Ductless heating units consist of two main parts connected by a refrigerator line. The indoor unit (called the "head") and an outdoor unit (called the compressor). Installers mount the heads inside the home on the wall or ceiling. The compressor sits outside the structure near the base of the house or building. A copper tube (called the refrigerant line) connects the head(s) to the compressor.
One benefit of ductless heating is that each air-handling unit heats a specific area (zone) of the house or structure, rather than the whole house, as with central heat and air units. If one or more heads is located throughout the structure, each is still controlled independently. Ductless heating is programmable to establish day and nighttime temperature settings so they use energy more efficiently. And, with ductless heating, you only have to heat the zones you occupy, which saves on energy use.
It is easy to install ductless heating to added or converted rooms such as basements and attics because they do not require the extensive duct work that central heat and air systems do. Another benefit of ductless heating units, unlike window units, is the reduced chance of intruders due to the only outside line being through a three-inch. Also, some states, Montana and Oregon for instance, offer tax credits to homeowners who install ductless heating.
Because ductless heating is a zonal heating unit, you may need up to four heads for larger homes or structures. Another disadvantage is that it is advisable for home and business owners to keep the primary heating unit even after the installation of ductless heating to ensure even temperatures in severe weather. Ductless heating can be expensive to install, with an average installation price between $3,000 and $5,000 (about 30% more than window units of the same power can provide).
If the installer misjudges how much heating/cooling capacity you need for the structure, the system will not work efficiently. If you are like some individuals, you may not like how an added indoor head unit may look because you feel it takes away from the beauty of the home. Ductless heat pumps also require a condensation drain way for the outside compressor, which may deter some homeowners, too. Qualified installers and technicians may be difficult to find in some areas.
The efficiency of a ductless heat pump system is dependent upon accurate installation and how well the building or home is insulated. Investigate getting more than one installation estimate from certified ductless heat pump installers to ensure you are getting the correct size ductless heat pump unit at the most reasonable price.