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Ductless Heat Pumps (DHP)

Updates and News

In February 2013, BPA released the results of our latest Emerging Technology study on Ductless Heat Pumps (DHP), part of a multi-year effort to identify, assess, and develop emerging technologies. The results of this report indicate robust and cost effective savings for new residential applications in homes with existing electric forced air furnaces (single family and manufactured homes). The savings for these applications come from both offsetting the use of the less efficient furnace and by avoiding heating and cooling losses associated with leaky duct work. More detail on BPA's Emerging Technology Report Ductless Heat Pump Engineering Analysis: Single-Family and Manufactured Homes with Electric Forced-Air Furnaces can be found here.

BPA has also recently released the results of a study that evaluates the electricity savings gained by installing ductless heat pumps (DHPs) in multifamily and small commercial applications. The results can be found here.

Effective April 1, 2013 BPA added two new ductless heat pump measures

  • Single family residences with zonal electric heat (provisionally deemed)
  • NEW! Single family residences with electric forced air furnaces (BPA qualified)
  • NEW! Manufactured homes with electric forced air furnaces (BPA qualified)

The Benefits of Ductless Heat Pumps

Energy-efficient Ductless Heat pumps are inverter-driven, variable-speed systems that can ramp up or down to meet the heating or cooling needs of the home, even when outdoor temperatures fall below 0 degrees fahrenheit. Since DHPs do not distribute heating or cooling through ducting, a duct system is not required. Installation is relatively easy; with only a three inch hole in an exterior wall to connect the indoor and outdoor components.

Ductless heat pumps provide a range of benefits:

  • Reduces energy use by 25%-50% compared to electric resistance heat.
  • Comes standard with cooling functionality for year-round comfort.
  • Uses ultra quiet fans, eliminating noise common to other HVAC.
  • Have built-in air filters that result in improved indoor air quality.
  • Provides even, consistent heat, eliminating hot and cold spots common to baseboard heaters (zonal).
  • Work as a supplement to an existing heating system, handling the majority of the home's heating, calling the existing system into service less frequently.
  • Are easy to install with minimal disruption to the home.
Wall mounted unit

How BPA Supports Ductless Heat Pumps

BPA is a key player in the region, developing and maintaining energy efficiency measures that meet total resource cost effectiveness.

In addition, BPA works with the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) and northwest utility partners to provide utility, contractor, and consumer level support for ductless heat pumps.

Please note: BPA does not provide incentives directly to homeowners. Please contact your local utility.


How Ductless Heat Pumps Work

Ductless Heat pumpDHPs operate the same way as a traditional split system heat pump or a standard refrigerator. Using a compression cycle and refrigerants, heat pump extracts heat from outdoor air, concentrates that heat, and delivers it via the indoor air handler. Heat pumps also have the ability to operate in reverse and extract heat from indoor air and send it outside, cooling the home. Since moving heat is less energy intensive than creating heat via electric resistance, heat pumps are two-three times more efficient than an electric resistance heater.

In addition, ductless heat pumps are often more efficient than traditional air source heat pumps for two reasons. Traditional air source heat pumps are usually single-speed systems that cycle on and off as heating or cooling is needed, reducing their operating efficiency. They also require duct work to distribute the conditioned air, which frequently leaks as it runs through unconditioned spaces like attic and/or vented crawlspaces. DHPs, on the other hand, operate more efficiently by ramping up or down to follow the heating or cooling needs of the home and have no duct losses.


Program Tools and Resources


Contact

For more information please contact Mark Johnson, DHP Program Manager at ResHVAC@bpa.gov

     


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