Resistance Heat vs. Heat Pump

It is a common misconception that any electric heat is inefficient…This is definitely NOT the case when utilizing a heat pump in your home or business. This post aims to spread a basic understanding of the differences between resistance heat and heat pumps.

One of the most frequent questions we are asked during the sales consultation process is if Mitsubishi systems are powered only with electricity (which they are) and how are they able to be so efficient if typically electric heat is thought to be so inefficient. Really this all starts because people tend to think of electric heat as the baseboard heaters installed at floor level that are often found in seasonal New England beach homes and cottages. These heaters are “resistance heaters” and they produce resistance baseboard heat and yes they actually are very inefficient. We have head stories where a baseboard heater has been left running and the homeowner ends up paying exorbitant heating bills. We find that because of the inefficiencies related to electric baseboard heating, people also expect that anything involving electricity for heating will in turn be just as inefficient. What people don’t realize is that a heat pump does not work at all in the same way as these inefficient baseboard resistance heaters.

Baseboards Create Heat, Heat Pumps Move Heat

With baseboard heat you are using amperage and resistance in the wire within the baseboard to generate heat out of thin air. All that amperage is very expensive and will make an electric meter spin round and round leading to high electric bills. The difference with a Mitsubishi system or any heat pump is that heat isn’t “created” as much as it is “moved” from outside to inside. It is a little bit difficult to understand, bit there is still heat in the air even when it is 0 degrees Fahrenheit outside. A heat pump uses refrigerant to steal this heat and move it through the refrigerant line indoors. So the main difference is that a baseboard heater using electric resistance creates heat, while a Mitsubishi heat pump moves heat. It is much more efficient to move heat than it is to create it from nothing.

We hope this helps to clear it up for everyone why Mitsubishi heat pumps and heat pumps in general are able to be so much more efficient than a standard resistance baseboard heater. Have more questions? Contact us today for a free consultation.

 

Last Fall, we launched the first annual Naughty or Nice Giveaway, helping one lucky homeowner walk away with a fully installed, single-zone Mitsubishi Electric Ductless heating & cooling system, valued at approximately $4,500! These heating and cooling systems are extremely efficient, customizable, and have a ductless split design – This allows us to install them in practically any home and creates individual climate zones for various rooms.

During the giveaway, we asked contestants to tell us why they (or someone they knew) deserved the gift of total home comfort. We had so many wonderful entries, but the winner was a deserving couple that recently moved into a new home due to the husband’s medical condition. Being the main caregiver, the wife needed assistance every summer with installing and uninstalling clumsy window air conditioners.  Her husband’s condition also demanded dedicated climate control for his areas of the home.  The couple had friends who raved about their Mitsubishi Electric Ductless system, which led to their contest entry. Our ductless system solved both of this home’s challenges, removing the need for window units, and giving the husband dedicated heat/cool set points in the required areas of the home. We truly enjoyed installing this system and helping these great people to experience the gift of total home comfort, while reducing the wife’s stresses as a caregiver.

After my comfort consultation, I determined that a conventional air conditioning system with bulky ducts would not work in the home, which made it a perfect candidate for ductless heating and cooling.  The customer was debating whether to install the free ductless system in her upstairs master bedroom or downstairs to cool the main level, which was a challenging decision to make, and would leave a portion of the home still reliant on a window air conditioner.  It seemed like we had settled on cooling the first floor with their free system, until we started talking about upgrading to a second indoor unit – This would allow for cooling in her upstairs bedroom, so she wouldn’t have to worry about installing the window unit every summer.

I suggested utilizing a ceiling cassette unit in the upstairs hallway, central to both bedrooms and the bathroom.  Ceiling cassettes offer a 4-way diffuser that allows air to flow in all directions, forcing it into each of the small adjacent rooms. The home has an open-concept first floor, which we conditioned with a single wall-mounted indoor air handler. Both indoor units are connected back to one outdoor condenser, which is also a low temperature Hyper-Heat system.  Hyper-heat systems are considered a reliable heat source in the winter, no matter how cold it gets. We also consider it to create redundancy for heating the home, like a backup system if anything were ever to happen to their boiler during the winter months. The clients are extremely happy with the results and very appreciative of our generosity.

“Dear East Coast Heating & Cooling,

My husband and I can’t thank you enough for your generosity and professionalism. We feel fortunate and grateful to have this wonderful heating/cooling unit now in our home. It will make for some pleasant sleeping and everyday living for sure.

Your installers, Walter and Mihai, were so easy and pleasant to work with and Justin was very helpful in the planning stages. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts.”

If you’re interested in learning about how a Mitsubishi Electric Ductless system can effectively and efficiently cool and heat your home, please give me a call at 603.430.9414. I’d be happy to discuss all of the great cooling and heating solutions these units have to offer for New England residents!

Justin McMaster
East Coast HVAC
Mitsubishi Electric Comfort Specialist

Seacoast NH Ductless Heating and Cooling

Are ductless mini-splits good for heating as well as cooling?

At a recent meeting with a developer and his General Contractor, I was faced with a situation where I proposed the use of Mitsubishi Electric’s heating and cooling systems as a solution for renovation of a historic Seacoast NH building consisting of six apartments.  Conventional systems would be difficult to nearly impossible in two of the apartments (due to bulky ductwork with nowhere to put it) so I proposed a mixture of floor mounted and high wall ductless units to heat and cool the various rooms.  I was met with some resistance to the aesthetics of ductless units by the developer/owner, further strengthened by the GC’s astute observation and experience that “mini-splits are good for cooling but suck for heating.”  If you ever want to get me going on a conversation about HVAC, just utter those words and prepare to be schooled!

There are common misconceptions about mini-splits. Originally pioneered by the Japanese in the 1970s, mini-split systems were utilized primarily for “spot cooling” and some light-duty heating capabilities throughout Asia, and eventually throughout Europe and the Caribbean.  These systems were (and still are) often installed by untrained “professionals” who slung refrigerant lines between the indoor and outdoor portions, illegally purged out the refrigerant, and powered the systems up.  While “mini-splits” continue to be installed by untrained hacks across the globe, the professional ductless field has blossomed from a very specific use for limited spot cooling (at one point capping out at 12,000BTUs or 1-Ton of capacity), into a fully customizable and robust solution for homes, offices, and basically any other multi-residential or commercial application that exists.  It is time for consumers and builders to let go of the “mini-split” mindset, and to accept ductless (and ducted) inverter technology as a valid, efficient, viable, and quiet method to heat and cool the Northeast, and all of the US.

Mitsubishi Ductless Mini-Split Solutions

We promote and install Mitsubishi Electric systems, but there are several manufacturers out there making a similar product. Let’s take a look at a no-name mini-split vs a Mitsubishi Electric solution, to see why developers, GCs, and homeowners need to be educated on how multifaceted these systems have become…

“MINI-SPLITS” MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC DUCTLESS AND DUCTED SOLUTIONS
Cooling-only, or efficient heating to around 30F outdoor temp Efficient cooling and heating down to -13F outdoor temps (and below)
One room/area on a single outdoor unit Up to eight areas with their own zones on a single outdoor unit
Wall mounted units only Wall, floor, ceiling, ducted, constantly evolving
Installed by hacks or DIY Installed by licensed, trained, and certified professionals
Warranty? Hah! 12YR parts warranty when installed by Diamond Contractor
Remote Controller Basic controller, wall mounted thermostats, Wi-Fi options
Aesthetically unpleasing both indoors and out Clean installations that blend in and “disappear” in homes

As we tend to be in many tech-based arenas, the US lags behind Europe and Asia in HVAC advancements, adapting slowly to the ever-improving tech that surrounds my industry.  The American market for VRF in commercial buildings is around 3%, where much of Europe, China, and Japan it represents north of 70% in commercial applications.  VRF is the “big-brother” of residential ductless solutions, utilizing much of the same exact method and technology, just on a larger scale.  My point here is that the problem with utilizing ductless and inverter heat pump systems here in the Seacoast is not whether or not they will work, it is whether or not the homeowner, building owner, or GC has been educated on how effective and efficient these systems have become.

In the Seacoast NH, we have installed the following Mitsubishi Hyper-Heat systems:

  • Hundreds of single-family retrofit Mitsubishi Electric Hyper Heat systems being used as PRIMARY heat in homes with no backup or electric heat.
  • Dozens of single-family new construction homes with Mitsubishi Hyper Heat Electric systems for heat/cool.
  • 16 Apartment Mill Renovation in Somersworth with Mitsubishi Hyper Heat Electric systems for heat/cool.
  • 96 Apartment Construction in Exeter with Mitsubishi Electric Hyper Heat systems for heat/cool.
  • 55 Apartment Mill Renovation in Dover with Mitsubishi Electric Hyper Heat systems for heat/cool.
  • 16 Apartments in Portsmouth with Mitsubishi Electric Hyper Heat systems for heat/cool.

New Hampshire HVAC ductless heating from Mitsubishi

This past winter, the Seacoast saw temperatures dip as low as they have in years, and they stayed there for extended periods of time (let’s not forget the snow storms that were part of that mix).  During those stretches, we did not have a single Mitsubishi Electric Hyper-Heat system “crap out” or run out of capacity.  Though the nay-sayers claim they “suck for heating,” our systems were designed properly and all performed above expectation.  Already being a believer in this technology, these stretches of extreme weather only further cemented in my mind that we will continue marketing, educating, and proposing the use of these systems in the Northeast, positioning East Coast Heating & AC as the go-to HVAC contractor for all things Mitsubishi.  I will continue to educate and train our staff as the ductless market develops, so we can remain on top of the latest methods, technology, and certifications available to contractors.

If you see me out and about and have an hour to kill (and a tolerance for listening to me vent), mention how “mini-splits” just aren’t a REAL heat/cool solution, and we can chat for a while.

Pete Robitaille
East Coast HVAC
President

Seacoast NH Ductless Heating and Cooling

Our NH mini-split customers are frequently surprised at how quietly their newly installed ductless systems operate!

One of our favorite moments in a ductless system install is when the homeowner finally gets to hear and feel the system operate!  Most homeowners are blown away by how quietly the systems operate, both from an indoor AND an outdoor perspective.  I believe customers are generally surprised by how quiet these systems are because conventional air conditioning systems and window air conditioners are not quiet at all, and they set the expectation that ductless will be just as loud, which is not at all the case!  Let’s give a couple examples below…

Conventional Air Conditioning Outdoor Unit: 75dB
Comparative dB Level: Vacuum Cleaner

Window Unit Air Conditioning: 60dB
Comparative dB Level: Conversation in a Restaurant

Mitsubishi Electric Units: Between 19dB – 50dB
Comparative dB Level: Between a Whisper and a Conversation At Home

NH mini-split install company

You may have noticed that I listed a range of operation with the Mitsubishi unit, which is different than the single sound level given on the conventional and window unit options.  The upper range of the Mitsubishi sound production represents times when the system is operating at full capacity and the highest fan speeds.  This could be misleading, because once temperature is established in the home, the system generally runs at only a fraction of its total capacity, idling along at a low or medium fan speed and producing around 20-30dB.  The variable speed fans that ramp up and down in a ductless solution create the most comfortable air conditioned environment, and run far more efficiently than the typical on/off fan method with window units or conventional air conditioners.

Outside, the units are so quiet that we never have concerns about installing them around master bedrooms or within earshot of patios and decks, which has always been a concern and precaution used with conventional A/C condensers.  Many times, the homeowner wonders if the Mitsubishi electric outdoor unit is even doing anything!

If you ever want to hear (or not hear) these systems operate, feel free to stop by our office in Newington New Hampshire, which is completely heated and cooled by a variety of ductless solutions.

Pete Robitaille
East Coast HVAC
President