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Comparing Ductless Systems to Traditional Heat Pumps

Friday, December 20, 2013

While a conventional heat pump may seem like the obvious choice for electric heating, it's not your only energy efficient option in Virginia's mild climate. A ductless system offers the benefits of a conventional heat pump and then some. Also called mini-split heat pumps, ductless systems use wall- or ceiling-mounted air handlers in place of ducts and registers. The choice between a ducted and ductless system depends on your needs and budget.

How Ductless Systems and Traditional Heat Pumps Compare

  • Efficiency - Both systems operate efficiently, but a ductless system is more efficient at delivering conditioned air. Typical air ducts leak around 20 percent of the air they carry and even air-sealed ducts can leak around 5 percent. With no ducts to leak, ductless systems deliver all the conditioned air straight to your rooms.
  • Flexibility - The ductless system wins hands down here. With a conventional heat pump, the location of the registers depends on the ductwork design. With a ductless system, you can place the air handlers nearly anywhere on the walls, ceiling or floor. A ductless system is ideal for retrofitting a home without ducts or in a built-on room addition where the house's existing duct system can't be extended. Ductless heat pumps also make it easier to create a zoned heating and cooling system.
  • Ease of installation - If your home has no ducts, you'll need to install them before putting in a traditional heat pump. Choosing a ductless system will save you the time and expense. The only construction needed for a ductless system is a three-inch hole through a wall for the refrigerant and electrical lines. The system can be up and running in a day or two.
  • Affordability - The purchase and installation costs of a ductless system can be higher than those of a traditional heat pump. This is partly because a ductless system must be carefully planned by a knowledgeable expert to prevent oversizing and incorrectly located air handlers. Both these errors compromise the system's efficiency. Consider, though, that ductless systems typically have lower operating costs.

If you're considering adding a ductless system to your home, contact us to find a Virginia Mitsubishi Electric contractor in your area.

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