Where central heating ducts aren’t installed, ductless heating or a portable heater are two viable solutions. In many cases, extending ducts to a new add-on or remodel in an existing home is financially prohibitive or just not worth the disruption of opening up walls and ceilings.  Choosing between ductless heating or a portable heater involves drawing clear distinctions between the pros and cons of each.

Portable Heater Pros

  • Low upfront purchase price.
  • Transferable to different rooms as occupants move.
  • Eliminates cold spots without overheating the entire house.
  • Often the lowest operating costs to heat just one room.

Portable Heater Cons

  • Fire hazard and dangerous combustion gases from gas-fired space heaters.
  • Burn and fire hazard from heating elements in electric heaters.
  • Requirement for venting of gas-fired space heaters.
  • Unvented gas- or kerosene-fired space heaters should not be used indoors.

How does a ductless mini-split heat pump work? Ductless technology takes the best of central heating and cooling, subtracts the ductwork, and delivers safe, reliable comfort at a higher efficiency than a central system. A ductless heat pump incorporates an outside coil and compressor to extract heat energy from outdoor air. This heat is transferred to refrigerant and conveyed indoors in a small conduit to one or more wall- or ceiling-mounted air handlers incorporating a coil. Hot refrigerant warms the coil and the heat is dispersed into the room by a blower fan. In summer, the system reverses and the coils trade functions. Indoor heat is extracted, transferred outside and dispersed into outdoor air. Ductless Heating Pros

  • Heating and cooling in one unit.
  • No leaky or dirty ductwork to maintain.
  • High-efficiency in moderate climates.
  • Simplified installation – only a 3-inch hole in one exterior wall.
  • No issues with burns, fire hazards or dangerous emissions.

Ductless System Cons

  • In temperatures below freezing, the heating function activates supplemental electric heating that reduces efficiency.
  • Professional sizing of units is advised to avoid oversized or undersized installation.
  • Installation should be performed by specialists experienced with ductless units, not amateurs or DIY.
  • Costlier than portable heating at installation (but cheaper to operate over the long run)

For information about the benefits of ductless heating versus a portable heater, in the Richmond area contact us at Gilman Heating & Cooling.

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