Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"Mini-Splits" Are Not A Small Banana Split!

     Now that I have your attention, I want to talk about electric ductless heat pumps and cooling systems. These are often called 'mini-splits' because there are actually two parts to the system. There is an outdoor unit or compressor, and a indoor unit that mounts on the wall that is the evaporator/fan blower. There is no duct work involved. The ductless heat pump can both, heat and cool your space. A cooling only option is available in ductless units also.
     In countries like Japan and China, upwards of 90% of homes use this kind of system, and have for decades. Central America uses them extensively in private homes and resorts. The U.S. Military uses them to cool the barracks and mess halls in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is just here in north America that we are slow to catch on to the idea.
     The most common question @comfortguyjerry gets regarding ductless heating and cooling is: "Will that one unit take care of my whole house?" The answer is, no. They are designed to provide comfort for a single space. That single space can be a 'great room', a bonus room or upstairs family room, room addition to a house, or a shop. It is also very effective for mobile or manufactured homes. I think you get the idea. To do an entire home would require additional outdoor units, and multiple indoor 'heads', depending on your needs and size of your home.
     You say, 'that sounds expnsive', and it can be, depending on what your needs are. The economy comes in during the monthly operation. They are so, so much more efficient, than traditional heating and cooling systems, and super high efficient central heating and cooling is expensive also. Ductless units are super quiet as well, being rated at just below a human whisper for many brands.
     Let me share with you what I mean by cost efficiency. In the Norhtwestern states of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. To heat with a wood stove will cost $24.31 to produce a million BTU. A propane furnace will cost $57.45, a natural gas high efficiency furnace (95% efficient) will cost $14.73. A ductless heat pump, aka, mini-split, costs only $8.20 to produce that same million BTU, and no pollution to the atmosphere. You do the math. They will pay for themselves in no time.
     Think of it this way. Why turn on every light in the house when you need to use the bathroom? That's what you do every time your furnace or A/C come on. With ductless you only heat or cool the rooms that you need to, or use. I am also convinced that Mitsubishi makes one of the best ductless units on the market today. So the next time you hear the word "mini-split", don't start to salivate for ice cream and banana's.
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