Given its name, a ductless heat pump may sound like something used to heat a home. In reality, that's only half true. Like standard heat pumps, a Mitsubishi Electric ductless heat pump moves heat from one place to another. In heating mode, it draws warmth from the outdoor air and sends that warmth into your home. In cooling mode, it functions in the reverse removing heat from your home.
But what is a ductless heat pump and how does it differ from a standard heat pump? What does ductless mean exactly? The "ductless" part of these heat pumps refers to the fact that they can heat or cool your home without the need for the ductwork and register vents used by standard forced-air systems such as standard heat pump systems, central air conditioners and furnaces. Instead, ductless systems deliver warm or cool air through one or more indoor air handlers mounted on your wall, ceiling or floor.
What is the Difference Between a Ductless Heat Pump and A Ductless Air Conditioner?
The most basic difference between these two systems is that a ductless air conditioner can only cool your home, while a ductless heat pump can both cool and heat. To understand why this is, it helps to know how a heat pump operates.
In cooling mode, an air conditioner and heat pump work the same way. The outdoor compressor/condenser receives cool, low-pressure refrigerant gas and raises the pressure and temperature of this gas. The hot, high-pressure gas travels to the condenser, which uses a fan to pull heat from the refrigerant, causing it to condense into a liquid. The refrigerant then flows along the liquid refrigerant line to the indoor unit. In the indoor unit, it enters the evaporator coil and absorbs heat from the indoor air blown over it. The refrigerant then flows back to the outdoor unit and the cycle repeats.
A heat pump can also heat your home thanks to a component called the reversing valve. This component reverses the direction of the refrigerant flow, rerouting it so the outside coil works as the evaporator and the indoor coil as the condenser. This allows the heat pump to transfer heat from the outdoors to indoors. Because a ductless air conditioner lacks this component, it's capable of cooling only.
Advantages Over a Traditional HVAC System
Ductless systems offer a number of advantages over conventional ducted HVAC systems, window air conditioners and electric resistance furnaces.
- Simple and convenient -- Because a heat pump can both heat and cool, it eliminates the need for a separate central air conditioner and furnace. With no need for duct installation, a ductless heat pump system is quick to install. The only construction work necessary for ductless heat pump installation is a 3-inch hole in your wall.
- Energy efficient -- Ductless heat pumps are as much as 40 percent more efficient than central air conditioners and 25 to 50 percent more efficient than forced air or electric resistance heating. Among Mitsubishi Electric's products, you'll find a number of high-efficiency heat pumps with SEERs above 20, going all the way up to 26. When you add in the fact that there are no ducts to leak conditioned air, a Mitsubishi Electric heat pump becomes one of the most efficient heating and cooling systems available.
- Clean and safe -- Heat pumps don't burn fuel, so they don't carry the risk of carbon monoxide release or fire posed by gas furnaces. Unlike electric resistance furnaces, they don't require baseboard heaters or other units that get hot enough to pose a burn risk. A ductless system's indoor air handler delivers air at safe, comfortable temperatures.
- Unobtrusive design -- A ducted HVAC system requires register vents in your floors and air return grilles in your walls. Because blocking these vents and grilles interferes with system performance, you're limited in terms of where you can place furniture. If you use baseboard heaters, it's even more important to avoid placing furniture nearby. Ductless system air handlers, on the other hand, are available in models that can be mounted high up on your wall, hung from the ceiling, or installed flush with the ceiling, and as free-standing floor models. You can choose the models which best suit your home's current interior design.
Getting Started with Ductless Heat Pumps
Naturally, cost is a concern when you're considering adding ductless heating and cooling to your home. Ductless heat pump prices vary depending on the type of system that will best meet your needs. Ductless heat pump cost considerations are somewhat more complex than for other system types. Not only is system sizing a factor, but the number and type of air handlers you'll need also affect the total price. Remember, you will see a significant drop in your monthly energy bills once you install a ductless system, which can be factored into the price and value of your new system. For an accurate idea of how much your new system may cost, you'll need to consult a Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Contractor.
Get a free quote on ductless heat pump installation today. Start by calling your local Mitsubishi Electric Diamond contractor. Use the dealer search option on this website to find one close to your home.