Ductless heat pump buyer's guide

Get the tools and guidance you need to select, install and maintain a ductless system – all in one central location. 

Choosing an Installer

Choosing an Installer

Selecting a ductless system installer doesn’t have to be daunting. Being prepared with basic information about the technology and the right questions to ask will set you up for success when choosing an installer. Follow this checklist to get started.

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What To DoGoing Ductless Resource
Research Ductless Heat Pumps. Conduct your own independent research or use the resources available on this website.
Read our FAQ.
Learn about available discounts and incentives. Contact your local utility or find special promotions, rebates and tax credits.Find current Rebates and Promotions.
Get installer referrals. Contact your utility or use this website to get a list of at least three potential installers in your area.Use our Find an installer tool.
Research referred installers. Search for qualified installers on sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, or the Better Business Bureau after consulting our tips.Download our Choosing an Installer guide. (coming soon)
Interview installers. Get your important questions answered on the phone before getting an estimate.Download our Questions to Ask Your Installer. (coming soon)
Ensure competitive bidding. Get multiple bids from potential installers, with bid details in writing.Download our How to Analyze a Bid guide. (coming soon)
Review bid prices. Get pricing and payment options in writing, and make sure you’ll only be paying for the features you need. Download our Pricing Factor Checklist. (coming soon)

Installation Process

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Installation Process

Ductless systems can be installed quickly and easily by a professional in less than a day – no expensive or invasive duct work required. Because ductless systems work with your existing electric resistance heating system to create a comfortable temperature throughout your home, they perform best when the indoor unit is installed in a central location. Your installer will work with you to find the right placement during your site assessment.

During the installation you can typically expect the installer to:

  1. Perform any required electrical upgrades. 
  2. Prep the outdoor area for the compressor.
  3. Mount the outdoor compressor. 
  4. Run refrigerant, electrical and condensate lines from the outdoor unit to the indoor connections through an exterior wall.
  5. Hang the indoor unit in an agreed-upon location.
  6. Charge the refrigerant lines.
  7. Complete a test run of the new system.
  8. Reduce the back-up setting heat accordingly – adjusting thermostat for the baseboard heaters, furnace or other source.
  9. Conduct a walk-through with you to go over system settings, maintenance, rebate paperwork and other ductless heat pump basics.
Ductless Maintenance 2

Pricing Expectations

The cost of a ductless system can vary by geographic location, manufacturer/model, and installer rates. To help guide your purchase, the following prices can be expected in the Northwest for a simple, single-zone installation:

  • Rural areas: Prices typically start at $2,500*
  • Urban areas (west of the Cascade Range): Prices typically start at $3,500*
  • Urban areas (east of the Cascade Range): Prices typically start at $2,500*

Utility rebates and special promotions can lower the upfront cost of installing a ductless system. Check available Rebates & Promotions or contact your local utility to get the best price possible.  

Numerous other factors can contribute to a ductless system’s price. The dollar signs below represent estimates for average cost impacts.

$ = <$100
$$ = $100-$750
$$$ = >$750

*based on 2017 pricing information

Pricing Expectations Final
Contributing FactorCost Impact
Basic Installation Costs
Required electrical upgrades$-$$$
Brand/Manufacturer$-$$$
Efficiency Rating$$
Size of System$$-$$$
Interior head type (wall, ceiling, etc.)$$$
Taxes and permit fees$
Access to competitive bids$$$
Local requirements/codes$
Difficulty or complexity of installation$$
Proximity of outdoor unit to indoor head$$
Optional Features
Pan heaters (for defrost)$
Snow legs/wall mount$$
Occupancy sensors$$
Cold climate model$$$
Extended warranty$$
App and cloud access$$
Wall-mounted controller$$


Maintaining Your Ductless System

Operations Maintenance Final

After Installation

Follow these steps to maximize your comfort and your new ductless system’s efficiency:

  • Set the system operation mode to HEAT or COOL, depending on the seasonal temperature (Avoid using the AUTO setting for operation mode)
  • DO set the fan speed setting to AUTO instead of fixed settings like QUIET or HIGH
  • Following the instructions in your owner’s manual, program the system to your preferred temperature and let the system self-adjust to maintain that temperature Regularly clear any debris accumulated around your outdoor unit

Every Two Months

Clean your air filters according to the recommendations in your owner’s manual.

Every Winter

When the temperature drops below freezing, consider running your backup heat more often. You may also want to turn your thermostat up a few degrees or temporarily set your fan speed to HIGH for maximum comfort.

Every Year

Have your ductless system serviced annually by a trained technician. Purchasing a maintenance package from your installer can extend the life of your system and optimize its efficiency. Replace your air filters according to the recommendations in in your owner’s manual. For more information, download our Homeowner’s Guide or refer to the manufacturer’s operations manual.

Woman Cleaning Ductless

Ready to go ductless?
Find an Installer

Is Ductless right for your home?

Click on the house that best fits your home style to view more information.

Is Ductless right for your home?

Click over the house that best fits your home style to view more information.

  • Single-story

    Is your home:

    • Less than 2,200 sq. ft.
    • Electric resistance with baseboard heaters or wall heaters
    • Infrared panels/ceilings
    Learn More
  • Two-story

    Is your home:

    • Less than 2,600 sq. ft.
    • Electric resistance with baseboard heaters or wall heaters
    • Electric forced air furnace
    Learn More
  • Manufactured or mobile

    Is your home:

    • Electric baseboard/wall heating
    • Electric forced air furnace
    Learn More
  • Split-level

    Is your home:

    • Less than 2,400 sq. ft.
    • Electric forced air furnace (preferred)
    • Baseboard heating, infrared panel, wall heaters
    Learn More