Dan Zamagni looks at the cost of fuel oil for furnaces right now. Then, he explains why some people are switching to ductless heat pumps in response to high energy bills.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher, and 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 ductless heating and rising oil prices. Welcome, Dan.
Dan Zamagni: Hey, John. Thanks for having me today. Looking forward to connecting on this topic.
Current Cost of Heating Oil
John: Yeah. Dan, what’s happening currently with heating oil prices and the costs of other traditional heating fuels?
Dan: Yeah, great question. I think as with anything, inflation seems to take hold of most everything, and that includes a lot of these fossil fuels that people have been solely reliant on for a long time, that being home heating oil or traditional gas or propane systems. Every situation’s a bit unique. Every town has different offerings and I think everyone finds themselves in a very particular situation.
But I think at the end of the day, everyone has electricity in their home and everyone has the ability to adapt these systems and get rid of what has been their reliant system in the past and their legacy heat systems that have been maybe historically inefficient, and being able to move into a better direction and decarbonizing their home and their footprint here into getting into a more efficient opportunity and utilizing electricity as the sole source for heating and cooling.
Can You Replace a Traditional Furnace With a Ductless Heat Pump?
John: Yeah. So is a ductless heating system really a viable option for replacing a traditional heating system?
Dan: Absolutely. I think we see that multiple times every day. People have a lot of questions about the capabilities of these systems and is it the right solution for their home, and more often than not, the answer is absolutely yes. I think every home is a bit different, but with ductless, it’s so highly adaptive to every situation.
Every house is unique, but we’re able to provide unique solutions as well to make sure that we’re capturing the needs for heating and cooling throughout. These traditional heating systems, they could be very old and inefficient.
I think getting away from some of that and really capturing what is out there in the market for high-efficiency products and really taking into account, how much energy are we using in our home and how well can we be self-sufficient here in moving away from these fossil fuels?
I think people are talking solar. Solar is a big topic now these days too, and I think these ductless systems that are using electricity for these heating and cooling needs can be coupled with these solar systems, and really almost providing their own heating and cooling needs for a net-zero cost at the end of the day if they have the ability to do both of these systems together. It’s creating an off-grid opportunity for some of these folks that have traditionally relied on oil and gas in the past.
Dual-Fuel Vs. Replacing Your Current System
John: Right. Is it better to completely replace the traditional heating system with ductless or to combine the systems together?
Dan: Great question. Again, I think everything’s a bit unique. Say someone has a newer, high-efficiency system that they put in and then in the last couple of years said, “Oh no, I wish I had known about the evolving markets here,” and then how these products are really aligning with the goals of Massachusetts or any of these spaces at all.
I think we have the ability to combine. We have the ability to use what they call a dual-fuel system, so you’re able to continue to use your gas system as well as a new heat pump and really play them off each other. If you’re finding yourself with higher gas prices, you can default to using the electric heating system or vice versa. If the electricity costs are rising and gas is pretty stagnant, you can play the market a little bit with that and then also have a reliable backup source, too.
So it really depends on what they’re looking to do with their home, but I think the options are endless and you could absolutely have two combined together. If space is an option, which sometimes is in the Boston area and square footage is precious, I think that removing old systems and replacing them with these new, high-efficiency systems could even gain you some square footage back in your home and get rid of some of these clunky items that are taking up some space in your mechanical spaces or closets, or wherever the equipment’s installed.
How Integrated Controls Work
John: Right. If you do have a fairly high-efficiency system already and it’s using something like natural gas, you can combine that with a ductless system and use an electronic system that will automatically switch over to the traditional heating system at very low temperatures and then switch back to the ductless system at higher temperatures, whichever system will be the most efficient at that moment. Is that right?
Dan: That’s right. Yeah, it’s called integrated controls. It’s a great technology where you’re able to have both systems operating in tandem with each other with certain cutover points. In certain extreme situations where you’re finding yourself, maybe one of the systems is struggling to keep up, you have a backup source that’s called on as a backup heat to go in conjunction with the primary system.
And there’s great rebates around doing that as well. People are getting the benefit. The rebate back from the state is a cash option for them being able to install a system like this and have that system installed for integration of two legacy and new heating systems and cooling systems.
Does Switching to Ductless Reduce Heating and Cooling Bills?
John: Right. Homeowners, when they install a new heating or cooling system, obviously they’re going to be thinking, “How long is it going to take before this pays for itself?” Can people expect to see a reduction in their heating and cooling bills by switching over to ductless?
Dan: Yeah, absolutely. I think it depends on their prior usage with their gas providers or if they’re on oil. I think they can certainly see the benefits of the high-efficiency, energy reduction opportunities by installing one of these systems in their home.
Especially if your system’s 10, 12 years or older, I think you’re going to find yourself with a lot of lower-efficiency opportunities that were put in at the time, because that’s what they had to offer and that was the best they had at the time. But the market has changed so drastically and changes every day that these systems are getting more and more efficient and more and more cost beneficial to install, so that their homeowners are saving month to month going forward and they’re finding that their energy usage is much less.
Folks have been really happy with the savings that they’re seeing on their heating bills, and we’re able to provide these system solutions that they’re able to get them there and meet their goals as a homeowner, as well as meeting the goals of the state as we look into decarbonize and really try to electrify these homes. To really fully bring in that heating and cooling can be something that can be done so efficiently.
Contact New England Ductless About Your HVAC Needs
John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Dan. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Dan: Thanks, John. I appreciate your time. Take care.
John: And for more information, you can visit the website at newenglandductless.com or call (781) 995-2665.