You’re considering a ductless heat pump for your heating and cooling needs. Great! You’re about to enjoy unparalleled comfort and lower energy bills than ever before. But if you live in a cold climate, there are a few installation tips to keep in mind, regardless of whether you’re having a ductless unit installed in the spring, summer, or fall.
Avoid These Potential Issues When Installing a Ductless System In a Cold Climate
Don’t install the outdoor condenser near walkways, sidewalks, steps, or patios.
Melting ice from the defrost cycle, called meltwater, can re-freeze on the ground, posing a serious slip and fall hazard. Instead, make sure the condenser is well away from areas where people will be walking or ensure that drainage is adequate and will sufficiently divert meltwater away from any walkways, steps, or porches.
Pay attention to where the outdoor condenser will be creating noise.
The defrost cycle and other operations requiring full power are needed more frequently in colder areas and cause ductless HVAC systems to run at greater decibel levels than they otherwise would. Be conscious of this when you select the placement for your outdoor condenser, whether it’s going to be making noise close to your own house or a neighbor’s.
Outdoor condensers should not be installed on sides of the property facing the wind.
If the outdoor condenser unit is facing the direction of the wind, this may cause the fan to counter-rotate. This can result in the motor fan failure, an overload of the fan circuit board, or in the worst case scenario, both issues may happen at once. Place your outdoor ductless unit where it will be shielded from the wind by another structure, or have one built around it.
Elevate the outdoor condenser above the maximum amount of snowfall you expect to have annually.
Outdoor condenser units require constant air flow without restrictions. This includes foliage, structures, and in cold climates, snow. Install the outside unit using a concrete platform or with wall brackets so it’s elevated above the average amount of snowfall each year in your area. If you get more snowfall one season and your unit is covered, shovel it out as quickly as possible to prevent damage to your HVAC system.
Ensure the outdoor condenser stays level under any conditions.
Your outdoor condenser needs to be completely level on all sides and stay that way for the duration of its entire life. This is necessary to ensure that the defrost function works the way it should and to prevent ice buildup. If the unit is not level in a cold climate, more ice can build up on the condenser, taxing the system and making it work harder than it needs to. This shortens the lifespan of your system and may make repairs or replacement necessary sooner.
Properly insulate refrigerant lines and access penetrations.
When installing a ductless system in a cold climate, it’s important to make sure that there’s enough insulation to cover the refrigerant lines, flare nuts, etc. This prevents fluids or ice from forming beneath the flare nut and causing fissures in the unit’s foundation. In addition to retaining heat, adequate insulation enhances the efficiency of your system.
You should also pay attention to unsealed entry points or holes in the wall, which in cold weather will lead to poor system performance. Your energy bills will be higher and you’ll be less comfortable in your home, especially on very cold or windy days. Check the seals annually before extreme cold weather hits and reseal any access points or lines with degraded or missing insulation.
How a Professional Ductless HVAC Contractor Ensures Flawless Installation
A professional ductless HVAC contractor understands the unique properties of the climate they work in and how it impacts the installation of their equipment. At N.E.T.R., we’ve been working in Boston, Massachusetts and surrounding metropolitan areas since 1989. We’ve installed thousands of cold climate ductless systems that work perfectly during both the hottest New England summers and frigid subzero temperatures.
To learn more about ductless HVAC installation or to schedule a home visit to get a quote, contact our office by dialing (781) 933-6387.