5 Cool Things You Didn’t Know About Ductless Heating and Cooling Systems (Podcast)

In this podcast, Mike Cappuccio from N.E.T.R., Inc talks with John Maher about ductless heating and cooling systems. He covers five exciting features and capabilities that many people don’t know about these innovative, energy-saving systems.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Mike Cappuccio, founder of N.E.T.R., Inc. the heating and cooling company in Massachusetts with a focus on Mitsubishi ductless heating and cooling products. Today, we’re talking about five cool things you didn’t know about ductless heating and cooling systems. Welcome Mike.

Mike Cappuccio: Hi John, how are you?

1. Ductless Can Dehumidify Your Garage

John: Good, thanks. So, Mike, today, we want to talk about some things that most people don’t know about ductless heating and cooling systems. So let’s discuss each one of these. The first one is that you can use a ductless AC as a dehumidifier in your garage in the summer months. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Mike: Yeah, sure. I actually saw this being done down in Florida a few weeks ago, and I had talked to a friend of mine and said, how you doing this? And a lot of people buy dehumidifiers for their garage or they buy a dehumidifier for their basement. But the way that it can be done with Mitsubishi Electric is that there’s an actual control that you can put a dehumidifier on the wall mounted air conditioner to make it dehumidified to not run off a temperature, to run off humidity. So…

John: Right. You just change the mode from cooling or heating to dehumidify.

Mike: Because a lot of people, sometimes aren’t so concerned about temperature. They’re more concerned about humidity. So I want you think about the summertime in your garage, how hot it gets and humid it gets. And I mean, I know even like after a rainstorm and you pull the car into the garage, it’s just, oh, it’s super hot.

John: Feels damp.

Mike: It feels damp. And I mean, a lot of times people don’t even like to get into an hot automobile or sometimes people actually store cars in their garages, very expensive cars that need to have certain humidity so the leather seats don’t crack or the dashboards don’t crack and things like that. A lot of times they just like perfect humidity, not temperature.

I mean, a lot of these storage spaces when you go to store certain paper and certain things like that, you might store certain things in your garage. I mean, I know we did a job one time for a historic society that just had all historical papers and things like that, that they weren’t concerned about the temperature. They were more concerned about the humidity.

John: Right. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or if it’s cold, it’s just that moisture gets into those papers.

Mike: Just didn’t want the moisture in there. Exactly.

John: And especially where you said, like down in Florida, like it’s notoriously hot and humid in the summer in Florida.

Mike: Yeah. I mean, your garage can get up to 100 degrees and it’s not that it’s 100 degrees. It’s that it’s 100% humidity in there. If I can cool that space to 80 degrees and okay, it’s 80 degrees, but it’s 50% relative humidity. I mean, that’s where I would want the space to be. I mean, a lot of times it’s not temperature that makes something comfortable. It’s humidity. Think about an 80 degree day or an 82 degree day with 30% relative humidity outside. That’s a beautiful day.

John: Right.

Mike: Think about an 85 degree day with 100% relative humidity.

John: Stifling.

Mike: That’s an awful day. You know what I mean? I mean, everyone says, Hey, go to Vegas. It’s dry heat. It’s a 100 degrees, but it’s dry. And I truly believe that it is hot. Don’t get me wrong, but it is dry too.

John: Right. Sometimes 100 degrees but dry can be more comfortable than 80 degrees and humid like you said.

Mike: Absolutely. I mean, sometimes you go outside, it’s 80, 85 degrees and humid as heck, but you just go outside and you’re like, Ugh, just, it feels like it’s 100 out there and it’s not, it’s only 85 degrees. It’s just sticky and all the moisture in the air.

John: And then the advantage too, of having the dehumidifier in your garage in the summer months, maybe you don’t, like you said, you don’t care about the temperature so much, but you want it to be dehumidified. But then in the winter, maybe you care a little bit more about the temperature. You don’t want it to get freezing cold in your garage in the winter. So you could turn on the heat at that point and you can use the ductless system to heat your garage in the winter.

Mike: Absolutely. Yeah. You can use it to heat your garage. I mean, my garage, my own home typically gets really cold and my master bedroom is above it. So sometimes my master bedroom just gets cold. The floor gets cold. So I, yeah, I maybe put the heat on 50, 55 degrees in the garage and it’s actually good too. Like, you come home from a day and maybe you got some snow and slush on your car or some ice on your car and it just kind of melts things off and keeps your car nice and dry. And it also, dries off all the water and everything all on it and just kind of makes it nice. I mean,

John: Right.

Mike: Like who likes a freezing cold garage? Not me.

2. Mitsubishi Ductless Units Have Occupant Sensors

John: Sure. All right. So the second cool thing you didn’t know about ductless is that Mitsubishi has an eye on their indoor units that can see you in the room. Tell me about that.

Mike: Yeah. So actually it’s called the IC sensor. Okay. And it’s on the FS models, it’s on the real high efficiency models and it’s basically, it looks like a, I don’t know if you’ve ever gotten a time where you’ve ever gone to a spot where you have to fill up a little cup with ketchup that you dip your French fries in. It got this little cup like that. It’s probably about one inch around, maybe about an inch high. And it kind of sits on the bottom of the unit and it kind of scans the room and it’s got an infrared sensor that kind of looks around the room. It’s always looking around the room.

John: It sweeps back and forth.

Mike: Sweeps back and forth over the space. It’s looking for hot spots, it’s looking for cold spots. And then it’s actually directing the air towards those spots of where those hot and cold spots are. And then it’s also looking for human beings and seeing where the human beings are in the room or if there’s no human beings in the room.

It’s looking at…Oh wow. There’s 98 degrees. There’s a human being. Okay. It says, okay, there are people in here. Keep the temperature where it needs to be. But if it doesn’t sense somebody in the room for a period of time, it’ll actually set the temperature back on the unit for energy efficiency, to make the unit not work as hard and not run as hard. So it automatically does it just by looking around the room. It’s a super, super smart system.

John: And then when you walk in the room, it can tell that, okay, there’s somebody in the room now. Let’s crank that AC back up or let’s crank that heat back up again.

Mike: I mean, think of these, everything now is energy efficient, energy efficient, how are we going to save energy? How are we going to save energy? Look at lights and motion sensors and things. I mean, I know in my office, in my building now when I come in, my lights turn on when I walk in the room. If I just kind of stay still and I’m not doing anything, the lights will go out and I’ll be like, whoa, okay. So it’s not sensing any motion. It’s not sensing the person. It’s sensing more motion.

John: Right.

Mike: But when you leave and you’re out of the room for seven, eight minutes, all of a sudden the lights go out. Okay, well the lights are out for a reason. Why are they out? Because there’s no person in the room, saving energy, basically the same thing with a heating and cooling system. I mean, you think about the energy that some of these things draw, it’s not super high, but look, any savings is a savings because people don’t realize that your air conditioning system, heating system can be that smart.

John: Yeah. And like you said, there’s plenty of rooms in the home where maybe I just, I walk into, I might be in there for 15 or 20 minutes, like the kitchen or something like that. I’m getting a snack and then I’m out, I’m leaving. And so having that ability for it to sense that I’m walking to the room without having to go over and take the remote control and turn it up and then turn it back down again and remember to do that. It just does it automatically.

Mike: I mean, think of that. How could a regular heating and air conditioning system do that, that has one thermostat in the hallway and it’s serving multiple rooms and different areas? I mean, you’re gaining the comfort through the zoning and not having anyone in there and just forgetting, oh, I forgot to turn it off. Well, you don’t have to forget. It’s just going to do it on its own.

3. Mitsubishi Ductless Systems Have Smart Thermostats

John: All right. Our third cool thing is there’s a smart thermostat that works with the Mitsubishi heat pump systems. Tell me a little bit about the smart thermostat.

Mike: Yeah. So there’s a lot of different ways to actually control your system remotely, but we just found this new system called Flair Puck Pro that is actually, it’s a little round thermostat and it’s wireless. It mounts onto the wall and it works on infrared from the handheld remote control that you can now mount the thermostat on the wall.

And it will also set back and do things very similar to what the IC sensor will do. But it’s just a little tiny Puck Pro. It all works through infrared and it can also be used as an integrated control to integrate that system to your existing boiler or thermostat that might be in that zone of where that might be. So everything’s wireless and it’s just, it almost looks like a hockey puck. It’s almost identically the size of a puck and it’s all wireless.

John: Or like one of those old school thermostats that you might have had in your house with the little round thing.

Mike: Yeah. It’s called the Puck Pro.

John: Yeah.

Mike: It’s actually a pretty neat little thing. I mean, Mitsubishi has their own thing with Kumo Cloud too, but now you’re still using that on your smart device. You’ve still got to go to your smart device. You’ve got to hold it in your hand, bring it up, use that. This is a little bit different and we’re seeing problems sometimes with supply chain issues where we can’t get Kumo Cloud. And we’re looking at other options as to, Hey, what can we use to integrate the air source heat pumps? Well, Flair Puck Pro came up, we did some training on it. I really liked it. It was a nice little tool.

John: And you can connect to it with your phone as well with your smartphone. So you can change the temperature or on your computer you could go and change your temperature while you’re away, say you’re at work and you forgot to change the temperature down. You could do that.

Mike: Theirs has a nice little graph too. It does show the graph of the room and the temperature of the room. It’s got a nice little backend system to it and relatively inexpensive, just a few hundred dollars.

4. Mitsubishi Units Have a Dual Barrier Coating to Protect Internal Components

John: All right. Our fourth thing that you didn’t know is Mitsubishi ductless units have a dual barrier coating on them to help them prevent from getting dirty on the inside and collecting dust. Tell me a little bit about that.

Mike: This is a huge change John in the industry, and this just came about probably about a year ago. Your basic ductless, mini-split, your wall mounted air conditioners that actually mount up onto the wall, when you let those run for five, 10 years, you don’t maintain them probably, they get a lot of dirt in them, a lot of dust in them, there is water in there because there is condensation that drips off that goes outside.

And with water and a dark environment, everything’s closed up. You tend to get some mold in there every now and then if you’re not maintaining it properly, but now they’ve actually put a dual barrier coating on the inside of the coil so no dust and dirt will build up on it. On the blower wheel, which would get extremely dirty, they’ve put a coating on that.

So no dust and dirt will actually stick to it and they’ve put it on the drain pans and the plastic on the housing of the unit. And I mean, it’s just incredible the way that the dirt that comes in through the filters that gets by the filters and everything that’s in the air, doesn’t actually stick to the unit inside. It just stays onto the filters and you can wash it. So you’ve reduced the actual maintenance of that indoor unit with that dual barrier coating to pretty much nothing.

You might have to wash it maybe five, 10 years down the line, but I mean, anyone that was doing it yearly or two years and stuff like that, these dual barrier coating, they’re tremendous at what they’re doing. Think about it — You don’t have all that dirt and grim and stuff inside of the unit. I mean, I’ve taken some of these units apart and they’re just ugh, some of them are just awful, awful, dirty, and gross. I think we did a video with one where we hydro cleaned one and it was just awful. The black dirt and dust that came out of them, the dual barrier coating is going to prevent that from happening. And I believe it’s a patented system that they’ve put into their units. So no other manufacturer has this right now. Very important.

5. Indoor Ductless Units Come in Multiple Colors

John: Okay. All right. And then our final cool thing that you didn’t know about ductless heating and cooling systems is that ductless indoor units can come in different colors. So they’re not just white anymore.

Mike: There’s a lot of different manufacturers in the industry today. I mean, you’re seeing, Mitsubishi’s one of them, they’re kind of the leader. I mean, everyone knows it. I mean, LGs out there now they’ve got their units, pretty much, Lennox, Carrier, everyone makes a ductless air conditioner now. Some of the cool things is Mitsubishi has units that are not just white.

They have black that can match the black TVs, the black appliances in the room. They have a silver that looks like stainless steel that looks really nice in a kitchen. LG has one that actually looks like a mirror. You can kind of see yourself in it when you look at the actual indoor unit. They also have one that’s about 24 inches by 24 inches that looks like a picture. Comes off the wall about five inches. You can actually put your own picture into it and it blows air out the sides.

John: Yeah. It looks like you have a framed photograph on the wall.

Mike: Yep. They have that. I mean, Carrier has a nice white unit, has a nice beautiful digital display built right into the front that shows the temperature in the room. So there’s a lot of, they’re trying to make these units more appealing to the spaces that they’re going into. I mean, there’s also floor mount units now too, floor mount units. They’re typically white. I think you’re going to start seeing them in different colors as times change.

They make kits that they can be recessed into the walls now and just kits and grills that go over the front of them. So there’s a lot of ways they’re making them more appealing to people. And I mean, I’ve seen them wrap. I’ve seen people wrap units, with a wrap like you would wrap a vehicle with, the same color of the wallpaper in a home. So a lot of cool things that are happening with indoor units today.

John: Yeah. And like you said, having those, for instance, the sort of one that looks like stainless steel in a kitchen, so that it matches your appliances. Just kind of trying to make it blend in with the decor.

Mike: I mean, I put a black one in my home office at home. It kind of sits above my black 42 inch TV, kind of said black would look nice in there. I have have black granite countertops in my office. So that kind of the black just kind of really blended in nice. I thought if I put a white unit in there, it’s just not going to look nice. It’s going to look kind of ugly. I said, the black kind of just blends right in, you don’t even realize it’s there.

John: Right. And especially if you had maybe sort of a darker paint on the walls or something like that, it would blend in nicely.

Mike: Black TV, black units, black printer sitting there. Everything’s black. It just, kind of everything blends in.

Contact N.E.T.R., inc to Talk More About Ductless

John: Right. All right. Well, that’s really great information and some fun things to learn about ductless heating and cooling systems. Thanks, Mike.

Mike: Great. Thanks, John.John: And for more information, you can visit the N.E.T.R. website at netrinc.com or call 781-933-NETR. That’s 781-933-6387.