My husband and I go back and forth between a house down south and another up north.
The northern house is left empty from November until the end of April.
While we’re gone, the outdoor temperature is often well below zero. While we prefer not to pay huge energy bills for an unoccupied house, we can’t shut off the heat entirely. There’s the concern of damage such as water pipes freezing. The heating system installed in the house is old and not totally reliable. We aren’t willing to invest in a whole new furnace for a house we don’t use in the winter. I decided the solution was to have a ductless heat pump installed. This type of system isn’t overly expensive and can be installed without causing disruption. It requires little more than access to electricity, mounting capabilities for the indoor air handler and a three-inch hole in an exterior wall for the conduit. The benefit of a ductless heat pump is that it provides both heating and cooling capability. I hoped it would supply sufficient heat to protect the home over the winter and also cold down the house in the summer. It’s not intended for whole-home temperature control but instead targets specific rooms. The air handlers mount onto the wall and include independent thermostats for zone control. The guy I called to handle the installation was recommended to me by a coworker. I should have done some research into his qualifications. The ductless system he sold me wasn’t capable of handling the below-freezing temperatures of our local winters. Plus, he installed the unit improperly and it wouldn’t even start up. When I called him back to complain, he promised to fix it. He never showed up and then stopped answering my calls. I was forced to hire a new contractor to fix the other guy’s mistakes.