The styles of houses on Cape Cod are as varied as anywhere in New England. Whether antique or modern — or of the styles that have popped up over years in-between — many of the seasonal and year-round residences on the Cape were constructed in a way that was not always convenient for the later installation of central air conditioning. The most common problem has always been: how to place those needed air ducts in a house that has no room for them?
At Robies, we have encountered such challenges hundreds, if not thousands, of times over our 60-plus years, and one would be surprised to learn how often we can make central A/C work in an older or unusual home. But for some houses — often those built for part-time, seasonal use — the effort and costs required to create an efficient, even-temperature central air conditioning system can be difficult.
Today we’d like to discuss a technology for cooling and heating homes that is ideal for many Cape Cod houses. Not only does it air condition a home quietly and efficiently in the summer, but it can also supply heat in the shoulder seasons and winter as well!
The formal name for this technology is a “ductless mini-split heat pump system.” But often you will hear them referred to as “mini-splits,” or “ductless heat pumps” or simply as “ductless A/C.” These systems have been around for a long time. They have been popular in European and Asian countries long before they made it to the US.
There are several manufacturers of these units. Robies made the decision years ago to primarily install ductless systems from Mitsubishi Electric. They are extremely well designed and engineered, have a record of reliable operation in our New England weather conditions, and the price is right. As an added bonus: many of their highly efficient systems are eligible for great rebates from Mass Save.
If you are not familiar with ductless, here’s how it looks and works:
What you would see in your house (whether it be in one room or several rooms) is an indoor unit located on the wall or ceiling. This unit draws in the warm air from the room, removes the heat and moisture from that air, then blows cool air back into the room. What happens to the heat and moisture? It travels through small copper pipes to an outside unit, known as the compressor, which “dumps it” into the outdoors. As simple as that.
Today’s Mitsubishi ductless systems are very quiet — a big change from other brands and older models — and are very energy efficient. If you have been cooling your house with those ugly window room air conditioners, your electric bill is going to see a big drop!
You can maintain precise temperature in each of the rooms where you place one of these units. It’s a big benefit for comfort during the day and, especially, for sleeping at night. And yes, often a single unit can often serve a larger area or even multiple rooms.
At Robies, we have customers who use their Mitsubishi Electric unit (or units) to cool an entire small house or cottage. On the other hand, we have homeowners who don’t wish for every room in the house to be air conditioned but want cooling for specific areas. And we have quite a few customers with homes that already have traditional central air conditioning systems…they’ll ask us to “add” a Mitsubishi ductless unit to handle a finished attic or loft, a seasonal sunroom, a workshop, a garage or outbuilding.
As a matter of fact, many of the newer energy efficient homes built on the Cape today are being heated and cooling exclusively with this Mitsubishi ductless split technology.
Now, here’s something else: Mitsubishi Electric ductless systems are not limited to cooling. Almost all of the models we install also function as heat pumps. In addition to cooling in the summer, they use a similar heat-transfer process to warm the inside air during the shoulder seasons and winter. Like the air conditioning-only units, these systems require minimal time and mess during installation and provide a terrific option for homes without space for ductwork, or for specific locations within a home.
We are particularly fond of Mitsubishi heat pumps as they are less expensive (and far safer) than many other ways to heat portions of your house. Think of the high operating cost of electric baseboards or the cost/safety concerns that come with using space heaters. You should never have to worry about your family’s safety.
Here are other reasons why many of our customers tell us a ductless system is right for them:
- There are some families whose individual members cannot agree on the ideal inside temperature. Sound familiar? In a conventional air conditioning or heating system, there’s a limit as to how many “temperature zones” can be installed in a home. But with Mitsubishi ductless, we can install multiple indoor units — each with its own individual remote control.
- A new addition might be under construction, leading to a worry that it will be difficult to tie in the existing HVAC system to that space — or to keep the comfort levels balanced within the new area. A single ductless heat pump unit could do the job!
- You don’t know who installed your home comfort systems years ago, but you know they didn’t do it correctly. Likely, rooms are consistently uncomfortable. A Robies-installed ductless mini-split heat pump, properly balanced by our factory-trained experts, will smooth it all out, resulting in a huge savings over replacing the entire system.
- You’re doing all you can to protect our resources and environment: you drive an energy-efficient car and you take care to recycle food and beverage containers at your town’s transfer station. When it’s time to upgrade your home’s cooling or heating system, why not think green with an Energy Star-qualified Mitsubishi ductless system?
- Indoor air quality is a big concern for your family. Mitsubishi Electric ductless systems have advanced multi-stage filtration which capture and remove contaminants that trigger allergy and asthma symptoms, spread illness and impact air quality. If a member of your family has allergies, these systems will help alleviate their discomfort.
We could go on, but you get the idea. If you’re still wondering if a ductless mini-split heat pump is right for you and your family or business, we recommend contacting a Robies comfort specialist who will assess your home or office. We look forward to creating the comfortable space you deserve!