Daikin Ductless Heat Pumps

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Ductless Heat Pumps are one of the most popular options for high-efficiency, low-cost heating and air conditioning available.

We’re constantly getting questions about ductless heat pumps–how they work, where they can be installed, how they compare to traditional systems–and we love to talk about it!  We’ve received so much interest about ductless heating and cooling that we decided to publish a lot of the most commonly asked question here, along with answers and contact information if you’d like to schedule an estimate.  We’d love to meet with you in person and talk about bringing the comfort and savings of a ductless heat pump to your home!

Ductless? What does that mean?

The most common heating system type in our area (and across most of the U.S.) is what’s known as “forced air” or “central air”. These systems use a network of air ducts to push heated or cooled air throughout a building. Although common, forced-air heating and cooling has some disadvantages, for example the cost and complication of initially adding ductwork or making any changes to ducts inside of walls or ceilings. It can also be inefficient; as gaps, holes, or poorly insulated ducts reduce the amount of conditioned air that makes it to its final destination. Ductless heat pumps, also called ductless “mini-splits” (which is a reference to their most common form factor) don’t use ductwork. Instead they move pressurized refrigerant from an outdoor unit to one or more “zones” inside the house through small copper pipes. These pipes are both much easier and more affordable to install, as well being less susceptible to heat loss.

How do heat pumps work?

Good question. It’s a little complicated, but essentially, heat pumps transfer thermal energy between two spaces.

In heating mode, heat is being extracted from the air outside through an aluminum coil, concentrated, and then released into the house through another coil located indoors. In cooling mode the system simply does the reverse, absorbing thermal energy from the air inside a home and moving that energy outside, where it is released.

On a slightly more technical level, there’s two branches of science that are behind the function and impressive efficiency of heat pumps: physics and chemistry.
The Physics

Heat pumps take advantage of the relationship between pressure, temperature, and the properties of a refrigerant as it changes state between a liquid and a gas. A compressor in the outdoor unit creates two circuits in the refrigerant lines, one low pressure side and one high pressure side. By evacuating one coil (creating a low internal pressure) and forcing most of the refrigerant into the other coil at high pressure, a heat pump can add or remove thermal energy from the air by heating or cooling the coil to a temperature 20-30 degrees warmer or colder than the ambient temperature.

The Chemistry

The refrigerant in heat pumps is an advanced formula that is engineered to have ideal condensation and evaporation temperatures, as well as other physical properties. Although it is feasible that with enough pressure and under ideal conditions, a heat pump-like system could run off high and low pressure tap water, the system would likely be inefficient to the point that it would take far more energy to run than it could generate/transfer. The high level of efficiency that heat pumps, and especially ductless heat pumps boast is only possible because the chemical properties of refrigerant (almost universally R-410a in modern Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps) allow it to transfer thermal energy several degrees of magnitude better than water, as well as continue running at temperatures well below the freezing point of water.

Are heat pumps better for the environment?

Yes! How much?

Depends on where your electricity comes from. Unlike combustion-based heating, which consumes fuel like propane or natural gas and vents the byproducts outside as exhaust; heat pumps are a closed circuit, unless a coil or the line set is punctured, no refrigerant ever leaves the equipment.

This means that a heat pump’s only environmental impact is the electricity that runs the compressor and other electrical/electronic components. In Washington State much of our electricity is from water, with natural gas also playing a significant role while coal is all but phased out and solar is continuing to slowly gain popularity as the technology improves and prices come down. Many “zero-energy” homes that run solely on alternative energy sources on-site such as solar or wind feature ductless heat pumps.

Is ductless heating and cooling right for my home?

In many situations, ductless heat pumps are the best solution for low-cost, reliable, powerful heating and cooling. Every home and client is different though, that’s one of the best benefits of ductless systems from our point of view as a contractor: we can custom fit the equipment to your needs and your living space.

We provide estimates for new, retrofit, or add-on equipment at no charge. Even if you’re just exploring the idea of a ductless heat pump, trying to get an accurate idea of cost, placement, monthly savings, etc., we’d love to come meet with you, get an idea of what you’re looking for, and talk about how we can help. Call our office today to schedule an appointment: 360-734-4455 Or you can fill in the form to your right and we’ll get in touch with you soon.

At Marr’s Heating and Air Conditioning, we put a lot of thought and attention into every part, accessory, and piece of equipment we sell.  We know the systems we install in homes and offices across Whatcom County will be a reflection of our company and our commitment to quality for years to come.

So when it comes to ductless technology, we’re proud to carry Daikin ductless heat pumps.  Daikin offers a wide range of solutions to meet the layout and heating/cooling needs of your home or office.  Daikin systems are both high-performance and high-efficiency, providing as much or more heating than a forced air furnace at a fraction of the cost.

Read more about why Marr’s Heating and Air Conditioning recommends Daikin ductless systems:

Versatility

Daikin’s ductless technology is versatile, making it perfect for retrofitting into existing homes. Daikin systems can use branched indoor units to deliver heating and cooling to multiple smaller rooms or wall-mounted and recessed units can used for larger areas. Each zone is controlled independently with its own convenient remote control and they can all have different target temperatures. This allows everyone in the home to set the temperature just the way they like it, and unused zones can be turned completely off to save energy. This is a popular feature for so-called “empty-nesters” that have a few unused bedrooms that generally don’t need heating or air conditioning, but occasionally do when family or friends come to visit.

Quality and Reliability

Daikin Ductless Heat Pumps are some of the most advanced, well-engineered systems in the industry.

For such complex technology, they are also surprisingly easy to maintain and work on. It is rare that we see problems with Ductless systems–especially Daikin heat pumps–but if there is an issue, Daikin equipment has built in diagnostics that make identifying issues simple and quick. In addition to this, many repairs that can take hours on forced-air heat pumps can literally be done in minutes on Daikin ductless units (for example, replacing an electronic expansion valve). Daikin also backs their heat pumps (as well as their less common AC-only equipment) with the best warranty in the industry. All Daikin ductless equipment comes with a 12-year parts warranty and a 6- or 12-year complete equipment replacement warranty (equipment replacement warranty length varies based on model number and other systems details). When you purchase a Daikin Ductless system from Marr’s Heating and Air Conditioning, you don’t even have to worry about registering the equipment or managing the warranty. We do the paperwork for you and send you a confirmation, and in the unlikely event that your system has a problem, we take care of returning the bad part and managing the claim so we can save you the headache! Marr’s Heating and Air Conditioning also offers an exclusive, extended labor warranty on almost every Ductless system we install. First year’s maintenance is included for free with every install, and we extend the initial 1-year labor warranty up to five years for no additional charge or fee besides annual maintenance–which we also provide at a reduced price! For more information about Daikin’s industry-leading equipment and Marr’s 50-years-in-the-making expertise, give us a call today at 360-734-4455, or fill out the form to the right.

Efficiency

With energy efficiency ratings of up to 12.5 HSPF and 24.5 SEER, they lead the industry in low-cost, high performance equipment.  For more information about efficiency and how it translates into real-world savings, click on the next tab to the right.

Daikin External Links:

Daikin Ductless Heat Pumps (More information about the equipment, efficiency, and features)

Daikin Parts and Equipment Replacement Warranty Information

Daikin Company Information and History

 

Ductless Heat Pumps are extremely efficient solutions for heating and cooling.  They offer significant advantages over traditional systems through both higher performance (HSPF and SEER) and several inherent advantages of ductless technology.

Rated Performance:

Efficiency rating systems are kind of complicated (for more on that, see our guide to HSPF, AFUE, and SEER), but they’re useful for making simple comparisons of heating costs.

For example, here is a basic look at the cost to generate 100,000 BTUs of heating (about what an average 2,000 square ft. home would use in 3-5 hours on a cold day):

  • Natural Gas Furnace: roughly $1.15
  • Propane (LP) Furnace: roughly $1.45-$1.61 (varies by company, delivery fee, and quantity purchased)
  • 12.5 HSPF Daikin Ductless Heat Pump: roughly $.68 – .83 (Electricity rates vary by monthly usage, see note below)

This information is based on utility rates retrieved March 2016, for more on these numbers, click here

Other advantages of ductless systems:

  • No ducting means no heat loss as air moves through ducts, in some homes heat loss in ductwork is 7-15%
  • The majority of ductless heat pumps are “zoned” systems, meaning they can deliver varying amounts of heat to different parts of the house. For “empty-nesters” or others who don’t use rooms, sections, or even a whole floor of their house, zoning prevents the waste of heating unused spaces.  In many cases this feature alone can cut monthly utility bills in half by significantly reducing the amount of heating and cooling needed.
  • Ductless Heat Pumps are more compatible than other heat sources on generators, inverters connected to alternative energy sources like solar and wind, and “whole-home” battery backup equipment because they use less current and aren’t as sensitive to variances in waveform and voltage.  (Zero-Energy people love ductless heat pumps for this reason, as well as the high energy efficiency)
 

Most rebates for new ductless heat pump installations are provided through Puget Sound Energy and vary based on the efficiency rating (HSPF and SEER) of the new system as well as the type of system that was replaced.  You can call our office if you have more questions about PSE’s rebate program, or visit their Savings and Energy Center webpage here.

The largest rebate currently available is $1,500.  This large incentive is for Puget Sound Energy customers who convert from electric-resistance heat (such as an electric forced-air furnace or electric base-board heating) to a ductless system.  Considering this opportunity alongside the incredible month-to-month savings (a ductless system could use as little as 40-50% the electricity used by baseboard or electric-forced air heating), it makes a lot of sense to upgrade from electric heat to a ductless heat pump.

When replacing other types of heating equipment with a ductless heat pump, Puget Sound Energy offers rebates ranging from $350 – $1200.  The exact amount is largely based on the HSPF and SEER of the new equipment.  As part of our estimate process, we visit your home and plan the layout and equipment details to meet your needs.  This includes discussing what rebates are available so you know before we even get started how much you can expect to get back.  To set up an estimate or for more information, call our office today or send us a message using the form to the right.

The Community Energy Challenge also provides rebates and other incentives to upgrade to ductless heat pumps, as well as other projects aimed to improve the energy efficiency of your home.

 

Marr’s Heating and Air Conditioning has been dedicated to quality and excellence in service since Doug and Joan Marr first opened shop on the Mt. Baker Hwy. in 1965.  We carry the best in heating, air conditioning, hearth products, indoor air quality solutions, and water heaters, and our technicians are among the most knowledgeable and experienced in the industry. Our service area includes Bellingham, Blaine, Deming, Everson, Lynden, Sumas, northern Skagit County & all parts of Whatcom County.  If you’re interested in a ductless heat pump or other heating system, we’d love to meet with you in your home, answer any questions you have, and talk about options for saving money, customizing the comfort of your living space, and addressing the particular needs of your family.

We provide estimates for retrofits, new construction, and remodels/additions at no charge.  Call today, we look forward to meeting with you.

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