Wednesday, 25 June 2014

What Is a Ductless Split?

More and more homeowners and businesses are using Ductless Splits for cooling. They are very common in Europe and many Canadians are not familiar with them.

A Ductless Split consists of a wall-mounted unit in your home. It’s usually mounted near the ceiling on the second floor. You also have an outdoor condenser, which can be mounted on the exterior of the building or on the ground outside. Refrigerant lines connect the two units together.

As the name implies, no ducting is required. In most homes, central air conditioning uses the furnace fan and duct system to distribute cool air. This type of system works well for heating, but is not ideal for cooling. Hot air registers are normally in the floor, because hot air rises. In the summer, cool air also has to be delivered from the floor, which is not ideal, because cool air falls.

In a two-storey home with central air, it is always difficult to keep the upper floor cool. A Ductless Split solves this problem, because the cool air is delivered at the ceiling level.

Buildings that use hot water heating through radiators or in-floor heating have no ductwork to use for central air. This is another ideal application for a Ductless Split.

Ductless Splits vs. Window Air Conditioners

Ductless Splits have many advantages over window air conditioners. They don’t block off part of your window. They don’t pose any security risk. They are quieter than a window unit. Finally, they don’t have to be stored away for the winter.

Heat Pumps

A Ductless Split can also be ordered as a heat pump, where the unit can both heat and cool. It works like an air conditioner on a warm day. The pump extracts heat from inside the home and transfer it outdoors. Conversely, on cold days the pump will flow heat energy into the home from the outside.

Unlike water, which has a boiling point of 100°C, the liquid refrigerant in a heat pump has a much lower boiling point, even lower than the cold outdoor air. This is why in heating mode, the refrigerant can still evaporate in the outdoor coil at low temperatures and draw heat from surrounding air, making the seemingly impossible heating with cold air possible. The now-heated gas refrigerant flows into the indoor coil and extracts the heat into the indoor air. Despite frigid temperatures the air will contain enough energy to heat the home, even at -30°C.

Heat Pumps are an ideal solution for a cottage. They can also compliment an existing wood, oil, propane or electric furnace. Heat Pumps are far more energy efficient than any of these heat sources and will lower your heating bills in the winter.

Multi-Head Units

It is also possible to put wall-mounted units in several rooms. They all share the same outdoor condenser. This makes is possible to have different temperatures in different rooms. You can turn off the heating or cooling in a guest room if nobody is visiting, or you can keep an exercise room at a cooler temperature.

Mitsubishi Electric

The Hayter Group is a dealer for industry leading products from Mitsubishi Electric. We service and install Mr. Slim Heat Pumps and Ductless Air Conditioning. We also offer the Zuba Central system, which replaces traditional means of heating and cooling with one quiet, compact, highly efficient, ducted system that can save space and reduce annual energy costs.

Chad Hayter

Friday, 6 June 2014

Is Geothermal a Viable Option for Anybody?

I often hear from people that geothermal heating and cooling is not a practical choice for many people. Reasons cited are cost of installation and the misunderstanding that a large rural lot is required.


Geothermal Explained:

Geothermal is a combination of two words. Geo means ‘of the earth’ and thermal is to ‘heat’. The earth is a giant insulator. The ground temperature as little as five feet down remains almost constant all year round.

The heat store under the ground can be transferred to a building through a series of pipes called loops. The underground or underwater loops remove the heat from the ground and pump it into the building.

For cooling, the system is reversed. Heat is extracted from the building and pumped back to the earth.


Is Geothermal Difficult to Install?

The short answer is no. Depending on the space available, the installation of geothermal loops can be done in several different ways.

A vertical loop requires a deeper excavation than a horizontal loop, but it does not require a large rural lot. Loops can also run into a nearby pond or lake. Toronto has 130 buildings that draw their cooling energy from Lake Ontario.

Vertical installations are completed with powerful machines that drill down into the earth to find the warm spot, usually 100 - 200 feet down. Horizontal loops require excavation of long trenches.

What about the Cost?

On average, a geothermal system will cost 2 to 2.5 times the cost of an equivalent quality conventional heating and cooling system.

The geothermal system handles both heating and cooling. The system can also provide a good part of your hot water needs.

Homeowners that are building new or renovating will typically see 12 – 21% ROI on the premium paid for the geothermal system. The payback for a geothermal system can be as little as 3.5 years.

It’s not just for new construction. Older homes are not as well insulated and are not sealed off like a new home. A geothermal system can cut utility bills by up to 70%.


Fluctuating Energy Costs

The costs of oil, hydro, propane and natural gas have fluctuated in recent years. We all know about oil and hydro prices. Propane has recently become very expensive and low natural gas prices will not last forever.

Geothermal costs have remained stable since 2006 and are lower than $875 annually for most homes.

Geothermal delivers more bang for your buck. You get more heat per kilowatt of electricity used to run a geothermal system than any other fuel. You also produce additional energy, which can be used to heat hot water or warm swimming pools.

Home Resale Value

If you have two homes that are equal, except for their utility system. One house with a traditional gas furnace and hot water tank has a resale value of $300,000 in the current market. The one with geothermal should be worth 18 per cent more, with a resale value of $350,000.

The reason for the significant difference in value is twofold. First, geothermal systems are more energy-efficient. Second, replacement value is a factor with geothermal systems. They typically outlast conventional heating systems. The ground loop, which is a large part of the system’s cost, never needs to be replaced.


What is the Track Record for Geothermal?

Geothermal was first used to heat Canadian homes in the 1940’s. Since then, there have been many improvements in technology. Geothermal is now widely used in both businesses and homes. A number of well-known buildings such as Rideau Hall in Ottawa, the Pan-Am Aquatic structure in Toronto and The Forks Market in Winnipeg use geothermal. Even Buckingham Palace has a geothermal heating system.

Geothermal is a proven, reliable and green solution to your home comfort needs. For more information on geothermal heating and cooling, please visit our website.

Chad Hayter