11 Best Uses for a Ductless Heat Pump


Ductless heat pumps are devices that use a two-way heat pump to deliver cooled or heated air to a particular room or space. They have two main components (one inside and one outside) and are highly energy efficient because they use the tendency of heat to move from warm places to cool places. 

Ductless heat pumps are compact heat pump units that can easily heat and cool your home or special getaway. Ductless heat pumps work well in open spaces, however, can be used in a multi-zone set up in a small home or condo.

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There are a wide variety of uses for a ductless heat pump. Ductless heat pumps are useful to heat and cool areas that are not often used, such as a bonus room. Your central heat pump system saves energy by not heating or cooling this area when not in use.

This article will further explain and detail these ideas to help you ensure all your rooms can stay warm. To explore ways to use a ductless heat pump, keep reading.

Wondering if a ductless heat pump is worth the investment? See our article Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps 101: Are They Worth It?

Useful for Saving Energy

Ductless heat pumps can have a SEER rating up to 30 making them a more energy-efficient option to central systems. Ductless heat pumps allow you to install individual heating units in different rooms and parts of your house. Each unit has its own thermostat, so you can keep different rooms at different temperatures.

Naturally, this system can help you save energy and reduce your energy bill because you can avoid heating rooms that are not in use. Or, if you do not want to completely cool these rooms, you can set them to a more efficient temperature than the room you are in.

Furthermore, ductless heat pumps are more efficient than traditional heat pumps. Central air conditioning systems lose energy as hot or cold air travels through the ductwork.

Depending on where your ducts are, up to 30% of energy consumption for space heating and cooling can be attributed to ductwork, so ductless systems can help you avoid this inefficiency and lower your energy bill.

Adding to a Finished Basement

Your finished basement probably has different heating and cooling needs than the rest of your house. Because they are underground and usually lack windows, basements tend to stay cooler in the summer than the rest of your house.

Therefore, installing a ductless heat pump in your basement will help you save energy by controlling it separately from your central heating and cooling system. 

Additionally, you may not use your basement every day. A ductless heating system is a perfect way to save money in your basement by only activating your heating and cooling system when you plan to use the basement. 

Ductless heat pump systems can last up to 20 years with proper routine maintenance, making them a great long term option.

Installing Inside Garage

Garages do not usually have heating and cooling ductwork installed, as they are not traditionally temperature-controlled. However, sometimes you may be storing something that is best kept at a certain temperature.

Another reason garages are not centrally controlled is because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning escaping the garage and entering the house through the ducts.

However, many people like to use their garage to work on projects like a motorcycle rebuild, car restoration, or woodworking. Some even like to use the garage as a gym or recreation area.

Or, maybe you want to keep your garage warm when the winter is very cold to keep your car from being impacted by the cold and ensure your drive to work does not begin with a freezing cold car.

To control your garage temperature, a ductless heating system is an excellent option. You can even opt to only use it in the winter or summer when temperatures are most extreme and can damage your things. 

Insider’s Tip: Garages are generally not insulated except for the walls or ceilings adjoining the living space. If you intend to install a ductless heat pump in your garage, you’ll need to install insulation in the ceiling and exterior walls.

Installing in a Pool House

Pool houses are separate structures from the main house. Therefore they require a separate central heating and cooling system. Adding ductwork and a central heating and cooling unit would be expensive.

To heat or cool your pool house, a ductless heat pump is the simplest option, as it is easy to install and control.

Moreover, if you have a pool house, you probably mainly use it in the summertime. Rather than heating it year-round, you can use a ductless heating system, so you only need to foot energy bills for the times it is in summer when used by family and friends.

Then, in the winter, you can close the pool house and shut off the system.

Installing in a She Shed

State Farm commercials helped launch the She Shed phenomenon. She sheds are a backyard trend seizing homes everywhere. Homeowners are cleaning out their old or unused tool sheds to create a clean and relaxing space for women to gather or sit quietly.

These sheds can have many purposes and are often used for crafting, relaxing, or reading. Filling a newly-painted shed with decorations and furniture can create a great creative outlet to escape from daily life.

However, these sheds are separate structures and usually not connected to the main house. Sheds are detached structures that are not insulated. Therefore, adding insulation in the walls and ceiling will be needed if you intend to install a ductless heat pump. Using a ductless heat pump in your she shed easily enables you to keep it heated and cooled when insulated.

Adding to Home Additions

If you already have a heat pump system, expanding and adding new rooms to your house can be difficult. Adding more ductwork in these rooms is usually expensive or just not a feasible option. 

Luckily, ductless heat pumps allow you to heat and cool any new additions without changing your existing system, allowing you to avoid barriers to an extension. These heat pumps are also very simple to install, so you will not have to wait long after construction to use your new addition.

Creating Different Temperature Zones

Many families argue over where the thermostat should be set in the home. Some people prefer cool rooms, while others like it toasty. Or, you may sleep better in cool temperatures while your relatives get cold at night. 

Ductless heat pumps can solve this conflict by allowing different rooms to have different temperatures. With a ductless system, each person in a room with a ductless unit can set their own temperature to their comfort. This use can prevent conflict and keep everyone comfortable throughout the day.

Depending on the type of outdoor unit you have installed, a ductless system can accommodate up to four indoor wall-mounted units or ceiling cassettes.

Adding to Man Caves or Smoking Rooms

When man caves are in a central part of the house and are not used for smoking, traditional heat pumps will work well.

However, if you smoke in your man cave, a ductless heat pump is a better option for this room. This is because when you smoke in a room connected to your standard heating system, the smoke can travel through the air ducts and into other rooms.

Ductless heating systems enable you to isolate the smoke from these rooms. If you do intend to create a smoke or cigar room, installing a ventilation fan that is piped to the exterior will help expel smoke from the room without risk of it traveling to other rooms in the house.

Ductless heat pumps can heat and cool these spaces when friends gather to play cards, shoot pool, or just have drink and smoke.

Installing in Rooms Over Garages

Some garages are separate from the main house, which also separates them from the central heating system, If you have a guest room or game room over your garage, you may want to install a ductless heat pump for easy and efficient control of its climate. 

This installation would allow you to turn off this room’s heat pump when no guests are staying. Moreover, since there is only one room controlled by this system, it is ideal for a ductless heat pump, as you can set the temperature for that room regardless of the main house’s settings.

Conditioning a House Without Ductwork

If you are purchasing a home without an existing heat pump or ductwork, consider using ductless heating instead. It is more cost-effective than installing ducts throughout your whole house and is also more energy-efficient.

Many of these homes are older and have inefficient baseboard heater or radiator systems. According to Mitsubishi, a leading manufacturer of ductless heat pumps, ductless systems are far superior to electric baseboard heaters.

  • Ductless heat pumps operate via a remote control allowing you complete temperature control in each room.  
  • They offer an easy and versatile installation option with little restrictions. Units are installed on the wall rather than the baseboard for better air distribution.
  • Ductless heat pumps do work best if the home is insulated, however even without proper insulation, ductless systems can heat an area more efficiently.
  • Ductless heat pump systems are about 40%-50% more efficient than electric baseboard heaters. 
  • Ductless heat pumps have a better filtration system built directly into the system to provide cleaner indoor air, reducing odors, dust, and other contaminants from the air.
  • Ductless systems provide heating and cooling in one unit. Baseboard heaters do not and require a separate cooling system, such as a window air conditioning unit.

In the long run, opting for a ductless heat pump can help you save money and offer you more individual control throughout your home.

Efficiency Vacation Rentals

Efficiency vacation rentals are generally less than 1000SF and have an open concept. Their layout makes them ideal for a ductless heat pump. Efficiency vacation rentals generally are 1 or 2 rooms at most.

Renters can operate the unit by remote control and choose their desired room temperature to provide an overall more comfortable vacation experience.

Ductless heat pump systems can be programmed to shut off at set times according to a schedule or, in the event a renter forgets to turn it off when leaving; the system can power itself off.

Conclusion

In conclusion, ductless heat pumps are best for rooms that are separate from your traditional heating system or in which you cannot add ductwork.

In addition, ductless heat pumps can help give you more control over different rooms in your home so you can adapt to your needs and the evolving needs of your family.

Finally, ductless heat pumps are a reasonable choice for areas that are not frequently used, so you can avoid acquiring extra costs from heating areas you do not use. Ductless heat pumps will help you save money and energy during any season.

Considering installing a DIY ductless heat pump? See our article Installing a Ductless Heat Pumps: A DIY Guide

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.

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