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  • Ductless Mini Split Systems Save You Money!

  • Ductless Ductless Ductless…..It seems as if all we ever hear of these days is “ductless is the way to go!”…Well, that’s because it is! Ductless heat pumps or mini splits as they are sometimes referred to are rapidly gaining popularity in the United States – who, might I add, showed up late to the energy efficiency party as other countries have been using ductless for well over a decade. So whats the deal, and why should you invest your money into a ductless split system for your home today?

    200mitsu.jpgBefore we dive into the answers- lets set up some base knowledge. Ductless split systems are a two part system for heating and cooling your home. The system consists of an outdoor unit, and an indoor unit. These units are connected by refrigerant lines, called a line-set. Together, this system takes up only a fraction of the space that a conventional HVAC system takes. For this reason, builders in America have made it the #1 choice in new construction over the last 5 years. These systems are also the go-to choice in retrofitting, especially when the home has baseboard heating or radiators and no duct work. Its important to know that these systems do not rely on duct work and can be used as a stand-alone system!

    Zoning, easy installation!

    Ductless mini splits are easy to install and can be built to manage every zone of your home or building envelope. Because of the unique way a ductless system works, you will have the ability to control each zone separately and independently of another, eliminating trouble hot or cold areas in your home and providing consistent comfort throughout without the need for expensive and complicated zoning systems that can cost many thousands of dollars to install. Ductless split systems can have up to eight (8!) seperate indoor air-handling units for every one (1) outdoor unit. Each indoor unit will have its own controller (thermostat-ish-). Take a look at the following illustration:

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    So how does this system save me money? 

    A traditional HVAC system heats or cools the whole house when the thermostat calls for heating and cooling. The only control a homeowner typically gets is opening and closing vents, which in actuality do very little in terms of cutting your energy bill, and can in fact have  a detrimental effect on the equipment. With a ductless heat pump, zones that do not have a need to be heated or cooled will not operate, while zones that do have a need, will. Because of this technology, a ductless system can save you a lot of money on your utility bill by using energy only where you need it it your home.

    Ductless units also run on inverter driven power and have the ability to speed up or slow down the internal components to only use the exact amount of energy that’s required by the heating or cooling demand whereas a traditional system runs full bore each time, wasting energy that may not need to be expended.

    R-410aDuctless split systems are eco-friendly and use R410a refrigerant which does not contain chlorine, a harmful  chemical element that can deplete our Ozone layer. This refrigerant is also HIGHLY efficient and uses less energy to accomplish the same heat removal as older refrigerants such as R22. Bottom line: R410a is better in every way and is a superior choice for heating and cooling equipment.

    Forced air systems also typically loose around 30% of the conditioned air due to duct leakage, friction, and poor installs. Because ductless systems have no duct-work (generally!) they do not suffer from the same losses, the result is that they are more efficient because of it.

    So what’s it all add up to? 

    When you add all of these things up, ductless split systems come out ahead of any conventional system. The total energy savings of ductless vs conventional are anywhere from 30-40% or better. Of course, to maximize your savings, securing your building envelope is also important. You should make sure you have adequate insulation in your attic or below your floors, and in your walls. You should also make sure all window, door, and attic leaks are sealed. Using high R-value windows, blown in attic insulation, and weatherstripping in common air leak areas will make your house efficient and will help you to get the most out of your new ductless mini-split system.

    2013-tax-creditsREMEMBER: Ductless systems ALSO qualify for Energy Star tax credits and local energy rebates! Stowe Mechanical can help you fill out the tax forms and apply for the rebates.