Selling Ductless

Helping homeowners understand the benefits of mini-split heat pumps

Ductless mini-split heat pumps have become a popular option for homeowners planning remodels or additions; jobs where ductwork is unavailable and would be too costly to install. Despite these systems' successful track record, many homeowners still have questions.

Will a ductless unit keep the home as comfortable as a ducted system? Will it generate enough heat in the dead of winter? How much will it cost to run? How reliable is it?

To answer questions like these, HVAC salespeople must not only be armed with facts about system features, they must also be able to explain the benefits those features offer. And they need to be ready to address common misconceptions.

Precise temperature control. There's a common misconception that a mini-split won't maintain set point temperatures as accurately as a split system. In truth, today's ductless equipment uses advanced, variable-speed inverter technology that adjusts heating and cooling output in small increments. The system is able to keep the home at the precise temperature called for by the thermostat.

Cold weather effectiveness. Some homeowners worry that the air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) used in these systems won't deliver enough heat. While that may have been the case at one time, it's no longer a worry. Today's units will supply heat at outside temperatures as low as 22° F, and will deliver a full 100 percent of their heating capacity at temperatures of 0° F. In other words, only homes in the coldest regions will need backup heat, and that backup will be needed infrequently.

Lower monthly bills. When replacing an older system, a new mini-split can save the homeowners money for years to come. In September 2015 for instance, the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships reported that replacing electric resistance heaters with ASHPs yielded an average annual energy savings of 3,000 kWh, or $459. When used as a replacement for oil heat, the savings was 6,200 kWh, or $948. When air ASHP's displaced oil heat —that it, the oil heater stayed in place but was used less frequently—the homeowners still saved an average of 3,000 kWh, or about $300 per year.

No duct losses. The lack of ductwork obviously lowers installation costs in an existing home. Less obvious to homeowners is the fact that less ductwork can also make the system more efficient and the home more comfortable. That's because heat losses through leaky ducts can account for more than 30 percent of space conditioning bills if those ducts run through an unconditioned space, as they often do in older homes. A mini-split system eliminates this worry.

Quiet operation. Comfort includes more than temperature. Today's indoor units are extremely quiet, with sound outputs as low as 29 decibels, or about that of a whisper. The lack of noise adds to the homeowners' enjoyment of their home.

Of course, ductless isn't appropriate for every situation. But it can be a real problem-solver for homeowners looking to upgrade an existing heating or cooling setup. The ability to set realistic expectations and to answer their questions about this technology will give them confidence in the system, as well as in your company.

Have you heard? Lennox has recently introduced new Lennox MPB and MLA min-split heat pumps.

Check ‘Em Out

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