A window unit heat pump can be a great idea if you just want to heat a small house. Designed to fit onto a window ledge, these systems work without any ducts.
A window unit heat pump is designed to heat or cool spaces that range in size from 100 to 1000 square feet, depending on the unit. Like all heat pumps, window heat pumps are basically a combination air conditioner and electric heat furnace. These compact yet powerful window unit heat pumps are also called wall heat pumps, mini split systems or ductless heat pumps.
A window unit heat pump is similar to central air heating and cooling system, except that it doesn’t need any air ducts in order to work. There are two basic components to the system: a slim profile air handler that sits inside the home through a window; hence the “window heat pump” name and an outdoor portion that contains the compressor along with the rest of the moving parts.
Everything connects together using a conduit through the window, so no ductwork ever has to be installed or used. That makes this system very, very easy to install and great for use in homes that have open floor plans, as well in houses that were built before central air became popular.
If you have stayed overnight in typical hotel or motel room recently in the past, then more than likely you have seen a window unit heat pump in action. Most western hotel and motel chains have replaced their old radiators or central air ducts with these compact and efficient units.
But if you are looking for window heat pumps for you house, you need to be certain that the unit is a “true” heat pump and not just an air conditioning unit that has an electric heating strip. Of course if this is all that you need or want, then such a unit should be fine.
But if you need a real reversible heat pump then be prepared to pay a bit more than if you buy just a window air conditioner heat pump with heat strip. Many manufacturers offer ultra-high efficiency models that can be used to heat or cool as many as 1 to 4 “zones” or different rooms. But you have to make the choice of paying a lower price for ordinary window unit heat pump vs. paying more a deluxe model but having long term energy savings.
There are many rewards to using a window unit heat pump versus installing a regular heat pump. The first advantage would be the ease of replacing or supplementing your current heating or cooling system without installing costly and expensive air ducts. Nor do you have worry about retrofitting your small house, so you can squeeze a standard unit inside.
The next thing is that a window unit typically costs 80% to 90% less than a regular heat pump. Not to mention such a heat pump has much smaller “foot print” and its compact size and weight makes it much easier and cheaper to install.
Another factor in its favor it that as window heat pumps don’t use air ducts, all the heating or cooling goes directly to where you need it to be. No air lost through leaky heating vents or with problems with warm air, cooling off before it can reach back portions of the house. The heated or cooled air goes right into the room where you need it most, so your house stay warmer or cooler longer.
While a window unit heat pump isn’t for everyone, if you have a spare room or addition that is always too hot or too cold, then these little units may be just what you are searching for.