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gondwanalon's avatar

What do you think about "Ductless Heat Pumps"?

Asked by gondwanalon (12705 points ) February 11th, 2014

Do you own a Heat Pump? Do you like it?

Is the cost benefit worth it?

What’s the best brand?

I’ve had installation estimates on Mitsubishi, Trane and Daikin. On paper Mitsubishi looks the best. Sears made the best offer of a Mitsubishi (18,000 B.T.U.) for $6K (after rebates).

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12 Answers

thorninmud's avatar

We just had a small Trane installed in a new addition. It’s only been there for a couple of weeks, but I’m happy so far. Both the indoor and outdoor units are nice and quiet. Even in this bitch of a Chicago winter, it keeps the heat coming. Obviously, we haven’t tried the cooling mode yet.

Mitsubishi does have a very good reputation, but it’s a lot more expensive. Maybe it’s more reliable in the long run—I don’t know. Otherwise, I have a hard time seeing how it would be better than the Trane.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

We’ve had a Mitsubishi system for several years, and we’re extremely happy with it. We’re toasty-warm during January and comfortable in July, and the system’s very energy efficient.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I have a Trane (about 8 years now) – works fine, solid as a rock.

I’m a little confused about the “ductless” part. How does heat (or cooling) get transferred throughout the house without ducts?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I just put in an american standard and it’s just fine. It is a trane but the “b” line, really just a different name tag on the same unit. They’ll save you a little over buying one with the “trane” label. I have seen several ductless heat pumps and it all depends on the building it is being installed in. An older house without a good duct system these will be great. It did not make sense for my house. The two I saw were used in small one or two room laboratories.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The answer depends upon your climate and house size. 18,000 BTU/hr for heat is a pittance where I live. Western NY. (6600 Heating Degree days per season is typical.) In this area typical homes, 2000 sq ft, have at least 75000 BTU/hr for heat and either one or two 5000 BTU/hr air conditioners for the 4 days of the year when we need it. Our large wood burning stove is rated at 73000 BTU but it will only keep my house comfortable if the temp stays near freezing or above. If it gets below that, I fire up the second stove or let my oil furnace kick on.

If you live in Tennessee with heating and cooling seasons near 2200 HDD and CDD respectively, that size unit might be large enough if you have some back up for extreme days, like a wood burning stove, gas heat, electric space heater, etc.
If you live in a warmer climate see if you can install the compressor/heat exchanger unit on the shade (cooler) side of the house. If you live in a colder climate install it on the sunny, warmer, side of the house.
Remember, they get more efficient when the temperature difference between outside and inside is not great.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@LuckyGuy I’d say that is spot on. Almost all of the heat pumps here in Tennessee have backup heating coils.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Thanks. The laws of Physics are hard to beat – no matter what the advertisements say.
I picked TN because that is one of the best spots in the country for them – not too hot, not too cold.

gondwanalon's avatar

Thank you all for the information.

It seemed too good to be true at first. It looks like the heat pump NOT a hyped up gimmick. I may not recover the investment but at least the heat pump is good for the environment.

I live in Tacoma Washington where we have relatively mild winters. The temperature has never gotten lower than a +10 degrees F during the 21 years that I been here (it was 53 degrees F this morning at 06:00 a.m.). I was told that the 18,000 B.T.U. Mitsubishi that I’m thinking of buying would be adequate for our 1900 SF house. Also it would stop working when the temperature dips into the plus teens. During those times I’ll just fire up the wood stove.

thorninmud's avatar

Not to argue with physics, but I was definitely getting plenty of heat out of my unit during our recent zero-ish temps.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@thorninmud At low temps the units switch from using the heat pump and start using resistive heat. At that point it is like you are heating with electric space heaters. Expensive.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Just based on my utility bills it probably costs me ~$100 monthly to cycle the heating coil December-February. $300 is not terrible but it could buy a lot of firewood.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me $100 a month for resistive heat is not bad. Frankly for that low a price it is not worth the effort to heat with wood. My case is different. My home heat fuel economy is 8 HDD per gallon of heating oil costing almost $4.00 per gallon. When the temp is at 15F (65–15 = 50 HDD), it would take 6.25 gallons or $25 per day to heat my house if I let the oil furnace do it. Electric heat would be about the same. In my case, wood is a very good alternative. I get exercise; I clean up the woods; and I save the $25 – tax free.

There is another benefit of the wood burner. 20 pounds of paper and dry combustibles is worth the same as 1 gallon of heating oil. I don’t have to shred anything. Junk mail, old credit cards, tax records are converted to heat, effectively paying me $0.20 a pound. The “Watchtower” the JWs stick in my door warms my house as soon as I find it. You can’t put a price on that!

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