PART 2 – What is the Best Heat Pump Solution for a Home with a Forced Hot Air Furnace?

Indoor add-on unit. A-Coil installed above current forced air oil furnace.
Indoor add-on unit. A-Coil installed above current forced air oil furnace.

In the first part of this 2 post series we talked about replacing your old forced air furnace with a ducted heat pump. This is the first thought that most home owners have when they want to “get off oil” and move to lower cost way to heat their home.

In today’s post I want to talk about the alternative of installing a ductless mini-split heat pump and how you can convert your home from a NO ZONE to a ZONED heating scenario.

Let’s get started.

Multi Head Ductless Mini Split Heat Pumps

Did you know that ductless mini split heat pumps can have more then one head connected to an external unit? With one exterior unit, pending it’s of the right power, you can have one head on your main floor and a second head upstairs.

Some home owners decide to even install two separate ductless heat pumps all together.

The benefit here is that you get away from having to heat your whole home at the same time. If you want the main level heated you have the main level heat pump or head on.

It’s not required that you get two heat pumps, there are other additional home heating solutions, but you’re going to need something on each level to supplement your old forced hot air.


Let’s assume you install a ductless mini split on the main level of your home, and that is the same level that has the thermostat for your forced air furnace. When the heat pump is doing it’s job properly the temperature on the main level will be such that the forced air furnace never comes on. This leaves your upstairs and downstairs cold since there’s no zoning.

In situations like this we often suggest home owners consider electric convection heaters and Electric Thermal Storage units.

Additional Heat Sources Needed

It might seem like you’re having to buy even more equipment to go with a solution like this, but there are some secondary benefits which we covered in a previous blog post.

Convection heaters are about as efficient as you’re going to get for a baseboard electric heater. They’re small, not as ugly as traditional electric baseboard heaters and have their own individual thermostats on them. These thermostats give you additional control over what temperature different rooms in your home stay at.

These would be ideal for upstairs bedrooms and bathrooms in a scenario we’re describing here.

For your basement an electric thermal storage (ETS) unit is an excellent option. It produces heat all day long, and also allows your home to qualify for what’s called Time of Day metering here in Nova Scotia.

In a nutshell, Time of Day metering gives you a preferred power rate during the overnight hours, weekends and Holidays. So these ETS units charge up and store heat overnight, when you’re paying less for power, and then release the heat during the day and early evening, when you’d otherwise be paying more for power.

Secondary benefits to being on time of day metering include being able to run your hot water heater, washing machine or dish washer during the off peak hours to save even more money.

A Home Heating Strategy More then a Product

As you’re probably starting to see, to reduce your home energy costs is more about creating a strategy for different parts of your home then it is about just buying one product to fix it all. Sure these home heating strategies can be built one piece at a time, but having a plan in place so you know why you’re buying a ductless mini split rather then a ducted system to replace you’re forced air furnace is important.

We help home owners, just like you, who are trying to get off of oil to a more sustainable form of home heating make plans. If you’re ready to further discuss your options fill out the form to the right of this page and a Sunshine Renewables representative will follow up with you, or give us a call today.


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    Al S. , Ductless Heat Pump
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    Bradley R. , Ductless Heat Pump
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