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In this podcast, Dan Zamagni talks about ducted heat pump systems. He outlines the differences between ducted and ductless designs. Then, he explains installation and applications.

New England Ductless · Ducted Heat Pump Systems

John Maher: Hi, I am John Maher. I’m here today with Dan Zamagni, general manager of New England Ductless, specializing in residential and commercial ductless heat pumps and air conditioning in Massachusetts. Today we’re talking about ducted heat pump systems. Welcome Dan.

Dan Zamagni: Hey John. Thanks for having me today. Looking forward to connecting on this topic.

What Is a Ducted Heat Pump?

John: Sure. So Dan, we think of heat pumps as being ductless systems. It’s kind of another name for those, but what is a ducted heat pump system?

Dan: Great question. So a ducted heat pump system can be seen in multiple different ways. Oftentimes, people are finding themselves with legacy duct work throughout their house that may have traditionally heated or cooled or did both.

We’re able to do some cool options with retrofits of existing systems so we can swap out your existing equipment with new or high efficiency equipment and tie into what you have in the home. And it’s just minimally invasive. Doesn’t involve any sort of opening up of walls or any sort of construction related items. It’s simply an equipment swap.

And now you’re going to be utilizing these high efficiency units that basically give you maximum effect with minimal energy usage. So those that have those opportunities for quick swaps, it’s nice and easy and it’s a bit of a no-brainer for them. And then there’s other ways that we can do ducted systems as well.

A lot of the equipment that we’re utilizing has such a vast product line that they’re able to not only do ductless heat pumps, but they’re able to do ducted heat pumps as well. And I think that at the end of the day, you’re really looking at the application and layout of the home to determine what the best solution for each space would be.

I’d say that if you have an open working attic space or an open unfinished basement space that allows you to connect to each room through air distribution and duct work, sometimes it makes the best sense for that. And we also take into consideration the aesthetics of it and what the homeowner’s looking for and what their goals for the project are.

So we take all of that into consideration during our design process to determine if ducted or ductless systems or combination of the two, the best solution for their home. We’re really kind of taken on a case by case basis, but we’re able to do so much and really kind of find the right fit for each job.

Beneficial Applications for Ducted Heat Pump Installations

John: What are some of the typical places in a home that could benefit from a ducted heat pump installation?

Dan: I’d say if you’re a typical two-story home, if you had an attic space that’s feasible for putting equipment into it. You can find yourself being able to do a ducted system that’s minimally invasive, that is set up in a way that you’re able to connect all rooms and all the air distribution and make sure that you’re heating evenly and cooling evenly throughout that space.

Some folks don’t necessarily love the aesthetics of some of the ductless units and they find that they’d rather have themselves with a traditional register or a grill connected in their floors or ceilings or even their walls that give them that airflow to heat and cool their spaces. So it depends on what the home has for a layout and what the homeowner’s looking for as a whole.

Combined Ductless and Ducted Heat Pumps

John: And so you might have a system, like you said, a combination of ducted and ductless. So you might have, say on the first floor of the house, you might have ductless units where they’re on the wall of each one of the rooms on the first floor. But then say on the second floor you might be able to put an air handler in the attic and then use ducts to have these, like you said, little grills in the ceiling of each one of the bedrooms on the second floor. So is that a sort of typical installation?

Dan: Yeah, that’s correct. And it’s great now that you’re able to even use one outdoor unit to handle both of those applications simultaneously, you’re able to have a combination of the two. Because it’s not one size fits all in every home. So you’re able to have a bit of a mix match to make sure you’re capturing the needs for every room in the house, whether that be ducted or ductless solutions.

So it really depends on, again, how the construction of the home is and what’s accessible and how invasive we want this project to be. Which means we try to make sure that we’re having minimal impact on the homeowners and clients’ lives day to day while we’re going through these projects and making these retrofits. So we’re kind of coming in and doing our best to minimize dust and construction and all that and get them the results they’re looking for in a fairly short order.

Thermostat Controls for Ducted Systems

John: With a ducted system, it would be sort of a traditional heating or cooling system where you’d have one thermostat that would control all of those rooms that that ducted system or is handling, is that right? And where would you typically locate that thermostat?

Dan: That thermostat is usually located in a centralized space on an interior wall. We want to make sure we don’t have these located in exterior walls because that thermostat might be seeing or feeling in that location could throw off what it is for actual comfort in the rest of the home.

So we really kind of take that into account. And a lot of times folks already have existing thermostats that may be located in a pretty ideal spot. So it’s again, swapping out one for the other so long as they’ve already had good success with that location. And if not, we kind of listen to their needs and any problems that they might have been dealing with throughout the entirety of their time in the home. And really determining if this is the right location or should we be making adjustments here to make sure that it’s better suited for the space.

Compressors for Ducted Indoor Units

John: Do you need any kind of special outdoor compressor unit in order to run a ducted indoor unit?

Dan: Nope. It’s the same unit itself, it’s just multifunctional in its ability to apply different indoor units to the outdoor unit. So it’s pretty versatile in how it works and the ability to adjust the application as needed.

John: And what’s involved in the installation of a ducted heat pump system? Are there any issues that you encounter or certain types of homes where it works better or not as good?

Dan: For a ducted heat pump system, again, I think you just need the working space. You need enough room to be able to effectively get your installers into a space and be able to appropriately connect the metal and the flex stuff that kind of gets you to the point where you’re hitting all the rooms that you need to hit as far as to be able to for air distribution.

So challenges you run into is construction of homes and being able to navigate what’s behind the walls and what’s above the ceiling, what’s below the floor. So long as you have enough working space, a ducted solution might be the option for you. And if not, then you can absolutely go ductless. So it’s a case by case basis and we really just take it as such where we want to make sure that we’re, again, hearing what the homeowner’s looking for. Looking at the construction of the home and making the best recommendations so that we’re not doing anything outside of what is kind of hoped for in the end goal.

Contact New England Ductless If You’re Interested in Ducted or Ductless Heat Pumps

John: And that’s really great information. Dan, thanks again for speaking with me today.

Dan: Thanks John, I appreciate it. Have a good day. Have a good day.

John: And for more information you can visit the website at newenglandductless.com or call (781) 995-2665.

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