Ductless Heat Pumps
Buying Guide 

Exploring ductless heat pumps, features, advantages, benefits and popular manufacturers.

When it is about heating and cooling your home or specific rooms, there are many reasons why you may decide to go ductless, and mini split system is the first choice.

Due to the long history of making, ductless heat pumps are well accepted and popular, and because of the energy and money savings. And due to its easy and flexible installation the mini splits are ideal for the local climate control, as an addition to the central system or as an addition to the new and old homes.

Buying a ductless heat pump - Advantages, benefits

  • Long history of making
  • Many manufacturers and models to choose from
  • Utilize inverter technology which allows both heating and cooling
  • High efficient operation results in low costs (high SEER and HSPF)
  • Lower installation costs - no ducts needed so less labor and material used, also less energy is wasted through the ducts
  • Zonal heating/cooling allows room by room climate control, resulting in reduced energy consumption and increased user comfort
  • Quiet operation as the result of high quality elements, high efficient operation and small size
  • With the proper maintenance you can expect to last over 20 years

What do you need to know before buying a mini split heat pump system? 

Ductless heat pumpDuctless heat pump

Configuration

First, be sure that you understand what is in the box. Ductless heat pump is a mini split system that consists of an outdoor unit, indoor unit and a conduit that connects the two (usually through an opening in the wall). The outdoor unit contains compressor and condenser, but indoor unit configuration and type depends on your needs.

You may choose to have one or several air-handling units, with its own thermostats and remote controls. Indoor units are usually wall-mounted, but also may be installed in the ceiling cassettes. The outdoor units are mounted on the outside wall of the building or placed on the ground, for large and heavy units.

Zoning

How many rooms or zones are to be heated or cooled? What installation type is the most convenient for your home? Are you going to use it as an additional or the only source of air heating / cooling? More than one independent indoor blower provides different temperatures in the zones so you can customize consumption, but initial investment in multi-unit system is higher.

Efficiency and power

Mini splits HVAC systems have been proven as extremely efficient if you need to heat well-insulated spaces, but if your home is not one of them, it is necessary to calculate in details.

Very important feature you should consider is the power of the mini split, expressed in BTUs. Look for this numbers, which are slightly different for cooling and heating mode. Generally, a smallest 6000 BTU/h mini split unit is sufficient for 150-250 square feet room size, but it is not as simple as numbers. If ceilings are higher than 8 ft, or areas are poorly insulated, add 20% BTUs. If you live in the climate zone with temperature extremes, it is necessary to add 30% to BTU. Each indoor unit of multi-split system has its own BTU/h capacity, but keep in mind that the effect will be decreased if you use all of them at the same time.

There are some numbers and labels, which inform customers about measured efficiency – HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor), SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) and Energy Star rating. Sometimes you will find a prediction of the yearly operating cost. When compare two models, inspect all of these parameters.

Other features to consider

Examine full specification – noise level, operating temperature, airflow for each fan speed. Check the types and lengths of warranties. And make sure to buy a unit with the R-410A refrigerant as it doesn’t pollute the environment as the old R-22, which is being phased out.

Check the voltage of your home wiring if you need a larger unit, because it usually uses 220-240-volt plug.

Check if financial incentives or rebates are available. Ductless heat pump systems are considered as green and environment friendly, because of energy-efficiency improvements.

Ductless mini split heat pump systems always come with some useful features: programmable timer, adjustable airflow, washable air filter, automatic restart, frost control... and additional modes: fan-only, automatic, dehumidify, sleep. Review all to find the best.

Popular brands

Let’s mention the most popular brands – you will not make a wrong decision if you buy Carrier, Trane, Daikin, Fujitsu, Mitsubishi, LG, Frigidaire, Delonghi or any other.

What else you can do

If you have any doubt, we suggest calling a qualified installer. There are some important reasons why you should talk to an expert.

  • Each home’s layout is different and requires the analysis of all factors that may influence operational efficiency.
  • Placement of indoor units is essential for good output.
  • If you want to make the most efficient choice, mini-split heat pump system would not be bigger than your needs and qualified installer knows how to calculate the size.
  • You have your own priorities, which have to be included.

Summary

Ductless heat pumps are a good option where the central whole house type cannot be used, providing a flexible solution if certain rooms need heating and cooling. These can be used for supplemental heating or cooling (colder regions) or as the primary source (warmer and mild regions), and most of the time in one room, while it can be combined with multiple indoor units for zone climate control in different rooms. Ductless heat pumps are cheaper option that are also easy to install, are quiet and cost effective solution.


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