A ductless heat pump unit up against a wall outside a home

As more and more people become conscious of their carbon footprint, they question their consumption and lifestyle choices. Given that we can’t do without the electrical appliances we use, we at least want to ensure that we use eco-friendly models. 

One appliance that is commonly in question is ductless heat pumps.

This article will explain more in-depth why these pumps are eco-friendly, how they provide a higher ROI, and what you can do to maximize the return on investment of your pump. 

Why Are Ductless Heat Pumps Eco-Friendly?

Ductless heat pumps are more energy-efficient than ducted HVAC systems and gas-powered burners and need fewer raw materials to manufacture. You can make them more energy-efficient by operating them on variable speed settings and adhering to a maintenance schedule. 

Ductless heat pumps are currently the most eco-friendly HVAC system on the market. Additionally, they provide a higher ROI than ducted systems over their lifetimes.

Read on as we explain why ductless heat pumps are more environmentally-friendly than gas-powered and ducted heating and cooling systems.

They Need Less Energy To Operate

According to the US Department of Energy, ductless heat pumps have an energy efficiency of 400%

On the other hand, gas and propane furnaces have an energy efficiency of about 78%-97%. In addition, appliances like furnaces, baseboard heaters, and wall heaters that operate through electrical resistance heating are about 95%-100% efficient at converting electricity into heat.

Why do ductless heat pump needs less energy to heat or cool a space?

They Move Heat Instead of Creating It

Energy cannot be destroyed—it merely changes from one form to another. In ducted HVAC systems, electrical energy gets converted to thermal energy to create heat. This process uses a lot of electricity. 

Ductless heat pumps need less energy because they do not create heat by burning fuel. Instead, these systems move heat from one space to another to warm or cool it. 

A stylish-looking ductless heat pump outside a home

For instance, a ductless heat pump moves or “pumps” heat from a hotter portion of the building to warm the air in another location. Likewise, it removes the heat from the air to cool a space and moves it to another area within the building. 

They Use Inverter Technology

Ductless heat pumps contain variable-speed compressors that use inverter technology. 

These compressors utilize smart technology to sample the air and analyze its temperature and other ambient conditions. Then, the compressor adjusts the heating output by altering its speed based on this information. 

Inverter-driven variable-speed compressors let heat pumps operate within the full range between 0 and 100%, ensuring the appliance is neither under-performing nor running excessively. 

They Prevent Energy Wastage

Ducted HVAC systems either heat or cool the whole building, or none of it. These systems waste considerable energy heating or cooling the air in uninhabited spaces. 

On the other hand, ductless heat pumps have in-built zone control features. These systems have individual temperature controls to heat or cool only the spaces you want them to, which maximizes comfort and prevents electricity wastage. 

Some manufacturers add sensors to their units that regulate temperature based on the number of inhabitants in a room. This feature ensures maximum comfort while reducing electricity usage. 

Their ductless design also prevents energy wastage. 

Over time, ducts in forced air central systems tend to develop leaks. If these systems are not inspected and maintained regularly, leaks can progress to where almost 30% of the air flowing through the system is lost. 

Ductless heat pumps are more energy-efficient than ducted systems because there is no chance of leaks. As a result, they use less electricity and prevent wastage.

Ductless heat pumps thus reduce the amount of fossil fuel burned, benefiting the planet and slashing your electricity bills.

They Require Fewer Raw Materials

Unlike central HVAC systems, ductless heat pumps require fewer raw materials. These units are small and do not have ducts and vents.

With fewer materials to transport and assemble, ductless heat pumps create a lower carbon footprint than their ducted counterparts. 

They Are Recyclable

With regular maintenance, ductless heat pumps last for 20 years. In addition, almost 80% of the components of high-quality pumps are recyclable. Therefore, very little of a ductless heat pump ends up in a landfill at the end of its life cycle. 

Some ductless heat pumps have multi-stage allergen filtration systems. The filters in these pumps don’t need to be replaced before ten years of use.

Compared to the ducted HVAC systems whose filters must be replaced every few months, ductless heat pumps are much more eco-friendly and cost-efficient. 

Why Do Ductless Pumps Provide Higher ROI Than Ducted Systems?

Ductless pumps provide a higher return on investment (ROI) than ducted systems because they reduce your utility bills and cost less to install and maintain. They can heat and cool spaces, and some can also filter indoor air. Therefore, as you don’t have to buy multiple appliances, the ROI further increases. 

They Pay Themselves Off Through Reduced Utility Bills

Ductless heat pumps require less electricity than gas-powered and ducted systems, prevent electricity wastage, and lower your utility bills. 

Even after considering the differences in energy efficiency ratings, operating conditions, and the region’s climate, ductless heat pumps can save you anywhere from $1,000-$2,000 in yearly operational costs compared to ducted HVAC systems. 

They Do Away With the Need To Buy Multiple Appliances

Ductless heat pumps can heat and cool distinct spaces. 

And contrary to popular belief, these appliances are as effective in keeping you warm during winter as keeping you cool during summer.

It was observed that on a day when the outside temperature was 0 °F (-17.78°C), a ductless heat pump kept the indoor temperature at a comfortable 68 °F – 70 °F (20 – 21°C). 

Given that you won’t have to buy multiple appliances, you’ll be able to save a significant amount of money. In addition, some pumps also have in-built filters and ionizers that can remove dust particles and allergens from indoor air.

They Cost Less To Install

Ductless heat pumps are easier to install than ducted systems. With fewer components and no ducts and vents, you just need to make a 2-inch (5.08 cm) hole in the wall to mount the appliance. 

A homeowner uses a screwdriver to remove the cover of his ductless heat pump

Ductless systems can be easily installed in older homes where the walls tend to be thick. You also won’t have to navigate through a complex network of service entry wiring, ungrounded electrical switches and receptacles, or gas pipes. 

Easy and hassle-free installation translates to considerable monetary savings for you. 

They Cost Less To Maintain

Ductless heat pumps have fewer components than ducted systems. There are no ducts, vents, blower fans, louvers, thermostats, and complicated wiring. As a result, there are fewer maintenance jobs to carry out. 

If your ductless system has a filter, you just have to clean it, which you can easily do at home.

They Last for a Long Time

Ductless heat pumps last as long as ducted HVAC systems. In addition, many manufacturers provide warranties on ductless HVAC systems for 12 years. 

You just have to ensure that you stick to a regular maintenance schedule to keep the appliance in prime working condition. 

Because ductless heat pumps last as long as ducted systems, they offer a higher ROI as you continue to save on your utility bills.

Although ductless heat pumps are more efficient than their ducted counterparts, there are ways you can make your appliance run even more efficiently. Greater operating efficiency increases your ROI and reduces your carbon footprint. 

How Do You Increase Your ROI of Ductless Heat Pumps?

You can increase your ROI on a ductless heat pump by buying a high-efficiency model. You should keep the indoor and outdoor units clean and schedule regular inspections and maintenance.

It would help if you also insulated your home to lessen the work your pump has to do to heat or cool the indoor space. 

Choose a System With a Higher Efficiency Rating

Although a high-efficiency unit is costly, it has greater operational efficiency and provides a higher ROI over its lifetime. 

When buying a high-efficiency unit, check the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. For example, a highly efficient heat pump has a SEER rating of around 20. 

You can also check the Energy Star rating. This label by the US Department of Energy contains helpful information like the yearly cost of operating the appliance compared to other similar models.

This cost is calculated based on average energy prices across the country. 

The higher the Energy Star rating, the more efficient the pump is.

Insulate Your Home

If your home is not insulated, the heat pump must work harder to keep inhabitants comfortably warm or cool. 

A man wearing a white mask and white gloves installing Rockwool mineral wool insulation in between the studs in the wall

Here are some tips on how you can insulate an indoor space:

  • First, ensure that there are no cracks around doors and windows.  
  • Use rigid foam or blown-in insulation for quick and cost-effective installation.
  • Weatherstrip around doors and windows. 

In winter, you can leave a south-facing window open during the day to warm the room. This way, the heat pump has to work a little less to keep the air warm. 

Choose the Appropriate Settings

A ductless heat pump is not a complicated appliance. However, choosing the appropriate settings ensures it runs efficiently. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

  • Set the fan speed to ‘auto’ choose this setting instead of quiet, ‘low,’ ‘medium,’ or ‘high.’ The auto mode automatically modifies the fan speed to optimize efficiency.
  • Choose ‘heat’ or ‘cool’ mode instead of auto this will strike the right balance between efficiency and comfort.
  • Do not fidget with the temperature settings – do not use a smart thermostat. Set a comfortable temperature based on the season. The pump will automatically adjust to maintain this temperature.

Run It 24/7

Unlike ducted HVAC systems, ductless heat pumps are more energy-efficient if operated continuously. The ductless systems consume more energy when they fire up or shut down. 

If you’ll be away from home for a few hours, just adjust the up or down temperature by 2-3 degrees, depending on the season. This measure will ensure you continue to save on electricity even though the appliance is running. 

Keep It Clean

Although a ductless pump is easy to maintain, you should follow a regular cleaning schedule to keep the appliance in top working condition. 

Here are some measures you can take to ensure efficient operation of you heat pump, including:

  • Clean the filters – remove the filters and use a dry cloth to wipe them clean. You can also gently vacuum with a brush attachment. If there’s some stubborn dirt, wash the filters with soapy water and an old toothbrush. Ensure that they are fully dry before reinserting them. 
  • Keep the outdoor unit free of debris ensure that the outdoor unit is not clogged with leaves during autumn and summer or snow and ice during winter. Remove all debris from around the unit to ensure nothing gets inside the components. 
  • Check the line hide for damages – check the line hide covering the drain lines and the refrigerant for damages.
  • Maintain airflow around the outdoor and indoor units – trim bushes and hedges around the outdoor unit, and keep objects like furniture away from the indoor unit. 

Do Not Skip the Maintenance Routine

Schedule a professional inspection every two years. A preventative care routine also ensures that the slightest issue doesn’t turn into a major problem that reduces the appliance’s efficiency or damages it beyond repair. 

A homeowner installs a ductless heat pump

Even though paying a professional to inspect your perfectly operating equipment might seem like a waste of money and time, we assure you it will save both of these resources in the long run.

Conclusion

The demand for ductless heat pumps is fueled by consumers’ desires to reduce their carbon footprint and utility bills. 

Ductless heat pumps are built to be more energy-efficient than ducted HVAC systems. However, you must also ensure that you run and maintain it properly to maximize its operational efficiency. As a reward, you’ll earn a higher ROI and have the satisfaction of knowing that your comfort is not harming the planet.

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