The one small but powerful tool you should install with your ductless heat pump

3 min read

Ductless heat pumps provide comfortable air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter. They can save energy and money over fossil fuel alternatives. It’s no wonder thousands of Vermonters have already installed them in their homes.

In many cases, you will have supplemental heat to use on the coldest days. You might be wondering what that means. When should you turn on your furnace or boiler? What’s the right balance to save energy and money, and keep your home comfortable?

You can save yourself the worry by installing an integrated control when you install your heat pump. In a single mini-split system, an integrated control gives you a thermostat to control the ductless heat pump and your central heating system. It can automatically switch between the two systems based on your settings. Work with your contractor if you are installing multiple heat pumps to be sure the systems are optimized for the integrated controls.

Give yourself more control over your comfort

Heat pumps are much more efficient than fossil fuel furnaces or boilers throughout a heating season. That efficiency saves you energy and money. And switching from fossil fuels to cleaner electricity is a smart choice for the climate.

It’s best for your wallet and for the climate if you can maximize the efficiency of your heat pump. That’s exactly what an integrated control will do.

Heat pumps work best with minimal interference. Once you find a comfortable temperature, set it, and forget it. The heat pump will operate at peak efficiency to maintain that temperature. Like any heating system, heat pumps do lose some efficiency at the coldest temperatures. When they become less efficient, they’ll use more electricity to produce the same amount of heat. That costs you more. They may eventually stop working if it’s cold enough outside. Most cold climate heat pumps work down to -15°F or lower. This means that while it is possible to heat 100% of your home with heat pumps, it is not always cost-effective. If you have a well-insulated home, a heat pump can meet 80% of your home heating needs. You’ll save a lot of energy and money if you use a heat pump for 80% of your home's heating needs. It is a very cost-effective solution for many homes.

With an integrated control, you’ll pick a comfortable indoor temperature for your home. Your contractor will help identify an outdoor temperature where your backup heat source will turn on and your heat pump will turn off. Then you can sit back and enjoy the comfort – and the savings.

Stop worrying about cold spots

Your ductless heat pump should be centrally located in your home. That will allow it to heat as much of your home as possible. Rooms that are far away from the heat pump may feel colder. The heat pump doesn’t use ducts or radiators, so you may need to occasionally use your backup furnace or boiler to warm up those rooms. Integrated controls can help again.

Your contractor can install a remote sensor in a potentially cold room. The remote sensor can connect to the integrated control. When outdoor temperatures go below a certain point or the room reaches a temperature you’ve set, it will trigger your backup heat source. Your heat pump will remain the primary heat for the whole house. And your farthest rooms will stay comfortable all winter long.

Connect the dots for comfort and savings

With an integrated control, your single thermostat won’t just connect your two heating systems. It will also connect to your phone. A connected thermostat gives you access to your heating system even when you’re not at home. Go on vacation and forget to turn down the heat? Or worried about coming home to a cold house? A connected thermostat helps you manage your home’s comfort from anywhere.

Is an integrated control right for you?

If you’re ready to install a heat pump, consider installing an integrated control at the same time. It can help improve your home’s comfort and save money. Integrated controls will provide the most bang for your buck if:

  • You’re installing a new heat pump in your home.
  • You currently heat with oil or propane.
  • You want to maximize the efficiency of your heating system, even on the coldest days.
  • You want to use your heat pump as much as possible as your primary heat source.
  • Your heat pump is located far away from some rooms in your house that are currently heated by your central heat source.

If that sounds like your home, you can get started by reaching out to a qualified contractor. Your contractor will install the controller and help you claim the rebate from Efficiency Vermont.