This podcast compared the cost of heating with oil compared to using ductless heating and cooling systems. It explains how ductless can help you save money thanks to increased efficiency, reduced energy prices, and government rebates.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Matt Torre and Tim Schofield of Jones Services Service Company in Goshen, New York with a focus on ductless heating and cooling systems. Today we’re talking about ductless heating and rising oil prices. Matt and Tim, welcome.
Matt Torre: Hey, good morning, John.
Tim Schofield: Hey John, how are you?
Cost and Efficiency of Heating Oils and Other Traditional Heating Fuels
John: Good, thanks. So Matt, what’s currently happening with heating oil prices and the costs of other traditional heating fuels?
Matt: Well, John, I’d imagine that anybody who has flipped on the news channel or had a recent propane or oil delivery to their home would be able to easily tell you that those prices are on the rise and have been for some time with very little to make us think that that trend is going to change in the near or recent future.
So, heating oil, gas, propane, all of which are commonly used to heat a home have gone up in our particular area. I’ve seen increases from 50% to almost double what heating oil prices were just a couple years ago.
And like I said before, I don’t see anything in the news, any signs that trend is going to reverse itself anytime soon. One of the things that we really find great about our ductless systems compared to a system that burns either natural gas or oil or propane, is that a lot of the systems, especially the older ones, are considered standard efficiency. So the efficiency requirements of those types of furnaces find them to be around 80%.
And what I mean when I say that is that with a system like that, every dollar of fuel oil or every dollar of propane or natural gas that you buy, that system is only able to deliver about 75 or 80 cents of that to heat your actual home. Meaning for every dollar you spend, you’re losing about 20, 25 cents that gets pushed out through the chimney and never actually delivers you any comfort.
So one of the real benefits of a Mitsubishi or any real heat pump product is that they have a much higher efficiency rating and they do that without the consumption of any oil or propane. So you’re able to completely avoid that spend and the subsequent loss from some of those less efficient systems.
Can Ductless Replace a Traditional Heating System
John: Okay. And Tim, is a ductless heating system a viable option for replacing a traditional heating system?
Tim: Yeah, John, absolutely. There’s a whole bunch of benefits of having an inverter heat pump or a ductless heat pump, anywhere from comfort to efficiency to maybe rezoning the house. It’s a great way to do it and that’s so important about having a qualified specialist come out, evaluate your home, your needs, maybe your fuel oil situation and then come up with a design that can release you from the grasps of that oil company and have a much more comfortable home that costs less to operate.
Should You Replace Your Traditional Heating System or Augment It With Ductless?
John: And is it better to completely replace a traditional heating system with ductless or to combine the systems together?
Matt: Well, John, that really depends on the goal of the individual customer. You know, what they’re looking to try to achieve, as well as, what the existing equipment is. So if you have a standard efficiency system like I was speaking to before, that’s only delivering about 80 cents on the dollar, a complete replacement may be a better solution for you.
You also have to look at the age of the equipment. If your existing furnace is 15-years-old and has almost reached its life expectancy, then a complete replacement is obviously going to make more sense.
Now, if you just replaced your furnace two or three years ago, I’d hate to have you lose the investment that you made in it and I probably would recommend finding a system that could adapt to it. It really, again, depends on the individual house that we’re in and the customer that we’re speaking to and their goals. Some people like the redundancy of having two systems and knowing that if one system was to fail, that they have this other system in place that can operate as a backup or hold them over till they can service the other one.
Some people are just so fed up with paying those high oil prices that they want to rip it out, rip the oil tanks out, rip up the last oil bill and move on to a cleaner, more environmentally friendly and more cost effective solution. So again, it really depends on the individual’s home, the goals that they have and what they’re trying to accomplish, as well as, the existing equipment that they already have in their home. So once again, sitting down with a comfort advisor and a specialist who can weigh all those options with you is really recommended to help you maximize what you can do with your new design.
How Efficient Are Ductless Heating Systems? Will You Save Money if You Replace Your Traditional Heater With Ductless?
John: And how efficient are ductless systems for heating? Can a homeowner expect to see savings on their heating bills if they’re replacing a traditional system with ductless?
Tim: Yeah, John, absolutely. Some case studies can show savings on heating a home 30, 40%. Now, what’s going to really affect that is some houses with fuel oil, they’re going to have the biggest cost savings maybe compared to someone who’s hooked up to the natural gas system. Now a homeowner can expect to see savings on their utility bills and the best way to show them that is right now, if you look at some of the goals of the country as a whole, is to get off of fossil fuels and be more energy efficient and green and eliminate greenhouse gasses and heat pumps is one of the best ways to do that.
Now, depending on your utility company here in New York, the NYSERDA program and the utility companies teamed up and they’re giving some pretty large incentives to encourage homeowners to get off of the fossil fuels and get into a ductless heat pump or maybe a ducted inverter heat pump in order to help achieve those goals of the country.
So when the government’s chipping in for it, they really want to make sure that they can encourage you and make it more affordable for you as a homeowner to have a much more energy efficient heating system. So I would say, yeah, sometimes some people, 30 to 40% is a great target goal.
Does Replacing Oil/Propane Heat With Ductless Affect Your Hot Water Heater?
John: What do we do about hot water if we are actually completely replacing a traditional system with a ductless system? How do you heat your hot water?
Tim: Well, there’s a couple different ways, John. It’s very common for someone to have oil fired equipment or gas fired equipment and then have a water heater that works in a similar fashion and they want to completely get onto an electric system. So depending on what the household need is for hot water, one of the coolest ways is to do what’s called a heat pump water heater, which is a hybrid and it’s a combination of an electric water heater and a heat pump that sits on top of it.
And that’s a very energy efficient way. And just like the heat pumps for your home, the governments also, or the utility companies offering rebates to encourage people to put those in. Now, not every housemate may want the heat pump water heater but then we could look at other products. Maybe it’s a straight electric water heater, maybe it’s a tank less fossil fuel water heater. So it really depends on the house and the needs but the heat pump water heater is one of the neatest ways to get hot water and most efficient.
Maher: All right, well that’s all really great information, Matt and Tim. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Tim Schofield: No problem, John. Thanks for having us.
Matt: John, always a pleasure.
For More Info About Ductless Heating and Cooling, Contact Jones Services
Maher: And for more information, you can visit the website at Jonesservices.com or call 845-294-1010.