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Integrated Controls for Ductless and Oil-Based Heating Systems

Posted by Mike Cappuccio on Jul 12, 2019 8:00:00 AM

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Make your home as efficient as possible with integrated controls that control the ductless and oil-based heating systems in your home. Mike Cappuccio, owner of N.E.T.R., Inc., discusses the benefits of an integrated control system. Listen or read more to find out about integrated controls.

John Maher: Hi, I'm John Maher. I'm here today with Mike Cappuccio, owner of N.E.T.R., Inc., a heating and cooling company in Massachusetts with a focus on Mitsubishi ductless heating and cooling products. Today we're talking about integrated controls for ductless and oil-based heating systems. Welcome, Mike.

Mike Cappuccio: Good morning John, how are you?

John: Good. So, Mike, if I install a ductless heating system in my home, which already has an oil-based heating system or maybe even a propane system or a gas system, why would I keep my old traditional heating system as well?

Mike:  Great question, John. It seems like we're getting this question every day now. Some factors that are contributing to this are that as we all know, the MassCEC has kinda gone away as of March 20th and MassSave is now involved in the rebate programs now here in Massachusetts. And these integrated controls have become the topic of discussion.

And today, I really want to kind of hone in on that and let you guys know what these are really, what these are for and you know why you would use them.

What Are Integrated Controls for Home Heating Systems?

John: Okay. All right. So, what are integrated controls? Talk about that.

Mike:  An integrated control with Mitsubishi Electric is there's a kumo cloud station that needs to be mounted into your home and it basically has four switches on it. And they're little switches. They're almost, you know, from a homeowner perspective, let's call it a light switch they turn on and off. So, these four switches in this kumo cloud station are turning something on and off at a temperature or a set point or something. But it's saying to turn something on and off. What now, the first question you asked me was why would I want to keep my original heating system?

Well, if you have an oil system in your house or a propane system in your house, those at the warmer temperatures, what I mean by the warmer temperatures is, is above a certain temperature there's a set point and it's an outdoor air temperature. We're finding now with MassCEC, it's about 25 to 30 degrees is where they want you to basically shut anything above 25 to 30 degrees. They want you to shut your existing system off.

John: Your traditional system.

Mike:  Traditional system and heat your home with the air source heat pump. Okay, so that the kumo cloud station is the integrated control that does this.

So example, if you had four zones in your home that were running on circulated pumps and you had four thermostats in your home and you have the oil burner in the basement, we would take those four zones and run the wiring for the zones through the kumo cloud station and at a certain outdoor air temperature would program the outdoor air temperature to say, okay, below 25 to 30, put your oil system on, above that temperature put the air source heat pumps on because it's more efficient to heat at that temperature.

Now, a lot of these older homes, okay, don't have as good of insulation as some of the newer homes. So that's where we're trying to find out this happy medium of this crossover point and when you do put these integrated controls in there's some pretty significant rebates. $1,600 a ton. One ton of air conditioning is equated to 12,000 BTUs. So, when we take a 36,000 BTU condenser, that's considered a three-ton condenser. So, at $1,600 a ton with these new rebates, with these integrated controls, you know, for a system like that, you're looking at a $4,800 rebate with the integrated controls. We also need to add a kumo cloud Wi-Fi adapter into each indoor system or zone that we would put into the home with that. So, what you're basically doing with an integrated controller should turning something on and off at a temperature or a set point, and that's where you're achieving these rebates now. By putting these systems into your home.

Frequency of Switching from Ductless to Oil in a Typical New England Winter

John: How often during a winter would a home typically be switching over to that oil heat at those lower temperatures in order to gain efficiency. And obviously this changes depending on where you live. But here in New England we don't have that many days even during the winter when you're below 25 degrees, a lot of the times in the winter you're in the 30s.

Mike:  I just looked at a chart the other day, John, and it had the Boston heating hours on it and the temperatures, I looked at all, it's basically a heating chart that shows all the hours of that are in a year and it shows the temperature and how many hours, what the temperature was. And we don't have a lot of days below 10 degrees. We have a lot of heating hours that are anywhere above 20 degrees to 50 degrees in the wintertime.

And you've got to remember, that's at nighttime when it gets cold. So, at nighttime is probably pretty much when your oil or propane system is going to be coming back on. And you know, this just doesn't have to be with oil or propane. It can be done with a gas boiler too; a gas boiler is a little more efficient than an oil boil — than an oil boiler. And we're finding with gas the cost of gas is a little bit less than oil and propane obviously ‘cause we do that on the price, you know, gallons and BTUs and CLPs and everything else like that.

So we're finding that with that temperature of around 25 degrees with a not so well insulated home it works very, very efficient at that point — because the other thing, too, is you . . . if you're sleeping in one room at nighttime and the integrated controls are working, I mean you can turn those other zones off if you want to and just sleep in that room and keep one room comfortable and you know, turn the other parts of the house down and gain the efficiency versus sometimes we see a home might only have one zone, has one zone of oil heat in the house, in one thermostat.

You know, we can come in and zone that home and put one unit where you were sleeping at night or working during the day or whatever, and pick up some huge efficiencies in that home. But with the gas, those rebates are not available with the integrated controls. I just want to make that clear.

John: All right, that's great information, Mike. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Mike:  Thanks, John.

John: And for more information, you can visit the NETR website at NETRinc.com or call (781) 933-NETR, that's (781) 933-6387.

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