I recently attended a workshop presented by Douglas County Smart Energy promoting ductless heat pump sales as the latest, greatest solution in home energy savings. Having spent the last 30 years as an energy usage advisor for Pacific Power, Energy Trust of Oregon, Avista and now as a business owner, I can honestly say I was disappointed in the questionable information presented.

While a DHP is energy efficient, it is not designed to replace a central-ducted whole-house system. A DHP is a “zonal space heater” designed to heat or cool a specific but limited size area, much like a pellet stove or a wall-mounted gas space heater. DHP efficiency ratings are similar to high-efficient ducted heat pumps or natural gas furnaces. Sadly, the lead presenter failed to present these comparisons. Furthermore, she clearly demonstrated limited DHS site application knowledge and educational experience with respect to basic space heating applications and best practices. What was presented was a script outlining a series of misnomers highlighting said advantages of DHS installations, but not the disadvantages. That part was left up to the presenter describing DHP as a solution to leaky air ductwork in manufactured and site-built homes. She failed to mention the availability and advantages of certifiable air duct test and sealing as a fix. Nor did she highlight other helpful utility incentives and contributing state tax credit to duct seal.

The workshop’s closing assurance or sales pitch for the attendees centered on a DC Smart Energy Group purchase arrangement with one installation contractor to offer DHS at a “discounted price.” An encouraging discount of $150. As an Energy Usage Advisor, all I can say is DHP is designed for a specific purpose. Energy efficiency is only one aspect. Do your homework and get more than one bid. Make sure it’s the right choice to fit your need.

Steven Campbell

Home Comfort Inspections & Services


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