Ductless Heat Pumps - Frequently Asked Questions

What is a ductless heating and cooling system?

A ductless heating and cooling system is a highly efficient heating and cooling system that does not require the use of air ducts. Ductless systems consist of an outdoor compressor unit and one or more indoor air-handling units, called “heads,” linked by a dedicated refrigerant line. Indoor heads are typically mounted high on a wall. Each indoor head corresponds with a heating and cooling zone that can be controlled independently.

How does a ductless system work, and how is it controlled?

Ductless systems use electricity to transfer heat between outdoor and indoor air by compressing and expanding refrigerant. Ductless systems consist of several parts, including: An outdoor unit that contains a condensing coil, an inverter driven variable speed compressor, an expansion valve and a fan to cool the condenser coil. An indoor unit that contains an evaporator and a quiet oscillating fan to distribute air throughout the living space. A refrigerant line-set that is made of insulated copper tubing and is housed in a conduit alongside a power cable, and a condensation drain. The system is controlled via remote control that changes temperature and operation mode. Wall-mounted controls are also available.

Are ductless systems efficient?

Ductless systems are up to three times more efficient than baseboard, wall heat or electric furnaces 

How long have ductless systems been around?

Ductless heating and cooling systems were developed in Japan in the 1970s and have since become a preferred heating and cooling system throughout Asia and much of Europe. In the United States, ductless systems have been used in commercial applications for over 20 years.

How much does a ductless system cost?

Before the Energize Rogue group-purchase discount, and any tax credits and cash rebates that may apply, the average cost of an installed ductless systems is between $4,000 and $6,000. Additional heating zones and greater heating capacities will increase the cost of the system.

What incentives and financing are available for ductless systems? 

  • Residential utility users may qualify for State of Oregon residential energy tax credits of 50% off the cost of the equipment up to $1,300. **NOTE this tax incentive sunsets on 12-31-17**
  • Pacific Power customers are eligible for an $800 rebate from Energy Trust of Oregon only if the customer is upgrading from another electric heating system.
  • Douglas Electric Co-op customers with site-built and manufactured homes utilizing existing forced air electric heat or zonal heat may qualify for a $1,000 rebate.
  • Ashland Electric Utility customers are eligible for a $1,000-$1,200 rebate if upgrading from an electric heating system, and $500 for replacement from a non-electric fuel source and existing forced air heat pump.

Learn more about incentives and financing.

How much money will I save once the ductless system is installed?

Ductless systems can save 25-50% in heating costs over traditional electric heating systems. On average, a single family home with a ductless heat pump will save 3,500 kWh annually. As $0.09 per kWh, a ductless upgrade can save you approximately $315 per year.

How long will a ductless system last?

With proper maintenance and care, a ductless system should perform for over 20 years. Many of the systems installed during the 1980s are still functioning well today.

How are ductless systems installed?

A ductless system consists of an outdoor unit, an indoor head, and a remote control for easy temperature control. Connecting the outdoor unit to the indoor head require only a three-inch hole in the wall for installation, eliminating the need for expensive and invasive ductwork. A ductless installation is hassle-free and can be completed in less than one day.

How many ductless systems do I need?

Ductless systems are sized to meet the heating and cooling needs of a home’s individual zones. There is a great deal of flexibility when it comes to system sizing as one indoor unit can provide between ¾ and 2½ tons of heating and cooling depending on its BTU capacity rating.

How much maintenance does a ductless system require?

Ductless systems require basic maintenance to ensure optimum performance. In most cases maintenance is limited to keeping filters and coils clean. These tasks can easily be performed by the homeowner. With proper maintenance and care, ductless systems should perform for over 20 years. Many of the systems installed during the 1980’s are still functioning well today.

Do I still need my old heaters?

Some homeowners choose to completely remove old, inefficient systems, and permanently close off leaking ducts. While a ductless system can be used as a primary heat source, homeowners will sometimes opt to keep their existing electric heating units as supplementary heating in case of extreme weather conditions or for use in hard-to-reach extremities of the home. Home energy and performance audits may be conducted to determine what is the best choice for you.

FAQ information adapted from NEEA’s Going Ductless website. More information can be found at http://goingductless.com