Types of Ductless Heating and Air Conditioning Units

Homeowners have multiple options when it comes to choosing a ductless heating and air conditioning unit. Mike Cappuccio, owner of N.E.T.R., Inc., talks about the benefits of zoned heating and different indoor unit mounts. Listen or read more to learn about the types of ductless heating and air conditioning units.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher, I’m here today with Michael 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 the types of ductless heating and AC units. Welcome Mike.

Mike Cappuccio: Good morning, John. How are you?

John: Good. So, Mike, what types of ductless heating and AC units are available?

Mike:  There’s a lot of different things today, John. You know, technology’s changing fast every day, and every time we turn around we’re seeing a new product coming from Mitsubishi Electric to us. And you know, last year we saw that they introduced the MLZ, which was the ceiling recessed unit that would fit between the bar joists on a regular home of 14 and a half inches on center, that we can now just cut a hole in the ceiling of someone’s home and you know, put it up into there. There’s got to be some space above it in the attic or you know, some space to at least get to the wiring and do what we need to do for that particular unit.

Ceiling Units Save Space, and Color Options Match Decor

John: So that would allow you to put in a ductless heating and AC unit in the ceiling instead of having one of these wall mounts units that are sort of typical?

Mike:  Yes, I mean it was always . . . you know, people who were always saying the objection of, “I don’t want that on my wall.” Well, now we have some different alternatives. It’s as big as a wall mount unit. It’s a pretty good size unit that, you know, would go up into the ceiling, but it’s flush mounted and it’s a one-way blow. It’s not the four-way, doesn’t have the four-way blow. So, we had the ceiling cassette too, which is the two by two. It’s two feet by two feet, and it’s a square box that you can go up into the ceiling. But that has four disbursements for air. This one only has one.

So, we have to look at how we’re going to place that in the room, where we’re going to put that. You know, and again they still have the traditional wall mount units, but the wall mount units have really changed too because we have a lot of different wall mount units now. You know, we have the standard, GL series, which has been around for a long time. You know, that’s your standard wall mount unit. And then they have what’s called the designer series, wall mount units, where those are the EF units. And those units come in white, black, and a silver. So, I mean we have some additional options of colors in those. They’re a little bit square, they come with different remote controls. So those are a little bit more high-end. The silver unit, while we would use a silver unit kitchen, stainless steel appliances. Black, think of the biggest black box we hang on a wall today is a television set.

John: That’s true, so we match that.

Mike:  Yes, I mean, people are always like, “I don’t want that unit on my wall.” But you know, I always say to them, what’s the biggest thing we hang on the wall today in our homes? And you know, the bigger the better. You know, it sounds like okay, but when you turn it off —

John: People are used to things being on the wall now.

Mike:  Yes, I mean, it’s a big black box when you turn the TV off. I mean, in our own training room, I know we have a 90-inch television screen there and it’s a big black box on the wall. So, I mean, I have a little 30-inch black box on the wall. It’s nowhere near as big. So, we try to keep those in the living room, sometimes in theater rooms. And then there’s a traditional white as well, and you know there are for the ducted options now there’s many options on the ducted side. The MVZ has been around for a while now. That’s our high static air handle that we can put duct work on. So, they’re not just ductless anymore. There is ducted and ductless because we’re moving a lot more now in the past five years, we’re moving into whole home solutions where we’re not just doing one wall mount unit, or two wall mount units in here. You know, we’re doing whole homes now with heating and cooling, because you can heat with this product as well with the air source heat pumps.

So, there’s the SEZ which isn’t as big of an air handler. It’s more designed for maybe one room, one or two small bedrooms, things like that. And the SVZ is coming out now that’s a little bit of a smaller high static air handler as well. And then there’s the floor mount unit. The floor mount unit has changed in the past couple of years now too. So, the floor mount unit replaces a lot of the radiators in homes. You know, where you might’ve had a radiator there we can put a floor mount unit there. So, you know, there’s a variety of different options and controls now of the way we can put our systems together. It’s not just your typical, you know, ductless unit today anymore. Those days have gone.

Single Zone vs. Multi-Zone Ductless Units

John: Right, and talk about single zone systems versus multi zone systems. You know, how big can those get in terms of how many zones it can handle?

Mike:  Yes, I mean while a single zone can only handle one zone, and I mean those start as small as 6,000 BTUs and they go up as high as 36,000 BTUs. And when the BTUs change, the outdoor units get bigger, the indoor units get bigger, you know, from anywhere from six to say let’s say 18,000 . . . 15- to 18,000. They pretty much stay the same size on the indoor unit that condenses, variations get a little bit bigger. But when we go into the 24,000, the 30,000, and the 36,000 BTU systems, the wall mount units do get a little bit larger. They get into like that 40 to 43-inch length wise. And you know, they do get bigger. The outdoor condenser gets bigger. So, I mean, even on the singles there’s a lot of different varieties too though. I mean we have the hyper heat system that is a single zone unit, that provides full heat at the low, low, temperatures for any air source hear pump.

Those indoor units a little bit different on the FH series too as well. So, you know, some of these indoor units have IC sensors on them, and dual fans in them, and different veins on them. There’s a variety of different indoor units that we have now.

John: And once again just mention the BTUs and like what your options are in terms of how, you know, how many BTUs you can get to cool your home.

Mike:  Yes, I mean, like I said, if you’re doing a big open area, that’s a lot of times where we’d go in with maybe one 36,000 BTU unit and do a whole first floor of a home, or a 24,000 BTU unit. You’re not gonna put a 24,000 BTU unit, something that big, of that capacity. I mean that’s more for like an 800 square foot area. You’re not going to put that in a 10 by 10 bedroom. It’s just going to freeze you out of the room and the humidity levels would be through the roof, because you’d never be removing any moisture from the room either. So, you know, the 6,000 is more of like the bedroom type unit, but I’m going to tell you, we don’t see as much single zone activity is that we saw 10 years ago. Today we’re seeing 9 out of 10 systems that we install are mostly multi zone. We don’t see a lot of single zone. The single zone is, again it’s the addition. It’s the sunroom, it’s the hot spot, the cold spot. It’s everything going out the door now today is multi zone. It’s a lot, a lot, of whole home solutions that we’re doing now.

Ductless to Supplement Traditional HVAC Systems

John: Yes, people are really looking to replace, or supplement, their old traditional heating and cooling system, and have this ductless system in this place.

Mike:  Yes, when we look at the United States today, about 8% of the United States is using ductless products over here. Well — or inverter driven air source heat pumps I guess is what I’d probably call them. But you know, you go overseas, you look at . . . I’ve looked at maps and you know, market share and Europe and Japan, and this is the only way they heat and cool their homes. You know, they don’t use gas, and oil, and propane, and boilers, and things like that. So, it’s really catching on over here.

When even, you know, when we look at the new homes and the homes that net zero homes, and you know that are very well-insulated, very, very, tight homes. A lot of these Mitsubishi products are being installed in these new homes today, and they’re being used for full source of heat. If a home is insulated properly, this is a super-efficient way to heat. I mean, I just did a job on a 2,000 square foot home where we put a 12,000 BTU single zone unit in it, in a home. And I said to the engineer, I said, “You know, you sure this is gonna work?” “Yes, it’s going to work.” He said it was a 6,000 BTU heat load in the home and they use the air share fans to move the air around in the home, and it’s working today.

John: Because that home is so tight.

Mike:  So tight.

John: It’s all they needed.

Mike:  Yes, it’s so tight. When those homes are tight like that you’ve got to bring some fresh air into those homes. You’ve got to get fresh air introduced into the home with the Mitsubishi Electric System, because the homes are so tight you’ll have mold and the windows will be sweating. You won’t be able to breathe. So, you have to put like an ERV in there with some duct work, and bring in some fresh air because you really can’t bring the fresh air into the wall mount unit. If you had a ducted unit you can introduce the fresh air in through the ducted system that way. But not with the typical wall mount unit. You can’t bring the fresh air in with it. You’d have to have a separate fresh air system.

John: All right, that’s important to remember. All right, thanks, Mike. I appreciate you speaking with me today.

Mike:  Thanks, John.

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

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