As summer kicks in across the states, the amount of sunshine available daily increases. But an after-effect of this is increased outside and inside temperature.
The cold winter is gone, so your furnace and boiler can take a much-needed break.
But with these little changes in temperature, more and more people across the country will start relying on their air conditioners to keep them cool and comfortable.
While most homeowners rely on centralized air conditioning systems to keep them cool and sheltered from the heat, there are other viable options available for you to consider.
In today’s post, we are going to look at one of those options.
Ductless Air Conditioner System
Also known as “mini split air conditioner”. As you read further, we will inform you on the types of ductless air conditioners, their huge benefits, applications and cons of usage.
What is a Ductless Air Conditioner?
A ductless ac system or mini split, is an air conditioning system that does not use ducts to distribute air around the home. They are made up of separate indoor and outdoor units.
So, instead of using ducts from a central ac. Ductless ac systems work with an outdoor unit that could be connected with up to 3-4 indoor units. These indoor units could be mounted on the wall, ceilings or the floor.
The indoor units draw out heat from the rooms and introduce cool air back into the room.
How do Ductless AC Systems Work
Ductless air conditioner systems are regulated with line-of-sight remote control. These ac systems usually come with two units (one indoor unit, and one outdoor unit).
Most mini split units are powered by a single or two-speed compressor.
Another great option is the variable-speed compressor, popularly known as inverter driven compressor, located within the outdoor unit.
Air conditioners powered by this technology, calibrate refrigerant flow to meet your precise indoor cooling needs. With this technology, the unit summarily puts an end to the uncomfortable up-and-down temperature swings of single or two-speed units.
Some mini split systems have wifi links that put your smartphone in control of the air conditioner, no matter where you are.
Common Types of Ductless Air Conditioners
Cooling Only Ductless Air Conditioner System
They comprise of one indoor unit and one outdoor unit. These units function just like a typical air conditioning system. They cool your home, but they cannot heat up your house.
Mini Split Heat Pump System
These classes of ductless air conditioner system function with one indoor unit and one outdoor unit. But they also come pre-installed with a heat pump system. So, they not only cool your home, but they can also heat up your home by reversing their function.
- Multiple-head Cooling Only Ductless Split AC
They comprise of one outdoor unit and several indoor units.
Most ductless split air conditioners in this class, are built with advanced inverter technology, this allows the compressor in the outdoor unit to function at a reduced/controlled capacity. Furthermore, multiple indoor units – usually 3-4 – can be installed on one outdoor unit.
- Multiple-head Heat Pump Ductless AC System
This mini-split air conditioner functions just like its counterpart above, but apart from cooling your home, it also transfers heat to and from the outside, including its cooling ability.
It’s also able to transfer heat to and from individual zones or rooms within your structure.
Types of Ductless Air Conditioner Indoor Unit
1. Wall Mounted Mini Split Air Conditioning Unit
This is the most common type of ductless ac system in the market. Wall mounted heating and cooling units are very easy to install, with motorized vanes at the bottom of the unit to direct airflow.
It is usually mounted as a standalone unit on walls, with no other object in or around 6 feet of it.
2. Ceiling Recessed Mini Split Indoor Unit
This type of indoor unit is recessed in the ceiling. It is a great choice for large, open floor plans. It distributes airflow in four directions at once.
3. Floor Mounted Split Air Conditioner Indoor Unit
It rests on or near the floor. This unit sends air towards the ceiling. Because of their proximity and accessibility, they are the easiest to maintain.
4. Concealed Mini Split AC Indoor Unit
Concealed mini split units can be installed in the attic, below a ceiling or concealed within walls.
This unit feeds air to different rooms through 10 or more feet of ducts.
Concealed mini-split units usually come with a wall-mounted control for adjusting temperature and output.
Benefits of Ductless Air Conditioners
Minimal installation required
One of the major benefits of ductless air conditioning is just that, no ducts!
No, hassles. No patchwork, no painting, no remodeling. It requires minimal installation.
All it requires is a small hole in the wall that connects the pipe from the indoor unit to the compressor unit outside.
Mini split systems are great for places with limited space.
They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Therefore, selecting the best fit for your room’s needs and aesthetics is easier.
Ductless Heating and Humidity Control
When using a central air conditioner, indoor humidity levels during the summer months can vary. Although central air conditioning systems provide some level of humidity control throughout the house, they are less capable of tackling the problem head-on.
But when you switch to a ductless air conditioner system, you are not only updating your air conditioner; you are also improving your heater.
Adjustable heating and Cooling
Ductless air-conditioners deliver accurate comfort whenever you need it. Room temperature can be controlled separately. With a ductless ac, you can save a significant amount on heating.
Air Quality Improvement and Allergy Control
Another wonderful benefit of mini split air conditioners is air quality. Unlike regular central air conditioners with duct systems, ductless air conditioner systems come equipped with extensive air filtration technology.
They eliminate a substantial quantity of particles and allergens in the air.
Finally, with ductless AC systems, you would never have to worry about how to clean air ducts yourself – because ductless air conditioners are much easier to keep clean.
Did you know that a typical forced-air system can be extremely energy inefficient?
Why is this so? Ductwork is prone to holes, tears, and gaps. Which creates huge heating and cooling losses.
With a mini-split system in place, you can use the air conditioners individually and zone your heating and cooling as the need arises.
Therefore, you need not run the ac in places in the house that aren’t being occupied during the day.
Yet, it will not exclude those parts that are occupied from the heating and cooling ability of your mini-split system.
With this system in place, your monthly energy consumption and utility bills will be considerably lower. The air conditioning unit also, will not suffer much wear and tear. And you would still enjoy the comfort of cooling your home without any delay.
Mini-splits don’t make whooshing sounds. No noisy ducts, and no release of clouds of dust.
So, if you cherish your peace and quiet, then a ductless ac system might just be what you need.
Some ultra-quiet mini-split ductless air conditioning units run at around 19 decibels, which is quieter than even the sound of whispering voices or rustling leaves.
Compared with the option of installing ductwork that would cover your entire house, ductless acs are oftentimes the cheaper option.
Apart from offering you cleaner, cooler air. Ductless air conditioner systems come with a heating system.
This can help to lessen the burden on your furnace during winter.
I’m sure you can relate that if you have a large family, squabbles could ensue over the settings on the thermostat.
Now picture this, one family member in the kitchen wants the temperature cooler to offset the heat from the stoves, while another family member in the living room wants the temperature warmer.
With traditional central air conditioning, there has to be a trade-off. Either the person in the living room will freeze, or the person in the kitchen will be too hot.
But with a ductless mini-split air conditioner, this problem is solved easily. Each family member can meet their temperature needs whenever they want it.
Compared with installing costly and complex ductwork required for central air conditioning systems. Installing a mini-split is simpler, quicker, and cheaper.
As if that’s not sweet enough, mini-splits are easier to maintain and are a more user-friendly option.
The Cons of a Ductless Mini Split System
For a single-room solution, ductless air conditioners cost more than comparable window units.
For sure, you will get lower energy bills in return, but the payback duration depends on a few things:
- Your climate.
- Your use of the system.
- Local electricity rates.
Regular Filter Checks and Cleaning
To maintain your system, you must wash the filter monthly (more often if you smoke or have pets in the house).
Ductless fans cannot handle accumulating debris, and if you ignore maintenance, you may shorten the lifespan of your system. And still spend hundreds of dollars to get a professional cleaning.
Affected by Extreme Weather
Another major problem of mini split air conditioners is their likelihood of being affected by extreme outside temperatures. Extreme temperatures can inhibit a mini-split air conditioner’s capacity.
High heat during summer, increases the difficulty for air conditioners to cool, and when outside temperature drops precariously, their ability to capture heat is impaired.
In conclusion, to get great enjoy a mini-split air conditioner, it is absolutely important for you to get the system sizing and installation right. Although it is possible to go with a DIY approach, we, however, advise you against it.
Going the DIY route may likely void the manufacturer’s warranty.
Ductless air conditioners will not work correctly if the system is the wrong size, or if the delicate electronics are mishandled. So, that extra money you pay to have a pro do their job is well worth it.
Finally, assuming there are no complex construction issues with your house, expect the installation to take around three-to-seven hours. But if you have complex construction and are installing the ac in several rooms, this may push the installation time up to a week.
While yes, ductless air conditioners have serious downsides, I can definitively say that the benefits far outweigh these downsides.
Hope this helps you in your choice.