the winter, the heat pump simply runs in reverse, taking heat from the outside air and transferring it into your home – even when outdoor temperatures drop as cold as -15°F.

The technology has been around for decades, but a fantastic new generation of models means the ductless heat pump is now the most efficient heating and cooling system available.  Many are now twice as energy efficient as an Energy Star-rated central air conditioner!

Where does it get installed?

One exterior unit can be mounted almost anywhere outside your home, and connected with an interior unit in up to four rooms.  Only the exterior unit needs to be wired, and the 2” – 3” diameter conduit is run along the outside wall and through a small hole to each room you wish to cool/heat. The interior units can be placed at the floor, on the wall, or in a drop ceiling, allowing you to customize your installation.  The heat pump is also very quiet – operating lower than the volume of normal conversation.

When do I use it?

Any time you wish to adjust the temperature in the room you’re using.  This means that you’re not paying to air condition or heat rooms that you don’t use. The system adjusts its heating or cooling production based on the needs of the room and can maintain its operating efficiency even as outside temperatures change.

Why is the ductless heat pump system better than my window air conditioner and my oil or gas heating system?

Consider these three things:  efficiency, safety, and money.

Ductless heat pumps are 3 to 4 times as efficient at heating when compared to conventional heating methods such as oil and natural gas.  By using electricity to run the ductless heat pump, you remove your direct dependency on fossil fuels to heat and cool your home.

A window air conditioner provides an access point to your home, but the heat pump’s interior units can be placed in the room where it is most aesthetically pleasing to you, not just where there is a window.  Plus you get the use of your windows back when there’s a lull to the heat waves.

Using a ductless heat pump in your main living space(s) to cool and heat your home could reduce your annual energy consumption by 50% or more.  If you heat with oil and spend roughly $2,000 per winter on heating, you’d be looking at realistic savings of $1,000 per year while maintaining your personal comfort and helping the environment.

How much does it cost?

A brand-name single zone (i.e. single room) ductless heat pump can be purchased and installed by an expert for usually less than $4,500.  This is a great option for open floor plans, while larger installations with units in multiple rooms are achieved for under $10,000.

If you currently heat with oil, you’re probably paying $2,000 to $5,000 or more for annual heating costs.  Saving 50% on those costs means you’d save $1,000 to $2,500 per year.  You’d pay off the cost of the system with energy savings in just a few years!

In addition, there are multiple rebates available in Massachusetts for up to $2,000! Some of the rebates have caps on participation and we expect them to be gone soon. If you’re interested in getting a project estimate for your home, please call us at 617.963.8141 or submit the following form.

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