Hybrid Heating Case Study

May 1, 2024
Screenshot 2024-04-29 at 7.24.15 AM

A homeowner was looking for a minimalistic and efficient heating and cooling solution for his new home build 

For their new construction home on Whidbey Island, the homeowners and contractor came to us looking for a heating solution that was both minimalistic in appearance and energy efficient. The client was interested in the advantages of a ductless heat pump system but did not want wall-mounted units in the main living space of their home. Our designers at Island Ductless Solutions worked closely with the client to develop a “Hybrid Whole Home Zoned System” that utilized subtle forced air vents in the home’s “Great Room” and placed ductless mini-split units in the isolated sections of the home. 

Let’s take a closer look at this system…  

The Great Room: the “ducted zone” 

In this home, the Great Room includes the living room, dining room, kitchen, breakfast nook, and adjacent hallways. The ducted central air system includes these open space areas and an adjacent office on the same floor just off one of the hallways. This “ducted zone” includes floor registers throughout, including a register under the kitchen island, in the breakfast nook, and two in the adjacent office. As an added touch, the builder installed wood register floor covers that match the wood of the floors and cabinets.  

The return air vent is up high on the wall in the main hallway with a changeable filter for trapping particles of dust and dirt, maintaining the effectiveness of the components in the air handler and the performance of the system while ensuring excellent household air quality. 

Screenshot 2024-04-30 at 7.36.19 AMOpen space ducted system air registers deliver either heating or cooling to the entire main living space. 


Picture3Open space ducted system air registers deliver either heating or cooling to the entire main living space. 


Picture4Open space ducted system air registers deliver either heating or cooling to the entire main living space. 


Screenshot 2024-04-30 at 7.38.13 AMBreakfast nook with heating/cooling registers mounted below bench seats.


Screenshot 2024-04-30 at 7.39.51 AMThe ducted zone includes this adjacent office off of the open space main hallway.


Screenshot 2024-04-30 at 7.41.20 AMOpen space ducted system air return with filter.

The rest of the home: the “ductless zone” 

This whole home system design includes ductless ceiling units in the master bedroom and the other two bedrooms on the main floor. We recommended these ceiling units as they are fitted in the ceiling of the room and only project down about ¾”. They are efficient at pushing air down and across the room giving a very even temperature throughout the space.

The upstairs family room is equipped with a white decorator wall unit strategically located for the best coverage. In the laundry room, there is a regular wall unit located at the far end opposite the doorway to best heat that entire space. There is also in-floor electric radiant heat under the tile floors in all the bathrooms and the laundry room. 


Screenshot 2024-04-30 at 7.44.13 AMMaster bedroom ceiling-mounted ductless unit.


Screenshot 2024-04-30 at 7.47.14 AMBedroom ceiling-mounted ductless unit.


Picture10Loft room with wall-mounted "decorator" ductless unit.

Picture11Laundry room with wall-mounted ductless unit.



Three outdoor heat pump compressor units were needed for this whole home zoned system. One is for serving just the air handler because we are conditioning a very large main area, with the other two outdoor units running all the mini-split indoor inverter units. The distances were too great to put all the indoor units on one outdoor unit so there are two for these, with one outdoor unit at each end of the house. 

Picture13North side of home with two outdoor units; one serving the air handler ducted system and one for the individual ductless indoor units on the north end of the home.


Picture14Ductwork and the air handler installed in the crawl space under the home.


Picture15Outdoor ductless unit serving the south side of the home.

The perfect balance of aesthetics and functionality 

With this hybrid approach, the client was able to achieve complete zoning and take advantage of the superior efficiency of ductless heating without the visual impact of ductless indoor units mounted on walls in the main area. 

For more information about this strategy, visit our Hybrid Whole Home Zoned Heat Pump System page!

In closing 

Island Ductless was founded with the mission to bring better, more eco-friendly heating and cooling to our Island communities. Providing quality products and a quality experience for an overall better standard of comfort is how we get there.  

#GoDuctless with Island Ductless Heat Pumps. Contact us to learn more!  

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