How Does a Ductless Heat Pump Work?


Many of our customers are initially confused about ductless heat pumps. It’s not surprising – a new home heating and cooling system is an important and significant purchase and no one wants to make a bad choice. Plus, there are unfortunately many confusing terms floating around in the HVAC world. If you’re trying to figure out if a ductless heat pump would work in your house, what should you take into account? Let’s take a look at the basics!

What is a ductless heat pump?

A ductless heat pump is a system that can both heat and cool a space. No, a heat pump doesn’t only heat! That’s the most common misconception that we encounter. Many homeowners don’t realize that a heat pump can cool as well. Ductless heat pumps are also called “ductless mini-split heat pumps” – or just “mini-splits” – as well as “zoned HVAC.”  No matter what you call them, these systems don’t require ducts to transfer heat so they’re perfect for a number of specific situations that we’ll get into below.

How does a ductless heat pump work?

Ductless heating and cooling systems transfer heat between the outdoors and the indoors in order to reach the specified set temperature. An outdoor unit is connected to one or more indoor units and a remote control is used to set the home’s desired temperature. Heat is transferred between the outdoor and indoor units using a vapor compression refrigerant cycle. In simple terms, outside heat is collected and distributed inside when the heating component is on. The oppoDuctless Heat Pump Installsite occurs when the cooling component is on.

The indoor unit, which is usually mounted on a wall or ceiling, is connected to the outdoor unit by a simple refrigerant line instead of complicated ductwork. The conditioned air is emitted from the indoor unit so space is directly heated and cooled. If a home requires multiple indoor units, they’re all connected to the same outdoor unit, but each unit inside can be controlled independently.

What are the benefits of a mini-split?

There are numerous benefits to a ductless heat pump. The biggest advantage is right there in the name – they’re ductless! If your home is without ductwork, you can achieve comfort without the considerable expense and hassle of installing ducts. Additionally, if your home isn’t ducted, then you’re likely relying on a radiator or baseboard heat. These methods only provide heat, no cooling, and they can be expensive and inefficient. A mini-split, on the other hand, not only provides heating and cooling, but it’s incredibly efficient. Besides that, ductless heat pumps are affordable, easy to install, and operate quietly. When you install a mini-split, you’ll experience:

  • Cost savings – Ductless mini-splits are usually less expensive to purchase and operate. Plus, they’re considerably easier to install. There are also numerous cash incentives available from the Energy Trust of Oregon.
  • Energy savings – A home’s ductwork can be a major source of energy loss, especially if the ducts are uninsulated or leaky. Since mini-splits don’t require ducts, you avoid the issues of inefficient ductwork so your home is comfortable while your energy costs are lowered. Some estimates show that ductless systems can save 30%-60% compared to other types of HVAC systems.
  • Enhanced home comfort – If zone control, or the ability to customize the temperature of different parts of your home, is important, then ductless heat pumps are a great option. No matter if you want an upstairs to stay cooler, a downstairs area to be warmer, or home addition to stay comfortable, these systems ensure you don’t have any trouble spots.

The experienced technicians at Comfort Heating and Cooling are skilled at not only explaining what different types of heating and cooling are systems are available, but helping homeowners understand what their best options are. To learn more or to receive a free quote, contact our skilled HVAC pros by filling out the form below or calling us at (503) 461-2309.

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Tags: ductless heat pumps, mini splits

July 21, 2020 Cooling, Energy Efficiency, Heat Pumps, Heating, HVAC Tips

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