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More and more we are hearing about “ductless systems” or “ductless heat pumps”. We often have people ask us what is a ductless system? Below are a few of the FAQ’s and answers taken directly from goingductless.com. Goingductless.com is part of the NW Ductless Heat Pump Project.
The NW Ductless Heat Pump Project works to accelerate the adoption of inverter-driven ductless heating and cooling systems in existing electrically heated, single-family homes to displace electric heat. The initiative is focused on building market capacity to support ductless systems adoption while providing a regional infrastructure for partners to leverage.
The NW Ductless Heat Pump Project is an initiative of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), a private non-profit organization funded by Northwest Utilities, the Energy Trust of Oregon and the Bonneville Power Administration. NEEA works in collaboration with its stakeholders and strategic market partners to accelerate the sustained market adoption of energy-efficient products, technologies and practices.
Q: What is a ductless heating and cooling system?
A: A ductless heating and cooling system is a highly efficient zonal heating and cooling system that does not require the use of air ducts. Ductless systems consist of an outdoor compressor unit and one or more indoor air-handling units, called “heads”, linked by a dedicated refrigerant line. Indoor heads are typically mounted high on a wall or ceiling covering a 3″ hole where the refrigerant line passes through from the outside unit, which is mounted at the base of the house. Each indoor head corresponds with a heating and cooling zone that can be controlled independantly.
Q: Do I still need my old heaters?
A: While a ductless system can be used as a primary heat source, homeowners are encouraged to keep their existing heating units as a supplement to the ductless system in case of extreme weather conditions or in hard to reach extremities of the home.
Q: How does a ductless system work?
A: Ductless systems are reversible, 2-way heat pumps that use electricity to transfer heat between outdoor and indoor air by compressing and expanding refrigerant. Using a refrigerant vapor compression cycle, like a common household refrigerant, ductless systems collect heat from outside the house and deliver it inside on the heating cycle, and vice versa on the cooling side. Ductless systems use variable speed compressors with “inverter technology” (AC to DC) in order to continuously match the heating/cooling loads, avoiding the on/off cycling of conventional electric resistance and central heating systems that is commonly associated with uncomfortable temperature variations and high energy consumption.
Ductless systems consist of several parts:
- An outdoor unit that contains a condensing coil, an inverter-driven variable speed compressor, an expansion valve and a fan to cool the condensor coil.
- An indoor unit that contains an evaporator and a quiet oscillating fan to distribute air throughout the heating zone.
- A refrigerant line-set that is made of insulated copper tubing and is housed in a conduit alongside a power cable, and a condensate drain.
- A remote control that can be used to set the desired temperature and program in night-time settings.
Q: Are ductless systems efficient?
A:YES! Ductless systems operate using 25% to 50% less energy than electric resistance and forced air systems. Three key factors account for the high efficiency of a ductless system:
1. Ductless systems allow the user to control each heating/cooling zone independantly, eliminating the costly over-heating and cooling common to cental air systems. Why pay to heat or cool rooms that are not currently occupied?
2. While central air systems lose as much as 30% efficiency through air
leaks and conduction in the ductwork, ductless systems distribute air directly to each zone, resulting in 25% greater efficiency. Ductless systems are inverter-driven, variable speed compressors that allow the system to maintain constant indoor temperatures by running continuously at higher or lower speeds. Thus, the system can ramp-up or down without great losses in efficiency, avoiding the energy intensive on/off cycling common in electric resistance and forced air systems.
3. Modern ductless systems have ultra-high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratios (SEER) between 16 and 22, and Heating Seasonal Performance Factors (HSPF) between 8.5 and 11.
Q: What is a Master Installer?
A: A Master Installer has proven experience with ductless systems and provides thorough customer support. These installers have successfully completed Quality Assurance Inspections, a high level of technical installation training, and agreed to a rigorous series of best practices. A ductless system installed by a Master Installer will include attention to equipment performance, appearance and thorough customer education.
Pacific Air Comfort has earned a Master Installer rating.
For additional information on ductless systems and whether a ductless system might be right for your new or existing home, please contact us at one of our three offices.