In this podcast, the team from Jones Services talks about John Maher about the differences between ductless heating and oil and gas heating. They outline the advantages. Then, they talk about options for replacing or augmenting your existing fossil fuel heat with a ductless heat pump.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Matt Torre and Tim Schofield of Jones Services, a service company in Goshen, New York with a focus on ductless heating and cooling systems. Today we’re talking about ductless heating versus gas and oil. Matt and Tim, welcome.
Matt Torre: Hey John. Thanks. Nice to talk to you again.
Tim Schofield: Hey John. Thanks for having us.
Advantages of Ductless Heat Vs. Traditional Gas or Oil Systems
John: Sure. So Tim, what are some of the advantages of a ductless heating system versus a traditional gas or oil system?
Tim: John, a hundred percent that operational cost is one of the biggest advantages. The cost to run a ductless inverter heat pump is much less than running a fossil fuel system.
Ductless More Cost Efficient Than Oil/Gas Heating
John: And in terms of cost of oil now and things like that, with costs rising of traditional gas and oil, fossil fuels, like you said, is switching to a ductless heating system going to be more cost efficient for most people?
Tim: Right now, it’s not a secret, oil prices are sky high. I have some customers that are paying $5.50 to $6.20 a gallon. And with a fossil fuel system, the amount of waste that you have going up the chimney and gone, not even getting put into your house is huge. So if you could capture a more efficient heating system like a ductless inverter, you could save quite a bit of money on the operational cost of your house and your return can be very quick.
Ductless Provides Zoned Temperature Controls
John: Is one of the advantages as well that you can put an indoor ductless unit on the wall or whether you use… There’s also ducted systems as well that use vents in the ceiling and cassettes and things like that. Is one of the advantages that you can also control the temperature in each room much more easily than you can with a traditional gas and oil system?
Matt: You’re absolutely correct on that. One of the biggest advantages outside of the overall improved efficiency that you’re going to receive from a heat pump or a ductless type system is exactly that. It’s the room by room control. In most traditional systems, it’s turning it on and you’re turning it off and you’re going to be heating the entire living space, maybe even though some rooms that you’re not using anymore.
By being able to zone the system out through a ductless system and have temperature control that’s specific to each room. Now, if you’re only using the living room and maybe one or two of the three or four bedrooms you have in your home, you can just focus on using the energy to heat those rooms and the savings by not having to heat unused rooms is only going to amplify the efficiency and the savings that you’re going to have and the reduced spend that you’re going to have by only using the heat where you need it.
Whole Home Heating With a Ductless Heat Pump
John: And can you heat a whole home with an air source heat pump system? And I think a lot of people think that if it gets really cold, especially in the deep winter and it gets down to zero degrees or whatever, that you would not be able to heat your home and so you’d end up having a cold house during those times. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Matt: Yeah, that’s a common misconception about heat pumps that’s really derived from the heat pumps of the past. Heat pumps have actually been out for 30 or 40 years now, but the original models weren’t able to maintain efficiency at those lower temperatures.
So now with the new technologies that have come out, it’s absolutely possible to be able to heat your whole home, even in a cold northeast climate like the one we’re here in upstate New York. The important thing you want to think about is that you want to make sure that the system is properly sized to the home. So whatever contractor you’re dealing with, you want to make sure that they’re doing a proper heat load so that they’re determining the capacity that you’re going to need to be able to keep your home toasty on those coldest days and make sure that you have the right equipment.
Now, there are multiple types of heat pumps out there still, some of which are not really suitable for this climate year round. But if you go with something that’s a low ambient temperature or in Mitsubishi’s case considered a hyper heat, those are going to have ratings that are going to be certainly adequate to be able to keep your house at 70 degrees even on a day that’s single digits or even to the negatives. So yeah, we’re doing a lot of solutions for customers now that are able to heat their home entirely all year round simply using heat pumps.
Heat Pumps Work Efficiently in Sub-Zero Temps
John: And I know that one of the things that you have to consider too is that there are actually are not all that many days that get down to zero, at least here in New England, it stays mostly in the twenties or thirties, even in the worst of the winter.
Except maybe you’ll have a few days that overnight it might get down to the single digits or something like that, or possibly even dip down below zero. But that’s pretty rare. So it’s only a matter of hours when your heat pump system might be even possibly struggling. But like you said, these new heat pump systems can go down to, what is it, like negative 13 degrees or something like that outside and they can still put heat into your home.
Matt: Yeah, no, John, you’ve obviously done your homework. Negative 13 is certainly the number. And again, with proper sizing you’ll be able to maintain comfort year round. But as you said, again, most of the days that we go through the winter are going to be in the twenties and thirties, and there’s probably even more days in the forties than we actually even realize.
So while we want to make sure that we size the equipment and get the equipment that can maintain on those rare instances that we are down in the single or negative degrees, the nice part about the heat pumps is that they are inverter systems so that they are able to adapt to the actual outdoor temperature. So they will run to full capacity on the coldest day, and then can actually let off the gas a little bit on a lot of those days that are 30 and 40 like you talked about.
Can You Combine Traditional and Ductless Heat Pumps?
John: Okay. And then, Tim, again, is it possible to keep your old heating system in your house and then kind of combine that with a ductless system? And why would you want to do that? What are some of the advantages of doing that?
Tim: So John, some people have natural gas boilers or furnaces, and they may just want to have a secondary heat source, like a Mitsubishi heat pump. Then you can have the best of both worlds, almost like a dual fuel system. And Mitsubishi has some controls that allow those systems to properly communicate and talk to each other and can actually always run your heat pump first, and then if the heat pump needs a little extra boost, it could bring on the fossil fuel system.
So it’s a neat way to have the best of both worlds. Now, Mitsubishi is also just coming out with some new products that allow you to have a Mitsubishi heat pump that connects to your existing oil or propane furnace. So you really get the best of both worlds, which I’m excited about. It’s a new product and they’re just unveiling it.
John: So what’s the reason for that? Is it that the propane furnace or a gas furnace that they actually are more efficient than the ductless system at those low temperatures?
Tim: Well, it depends. On a negative day, sometimes it’s good to have an auxiliary heat source if you can’t get your heat pump to be at the right temperatures. So for instance, if the house is a little bit bigger than what the heat pump can support on a zero degree day, but the heat pump will work great on a 15 degree day, we could design that system to have that auxiliary heat source so that on those couple of five or six days out of the winter, it could still keep up with the load.
John: So you can actually set that temperature and say, okay, below 15 degrees I want to switch over to my traditional system and above 15 degrees we’ll use the heat pump system.
Tim: The controls are pretty incredible.
John: All right. Well that’s really great information, guys. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Matt: Yeah, thanks for having us, John.
Tim: Great job. Thanks.
Contact Jones Services to Learn More
John: And for more information, you can visit the website at jonesservices.com or call 845-294-1010.