Isn't it sad that when the temperature begins dropping our energy bills don't do the same? Although that's not going to change any time soon, there are ways to lower your heating costs, and at least one--ductless heating systems--does not include having to lower the thermostat to a temperature that keeps you one step away from frost bite.
Lowering electric bill costs, in some cases by as much as 50 percent, is actually just one advantage of a ductless heating system. A few others include being able to install the unit in a home that was built without any ducts, being less expensive than a central air system, and being much more attractive than a space heater. As great as all of these reasons are, there's still a lot more to know before deciding to take the leap of installing a ductless system.
To Buy or Not to Buy - That Is the Question
Deciding whether or not you should buy and install a ductless energy system depends on multiple factors, the first and biggest of which is money. Some of the ways you can save money with a ductless heating system include if you're upgrading a home's heating system that currently is heated by an old furnace, ceiling heat, or baseboard heat, or a stand-alone heater.
Which Do You Need: Single or Multi-Zone?
Once you've decided that you'll benefit from a ductless system over a more traditional system, your next decision is which type to get. There are two main types to consider, and these are single-zone and multi-zone. It's easy to guess a bit about each by the 'single-zone' and 'multi-zone' titles, but here's a bit more information to help you decide:
Single-zone systems are best used when you have a home with an open or ranch style floor plan, or have only one room to cool. When placed in the right area, many ductless systems need only one unit to reach all of the inhabited space, even in a home with many rooms. You would have to leave the doors open to allow the heated or cooled air to reach that area, and if that's an issue, then the multi-zone system should be considered. Most homes, from 1,000-1,200 square feet, can be completely heated or cooled by a single-system unit as long as it's placed in the correct area.
The multi-zone system will connect one larger main unit with multiple smaller units throughout the house. The larger main unit is normally placed in the most open part of the home, and then smaller units are installed in individual rooms in which you would like to have better regulation over the temperature. This is especially helpful for homes that have more than one story, or that have many angles and more than 1,200 square feet to cover. The multi-zone system also lets you be more flexible in which rooms are heated or cooled since each unit can be operated individually, and doors can be left closed or open.
The DIY of Ductless Heating: Install
We've now come to the fun part of any DIY project, and that's the DIY aspect of it. Now, it should be known that even though installing a ductless heating and cooling system can be a DIY project to a large extent, it cannot be done by yourself entirely. As far as installing the unit into the wall of your home, and installing the outside pump (which looks like a large box fan), this work can be done by yourself if you are comfortable with cutting into the side of your house and running a few wires under your home. However, where you will need help will be with connecting the electrical to your home's electrical circuitry. For this you'll need an electrician, and for many rebates or tax incentives it's even required.
Local electrical utility companies usually have a list of authorized contractors to do such a job for you and if they've made this list they have also usually been vetted by the electric company. It's still best to check them out with the Better Business Bureau and your state licensing board (all of which can now be done easily online) before hiring them. Something else to ask your electric company about is whether or not you will need a permit to install this system. In most cases you only need the permit for the electrical part of the install and if that is the case, this should be handled by the electrician that you hire.
The cost of electricity may keep rising, but by upgrading your old heating system to a more energy efficient ductless heating system, you won't be afraid of an incoming cold snap causing you to lower your thermostat or your body temperature.