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What Is A Ductless Heat Pump?

A ductless heat pump is a highly efficient heating and cooling system that provides year-round comfort. Heat pumps are very effective at transferring warm air from one space to another. However, when combined with the energy-saving features of a ductless system, the benefits are even more pronounced because climate-controlled air cannot escape through leaky or poorly insulated ducts. Mitsubishi Electric Cooling and Heating pioneered this technology more than 30 years ago, and the systems that Mitsubishi Electric contractors are installing today are more efficient than ever. Plus, the cost of installation is much lower, and units can be placed in a variety of locations where traditional ducted systems wouldn't be a viable option. Let's take a look at the anatomy of ductless heating and cooling systems that use heat pump technology.

How a Ductless Heat Pump Works

HVAC systems, including heat pumps, rely on liquid refrigerants to capture and remove heat. However, heat pumps have a special feature called a reversing valve that allows the refrigerant to flow in the opposite direction and collect heat from the air. Because air-source heat pumps rely solely on ambient air and require a relatively small amount of electricity, the cost of operation is quite low compared to gas-burning furnaces and systems that require fuel to generate heat.

What Does Ductless Mean?

Unlike central HVAC systems that require yards of ductwork, ductless systems use split technology that allows the heat pump and compressor to be placed outside and air handlers to be installed in strategic rooms. Ductless heat pumps are sometimes called mini-splits or multi-splits because the equipment is compact and available in different configurations that allow heat and cool air to be distributed to multiple rooms or throughout an entire building. The split components are linked by a series of wires, pipes and refrigerant lines that eliminate the need for ducts and allow the air handler and outdoor unit to communicate.

Ductless heat pumps are an attractive heating and cooling option because they can be installed in existing buildings quickly and easily. Most air handlers connect to the outdoor unit via a three-inch wall port. This installation method eliminates security concerns that window-mounted systems create. Plus, outdoor units can be placed up to 50 feet away from air handlers to avoid conflicts with landscape features, entryways and public areas.

What is a Ductless Heat Pump, and how is it Different from a Ductless Air Conditioner?

Like a refrigerator, a ductless air conditioner only has the ability to keep air cool. It can't provide heat, which is an area where heat pumps excel. Because heat pumps are so efficient for heating and cooling, they are the preferred HVAC system in parts of the country that have hot, humid summers and milder winters. Over the past several decades, Mitsubishi has developed a number of innovative features that allow the company's heat pumps to function in all climatic conditions. Mitsubishi's proprietary H2i® hyper-heating inverter allows electric heat pumps to efficiently generate warm air in temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit. Today's ductless heat pumps are extremely efficient, have excellent cooling capabilities and provide affordable electric heat in the winter.

Benefits of Ductless Heat Pumps Compared to Traditional HVAC Systems

As a general rule, ductless systems are more efficient than central HVAC. That's because ductless models eliminate duct-related energy losses, which account for 30 percent of heating and cooling costs according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Aside from being an ideal air conditioning option in warm climates, heat pumps use 30 to 40 percent less energy compared to other electric heating options, including baseboards and radiant wall heaters.

Ductless systems are also easier to install than traditional HVAC units. Installation costs are typically under $5,000 to retrofit an entire home. Ductless heat pump prices depend on the size of the outdoor unit and the number of indoor air handlers. Equipment costs for multi-zone systems or top-of-the-line units will be slightly higher. Because Mitsubishi heat pumps are so efficient, many homeowners qualify for federal tax credits and rebates issued by local utility providers.

Ductless Heat Pump Features and Benefits

  • A single Mitsubishi Electric heat pump can heat and cool an entire home.
  • In most cases, ductless heat pump installation can be completed in one day.
  • A ductless system is the most practical and versatile add-on for existing buildings.
  • Ductless systems are easier to install and more efficient to operate than ducted systems.
  • In cooling mode, Mitsubishi heat pumps have excellent efficiency ratings ranging from the minimum of 13 to an astounding 26 SEER.
  • Mitsubishi's energy-efficient heat pumps can produce up to four kilowatts of heat using one kilowatt of electricity.
  • Low-profile indoor air handlers can be mounted on walls, ceilings or the floor for greater flexibility.
  • Multi-split systems allow indoor air handlers to be adjusted individually for enhanced efficiency and comfort.

Thanks to industry-leading features and technology, Mitsubishi Electric ductless heat pumps are helping more homeowners and businesses save energy and stay more comfortable all year. To get a free quote on ductless heat pump installation from Mitsubishi Electric contractors, visit