Frequently Asked Questions about Ductless Heating and Ductless Cooling

Many homeowners throughout Vancouver are just learning about ductless heat pumps. The ductless system also referred to as a mini split system is very popular in our area. Ductless heating and ductless cooling provide energy efficiency beyond compare.

Here are some of the questions we regularly receive about ductless units.

Q: Why choose a ductless heat pump in Vancouver?
A: A ductless heat pump offers extremely efficient operation, quiet operation, one unit provides both heating and cooling and is very simple to install. Additionally, many local and regional rebates are available making it a superb choice for home heating and cooling.

Q: How do I choose a ductless contractor in Vancouver, WA?
A: The most important part of your ductless journey is to hire the right contractor. A good contractor will make an accurate assessment of your home to find out what is actually needed. Taking the time to understand your home’s environment ensures that you’ll get the right solution. You can choose to get a simple estimate (about ½ hour), an estimate based on a load calculation (about 1 hour), or a home energy audit (about 2 hours). The home energy audit gives you specific information on what your home needs and identifies other factors that contribute to you home comfort.

Q: What is a ductless heat pump?
A: A ductless heat pump is a highly efficient heating and cooling system that does not require the use of air ducts. No ducts means no forced air through your dirty ductwork. No ducts means better indoor air quality, better efficiency and easy installation. A ductless heat pump is the modern way to heat and cool your home.

Q: How does a ductless heat pump work?
A: Ductless heat pumps are reversible, 2-way heat pumps that use electricity to transfer heat between outdoor and indoor air by compressing and expanding a refrigerant. Using a refrigerant vapor compression cycle, like a common household refrigerator, ductless heat pumps collect heat from outside the house and deliver it inside on the heating cycle, and vise versa on the cooling cycle.

Ductless heat pumps use variable speed compressors with “inverter technology” (AC to DC) to continuously match the heating/cooling load, avoiding the on/off cycling of conventional electric resistance and central heating systems that is associated with uncomfortable temperature variations and high energy consumption.

The ductless heat pump is a 3 part system:

  1. 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.
  2. An indoor unit that contains an evaporator and a quiet oscillating fan to distribute air into the space.
  3. 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.

A remote control that can be used to set the desired temperature and program in night-time settings.

Q: Is a ductless heat pump new technology?
A: No. The ductless heat pump has been used with great success commercially for over 20 years. They were developed in Japan in the 1970’s and have since become a preferred heating and cooling system in Asia and much of Europe. As a matter of fact, most of the rest of the world heats with ductless technology because of its reliability and high efficiency.

Q: If I replace my baseboard or wall heaters, do I still need my old heaters?
A: While a DHP system can be used as a primary heat source, most homeowners are encouraged to keep their existing electric heating units to supplement the DHP system in extreme weather conditions or in hard to reach extremities of the home.

Q: How much does a ductless heat pump cost?
A: The average cost of an installed ductless heat pump with one indoor heating/cooling zone is between $3,000 and $5,000. Additional heating zones and greater heating capacities will increase the cost of the system. Other factors that will affect the cost of an installed system include: the manufacturer and model, refrigerant line-set length, difficulty of installation, and contractor rates.

Q: What manufacturer do you recommend?
A: We’ve chosen Daikin and Mitsubishi model of ductless heat pumps. We believe that these manufacturer’s provide the highest efficiencies, best product selection and best warranties.

Q: How long will a ductless heat pump system last?
A: With proper maintenance and care a ductless heat pump should perform for over 20 years. Many systems installed in the 1980’s are still functioning well today.

Q: What kind of maintenance does a ductless heat pump require?
A: Ductless heat pumps require some basic maintenance to ensure optimum performance. In most cases keeping the filters and coils clean is all the maintenance needed, and can be performed easily by the home owner.

Q: How do I know what size of system my house needs?
A: A certified ductless contractor will help with that. We provide a whole house evaluation that will demonstrate measurable results. When we get done evaluating your home we will have Ductless heat pump systems are sized to meet the heating and cooling needs of individual zones in the home. There is a great deal of flexibility when it comes to system sizing as one indoor unit can provide between ¾ and 2 ½ tons of heating/cooling depending on its BTU capacity rating. Some common capacities for indoor units are 9k, 12k, 18k, 24k, and 30k BTU. Outdoor units are sized to meet the combined load of all heating/cooling zones. More than one outdoor unit may be necessary for multi-zone systems.

Q: What differentiates Revival Energy from other ductless contractors?
A: We provide critical information to our clients. Knowledge is power and understanding how your home functions is needed prior to proper design of a system. We can not only show you the exact size needed for each zone, we can also provide potential energy savings before committing to an investment of your home. Getting this information BEFORE you buy, makes you a more educated and knowledgeable client. When you choose one of our assessments you will be equipped with options to make sure your home is as comfortable as possible. We take the right amount of time upfront to ensure that any system we design or install will offer year round comfort and long term reliability.

As a top-tier Energy Trust Of Oregon home performance company, Master installer through the NW Ductless Heat pump Project, and Clark County Master Installer, we focus on efficiency, comfort and home health.

Turn to one of the comfort experts at Revival Energy for more information on how a ductless mini split system can provide with season upon season of comfortable home heating.

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  • Debbie K., Portland, OR

    Robert came to my home and performed an energy audit. We began by discussing my needs--reduced allergies, greater comfort and reduced energy costs. Robert assessed my energy consumption over the previous year and proceeded to use "man toys" to evaluate energy loss in the home.

Building Performance Insutitute (BPI) Certified Professional, Revival Energy Group