Heat pumps have been slow to catch on in the United States, but they are selling like hot cakes now. Even with the recent plunge in energy prices, homeowners are looking to a future where gas & oil prices— not to mention electricity— keep rising. There are still doubters out there. One builder announced recently that heat pumps aren’t a good choice for existing housing, that they’re cost-effective only for new construction. Whaaa??? Here are 5 of the popular ‘myths’ about heat pumps. (We should add that this is a list borrowed from Mitsubishi, who’s got some skin in the game.)
- They are more expensive to run. False, says Mitsubishi. A mini-split ductless heat pump will save between $1,000 and $2,000 a year, depending on the condition of the equipment, energy type, and where you live.
- Once associated with dirty-sock syndrome, heat pumps now come equipped with filters and scrubbers to keep out bacteria and fungal spores. An internal fan insures that the heat pump has a chance to dry out completely, eliminating the breeding ground for mold and bacteria.
- Ductless heat pumps are especially popular in new construction because they eliminate the need for . . . you got it— ductwork. But they are increasingly being used as well for retrofits and new homes, where they can be combined with other sophisticated systems like infloor radiant heat.
- Their lifespan is shorter than a conventional furnace. If a heat pump is maintained, it should last as long as an old-fashioned furnace. We have heard stories of homeowners in cold climates bragging that their heat pump is older than the kid who just left for college. Check the warranty for the popular brands. Companies don’t bet against themselves.
- Heat pumps aren’t good in cold climates. This was true just a few years ago. But equipment manufacturers have invested time and money in technology such as inverter (see the attached chart showing the Mitsubishi MSZ-FE performance in temperatures down to minus 13).
So which is the best ductless heat pump? Furnace Compare claims it collected ‘thousands’ of reviews from homeowners and contractors. According to their website, here are the top 10 brands:
- Coleman LX
- Trane XB14
- Goodman DSCZ18
- Coleman Echelon
- Trane XR15
- Lenox XP16
- York LX
- Trane XL 15i
- Rheem Classic
- Mitsubishi Mr. Slim
So you’re now rethinking which system you would install? Check out this website for pricing and other information before you call your contractor: http://www.comfortup.com/heating-and-cooling/ductless-mini-split-systems.