What Is A Ductless Heat Pump?

Today, I hope to unravel the great mystery of ductless ‘mini-split’ heat pumps for you!

It might surprise you to learn that ductless heat pump (DHP) systems have been around for over 30 years!  So although we’re just starting to hear more and more about them in the dear old United States, DHP systems are far and away the #1 heating & cooling systems world wide.  In fact, if you traveled overseas you’ve no doubt seen these in the hotel rooms or any number of shops and apartments.

Before diving into WHAT ductless heat pumps are, here are some of the amazing benefits they provide:

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  • Super High Energy Efficiency Ratings – Save Up To 30% On Energy Bills
  • Ultra Quiet Operation – as low as 29 dBA indoors & 45 dBA outdoors (that’s literally whisper quiet)
  • Flexible Installation Options – perfect for additions, remodels, or conversions from old baseboard type heating
  • Heating AND Cooling
  • Operates down to 7 degrees F or lower! That means no back-up heat necessary for Northwest users 
  • Smart Operation – sensors perceive room movement and automatically adjust to maximize comfort and energy savings
  • Built-In Air Filters clean the air, provide odor control & even de-humidification 


Now that we know how very cool the benefits to these systems are, let’s briefly cover the 3 main components of the name that describe what they are:

1) The Outdoor Unit 

Ductless Outdoor Unit

The outdoor unit is approximately the size of a large suitcase, less than half as big as your traditional air conditioner or heat pump. The unit can be placed on ground level, on a roof or even mounted to the siding of a building.

My three favorite benefits to the outdoor unit are:

  1. 1. Smaller footprint & overall size
  2. 2. Whisper-quiet operation
  3. 3. Low Temperature functionality (fully operational at 7 degrees F or lower)

The outdoor unit connects to the indoor unit by a small bundle of cables, including a regerant line.  The lines require only a 3-inch hole in the wall for installation that is sealed, weatherized and typically covered with a paintable gutter-like material to easily blend in with your siding.

2)  The Indoor Unit

Indoor Wall Mounted Unit in  Art Room

The indoor unit is mounted . . . well, it’s mounted virtually anywhere you want it!  Capable of blowing air approximately 25 feet with side-to-side and up-down vanes that help move air to all corners of the room; the wall mounted fan coil is extremely versatile.

Most wall mounts come with visual sensors that monitor movement in rooms and automatically increase or decreast operation based on room use. This will maximize energy efficiency and overall comfort. Extraordinary quiet operation is virtually unnoticeable. 

3)  The Remote Control

Indoor Ductless Unit with Remote

Although the temperature sensor for the room is located in the wall mounted unit, the remote control allows you to adjust temperature settings and fan speeds.  Ductless systems are designed to be ‘set and forget’ so that once you locate your most comfortable temperature you rarely have to adjust the setting.  Quick click options allow you to adjust settings if you’re gone for vacation or extended periods.

Remote controls are easily replaceable but come with a wall sleeve just in case. You can also upgrade to a more traditional fixed wall mounted thermostat if you prefer.

What is a Heat Pump?

Traditional gas or electric furnaces heat your home by burning/using fuel (gas or electricity) to heat air that passes through the furnace.  Heat pumps operate by transferring heat (whether to or from your home) to outdoor air. The principle of transferring heat is what makes heat pumps 2-4 times more efficient than traditional resistance based heating.

How  a Heat Pump Works in Winter and Summer

For more information on heat pump operations, click here.

Ductless Homeowner Guide Button

Specialty Heating & Cooling is one of the premier ductless heat pump installers in the Portland Oregon area.  We have installed hundreds of systems for home and business owners over the last 10 years.

We are factory trained dealers for some of the most well recognized and warrantied brands in the industry:

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  • Panasonic
  • Carrier/Toshiba
  • Sanyo
  • Daikin (3D Dealer)
  • Mitsubishi (Diamond Dealer)
  • Fujitsi


There are tremendous tax credits and rebates in 2013 for ductless system installations that include but are not limited to:

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  • Up to $1,500 Oregon Dept of Energy Tax Credit
  • Up to $300 Federal Tax Credit
  • $800 Energy Trust of Oregon rebate
  • $200 PGE rebate


Click here to schedule a FREE In-Home Consultation to learn how you can take advantage of the improved comfort and instant energy savings ductless heat pumps have to offer!.

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