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Ductless Heat Pumps
The ductless heat pump is a new option for home heating that offers:
  • Efficient operation at outside temperatures of 17°F and above without electric backup
  • Quiet operation – both indoors and outdoors
  • Heating and cooling
  • Simplified installation
Ductless heat pumps are appropriate for both replacement of existing heating systems, especially baseboard/wall heaters, as well as for new construction. Ductless heat pumps have been installed in commercial buildings for more than 20 years and are available from many manufacturers.
 
Ductless heat pumps are very efficient for several reasons: Since the heated or cooled air is delivered directly to the room, ductless heat pumps avoid efficiency losses associated with ductwork – typically 15-20 percent. Variable speed compressor models, usually labeled “inverter technology,” avoid on-off cycling losses and are able to provide usable heat efficiency on all but very cold days. And, because they provide heat/cooling to specific areas of the house, they can be more efficient since each “zone” can be heated to the desired temperature.
 
Ductless heat pumps are sometimes called a “mini-split” heat pump. They operate on the same principle as traditional heat pumps - using electricity to move heat between outdoor and indoor air by compressing and expanding a refrigerant. Most new ductless heat pumps use the newer, less environmentally-harmful refrigerant R-410a. Depending on the rated capacity, they require 110 or 220 volt AC power.
 
Applications for Ductless Heat Pumps
Ductless heat pumps are most appropriate for homes with open floor plans, since each indoor “head” can serve the entire “zone” not blocked by doorways. Some typical applications for ductless pumps include:
 
Replacing an existing zonal heating system –Ductless heat pumps can replace existing electric baseboard/wall units, woodstoves. A cost effective electric heat conversion in a small house might consist of single system serving the main area of the house, leaving existing electric baseboards in bedrooms and bathrooms.
 
Room additions – Another application for ductless heat pumps is when a room is added to a house or an attic is converted to living space. Rather than extending the home’s existing ductwork or pipes or adding electric resistance heaters, the ductless heat pump can provide efficient heating and cooling.
 
New construction –New homes can be designed or adapted to take advantage of the characteristics of ductless heat pumps. Typically one or more systems might be installed in various “zones” of the house to simplify installation and minimize refrigerant line length. 
 
Oregon Residential Energy Tax Credit and Other Incentives
Ductless heat pump models eligible for the Oregon Residential Energy Tax Credit must meet the following specifications:
  • Have variable speed compressor (“inverter technology”) – providing more efficient operation to match the heating/cooling needs of the house under a variety of weather conditions.
  • Be listed in the ARI directory and provide at least 50 percent of rated capacity efficient operation when outside air is 17° F. and have no built-in electric resistance heat.
  • Be installed by a technician that has received factory-sponsored training within the past 5 years

Tax Credit Calculation
Use the charts below to calculate the tax credit based on the year the equipment was installed.

 

For installations in 2012 or before, the Oregon tax credit for ductless systems is calculated at $50 per 6,000 BTU/hour (“half ton”) of rated capacity with a maximum of $400 per residence. There is no state tax credit for ductless air conditioner-only models.
 
Your electric utility may have rebates or other incentives that include ductless heat pumps. 
 
For More Information 
 
GoingDuctless.com 

For more information and a list of manufacturers and Web sites, see the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute Web site.
 

For information about the Oregon Department of Energy’s Premium Efficiency Ductless Heat Pump tax credit, contact us 1-800-221-8035 or by email: energyweb.incoming@odoe.state.or.us

Application
(2014 purchases)

Application
(2013 purchases)

Application
(2012 purchases)

Ductless Heat Pump Fact Sheet