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The Top Questions Homeowners Have About Ductless Heating

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Why should you choose a ductless heating system? You need a new heater, but you're not sure which type to choose. If a ductless option (also known as mini-split heat pump) is at the top of your list, take a look at what you need to know about these heaters.

What Is a Ductless Heater?

As the name implies, this type of heating system doesn't use ducts to deliver warm air. Instead, a ductless model has two primary parts. These include an indoor air handler (or more likely, handlers) and an outdoor compressor or condenser. 

The indoor air handlers are individual units that the HVAC contractor installs in different rooms or spaces. This allows you to create a zoned heating plan for your home—instead of the connected system of vents that you would find with a ducted system. 

What Are the Benefits of Ductless Systems?

Your home's existing heating system doesn't use ducts. Whether it's a boiler and stand-alone radiator type of heat, under-the-floor radiant heating, or you use baseboard heaters, your home doesn't have the necessary pathways (ducts) for a forced-air system to work correctly. If you want to install a ducted system, you could. But you would need to renovate parts of your home and possibly break through walls, ceilings, or floors to add ductwork.

A ductless system eliminates the need for pricey demolition or renovations and the added cost of the ductwork itself. Not only can it save you money on the price of installation, but a ductless heater may also help to reduce your home HVAC costs. Ducts often equal heating losses—especially if the ducts are old, worn, or damaged. Heat can leak from gaps or cracks, forcing your system to work harder. The result is an increased energy need and higher utility bills. 

Not only can a ductless system help you to save money on duct-related heating losses, the zoned approach allows you to conserve energy and may add to your utility bill savings. Instead of heating every space in your home, you can choose to install air handlers in some of the rooms. 

How Long Will a Ductless System Last?

According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), a heat pump has an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. But the overall time your system lasts will depend on the quality of the heater, the installation, and routine maintenance. Failure to properly care for or maintain your ductless system could reduce its durability.