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What does ducted heat pump mean? (RV FAQs)

What does ducted heat pump mean? (RV FAQs)

Motorhomes or RVs come in a variety of different sizes and use different equipment for heating and cooling. These include air conditioners, heat pumps, electric heaters, and propane furnaces, among others.

So, what does a ducted heat pump mean? A ducted heat pump is a type of heat pump that delivers hot/cool air to the interior of a house/ building/ RV using a series of ducts mounted in the ceiling.

Larger RVs (like Class A and Class C) usually have ducted heat pumps whereas smaller RVs normally have ductless ones.

Read on to learn more about ducted heat pumps and how they work. Also, find out how they differ from ductless heat pumps and discover some tips for buying one. Happy reading!

What are ducted heat pumps?

Ducted heat pumps are commonly used in houses, buildings, and RVs and are quite efficient at heating or cooling a place.

Ducted heat pumps for houses or buildings consist of two parts: the central indoor unit (pumps air inside through different ducts) and the outdoor unit. 

In RVs, ducted heat pumps work based on the same principle of transferring heat from one place to another. They are mounted on the roof of your RV and transfer heat from the outside to the interior using a series of ducts.

Many heat pumps for RVs that are available separately can be used for both ducted and ductless applications. Heat pumps can also be paired with other heating equipment to save energy and provide efficient heating.

Ducted vs. ductless heat pumps: what’s the difference?

The difference between ducted and ductless heat pumps is quite simple. As we discussed before, ducted heat pumps are mounted on the roof and transfer heat from the outside to the inside of the RV.

Inside the RV, the heat is distributed to various areas using ducts installed in the ceiling.

A ductless heat pump, on the other hand, does not rely on a series of ducts to distribute air, as the name implies. Unlike a ducted heat pump, there is only one outlet from which the air spreads out.

Ductless heat pumps are more common in smaller RVs and small trailers. In such vehicles, a ducted heat pump would be unnecessary.

How are air conditioners and heat pumps different?

Heat pumps and air conditioners have one big difference: heat pumps can provide heating and cooling, whereas air conditioners can only provide cooling.

This is due to a reverse valve present in the outdoor unit of a heat pump that makes both heating and cooling possible. In houses, buildings, and RVs, a heat pump can be used with an air conditioner to provide more flexibility for heating and cooling purposes.

Secondly, heat pumps are known to be more efficient and consume less energy compared to air conditioners. A downside to buying heat pumps is that they’re a bit more expensive than air conditioners.

They also have a shorter lifespan since they’re run year-round. The higher cost of heat pumps is due to the technology used and also the installation, which is a bit different from that of an air conditioner.

Do RVs have ducted or ductless heat pumps?

As we mentioned previously, RVs can have both types of heat pumps. RVs that are larger and have more portions inside will usually have a ducted heat pump to provide heating or cooling to all parts of the interior.

Whereas smaller RVs normally have a ductless heat pump due to their smaller interiors. 

In small RVs, there’s no need for a ducted heat pump since there’s mostly one large, single area that needs to be heated or cooled. Moreover, many such RVs usually don’t come with a network of ducts in the ceiling that is needed to support ducted heating/cooling.

Generally, Class B RVs, truck campers, and small trailers have ductless heat pumps whereas Class A and Class C RVs usually have ducted ones.

Some tips for buying a ducted heat pump for your RV

If you want to buy a ducted heat pump separately for your RV, there are a few important things you need to consider before you purchase one.

The size of your RV. As we discussed before, ductless heat pumps are better suited to smaller RVs, so if you have a Class B RV or some other similar-sized type, it might be better to avoid a ducted heat pump.

Also, check if your RV has the necessary infrastructure to support a ducted heat pump.

The climate. Heat pumps are not ideal for heating if the outside temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This means they’ll have to work hard to provide heat in cold temperatures and they’ll consume a lot of power. 

The power of the heat pump. The ducted heat pump you buy needs to be powerful enough to provide heating and cooling throughout your RV. The standard power of a heat pump is between 13,000 and 15,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units).


What are the best ducted heat pumps you can buy for your RV?

If you want to buy a ducted heat pump for your RV, you’ll find there are plenty of brands and options to choose from, and it can often be difficult to pick the best one. Here, we’ve selected some of the best-ducted heat pumps you can buy for your RV. Please note that the prices mentioned are the ones at the time of writing and may change.

Final thoughts 

Ducted heat pumps deliver heated or cool air using a series of ducts in the ceiling of your house or RV. Ducted heat pumps are usually more suitable for larger RVs, whereas ductless ones are better for smaller RVs.

We hope you enjoyed reading this guide about ducted heat pumps for RVs and found it helpful!


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