Mini-split heat pump systems are ductless heating and cooling systems. These highly efficient products are an increasingly popular alternative to traditional heating and cooling systems and often replace space heaters and window units. They are well-suited to improving comfort in poorly heated or cooled rooms or areas. Mini-split heat pump systems are ideal for commercial spaces with rooms that have individually controlled temperatures, such as hotels, nursing homes, healthcare facilities or dental offices, and multifamily buildings with five or more units.
Savings and Incentives from Efficiency Maine
Mini-split heat pump units are highly efficient systems that save energy and reduce heating costs. Units must meet the minimum HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) requirements in order to qualify for incentives from the Efficiency Maine Business Incentive Program.
- Low-cost heat – The cost of heating with a heat pump is similar to heating with natural gas or wood. This is typically half the cost of heating with oil, kerosene, electric baseboard or propane.
- Reduced maintenance costs – Today’s best heat pumps are easy to maintain.
- Comfort – With advances in controls, heat pumps can maintain very constant temperatures.
- Safety – Because heat pumps are electrically powered, there is no risk of combustion gas leaks.
- Air quality – Heat pumps filter air as they heat, cool and dehumidify.
Read about a heat pump installation at a local Maine business here.
- Cold temperature performance – As outdoor temperatures drop, so does the efficiency of an air-source heat pump. For example, a unit that delivers four units of heat for every unit of electricity at 50°F, may only deliver two units of heat for every unit of electricity at -15°F. If the temperature drops low enough, the system may turn off completely. For this reason, air-source heat pumps are typically used as a supplemental heat source, coupled with an alternative source of heat.
How They Work
Traditional heat pumps use the difference between outdoor and indoor air temperatures to produce cool or warm air, which is quietly distributed to the interior space. Mini-split heat pump systems move heat, rather than generate it, using less energy. Here’s how they work:
- To cool, refrigerant is pumped through thin copper tubing directly to the indoor unit.
- To heat, the system absorbs heat from outside air and moves it directly indoors—not through ductwork—so minimal heat is lost along the way.
- Each indoor unit creates a “zone” of comfort, making these units well-suited to heating and cooling individual offices, hallways or small retail spaces. The temperature of each zone may be individually controlled.
- Mini-split heat pumps feature ultra-quiet fans that evenly circulate warm or cool air, instantly improving comfort.
- Mini-split heat pump systems require an outdoor unit and one or more indoor units. The outdoor unit houses the compressor.
- The connection between the outdoor and indoor units generally requires only a three-inch hole through a wall for the conduit. No ductwork is needed.
- Mini-split indoor units can be suspended from a ceiling, mounted flush into a dropped ceiling or hung on a wall.
- A simple remote control allows an easy transition from heating to cooling.
Maintenance and Longevity
Mini-split heat pump systems are easy to maintain and designed to last. Here’s what users can count on:
- With basic maintenance, mini-split heat pump systems are expected to operate up to 15 years. Keeping the filters and coils clean is generally all that’s required to keep them in good working order.
- Manufacturers recommend having a professional perform annual maintenance to ensure the unit is operating at peak efficiency.
Find out more about Efficiency Maine incentives for heat pumps and if a heat pump is right for your business. Find an Efficiency Maine Qualified Partner near you.