When you’re choosing an air conditioning system for your home, you want to be certain that you invest in the most dependable, efficient model possible. Central air conditioning systems can be an excellent choice for most homes, but if you live in an older house that lacks ductwork, installing one of these systems can be both expensive and time consuming.
For houses without existing air ducts, the best option is installing a ductless AC system, which you may have also heard referred to as a ductless HVAC or ductless mini split. If you’re thinking about installing a ductless system in your home, you may have questions about these home cooling units, including how they differ from traditional AC systems and whether they have any distinct benefits. Check out this AC FAQ so that you’ll have the information you need to decide if a ductless AC system is right for your home comfort needs.
What is a Ductless AC System
As you might be able to tell from its name, a ductless air conditioning system is a heating and cooling system that can control the temperature in your home without needing ductwork. Ductless systems contain two major components: An outdoor heat pump and an air handling unit that will be installed inside your home.
How Do Ductless AC Systems Work?
Ductless AC systems work in the exact same way as a traditional heat pump, just without the use of air ducts. In the warmer months, the air handler takes the warm air in your home and passes it over evaporator coils that are filled with refrigerant. The refrigerant then absorbs heat from the air and directs this to the outdoor unit and out of your house.
During the winter, this process is reversed. The outdoor unit will absorb heat from the outside air and then pass this air through the refrigerant line to your air handler, which will blow the warm air into your house. So, heat transfer is what makes a ductless AC system work. In the summer, hot air is transferred out of your home, and in the winter, it is transferred into your home.
How Are Ductless AC Systems Installed?
Ductless AC systems can be installed much more quickly and easily than conventional systems. First, a small hole will need to be drilled into your house so that the outdoor unit can be connected to the air handler. Typically, this hole will be between two and three inches in diameter and will be covered by the outdoor unit once it has been mounted.
After the hole has been drilled, your outdoor unit will be mounted to your house, and then your air handler will be mounted inside your home, usually near the ceiling. Finally, a conduit that contains the refrigerant line, a power cable, and a condensate drain will connect your indoor and outdoor units.
What is Zoned Heating/Cooling?
One of the biggest differences between ductless and traditional air conditioning systems is that ductless systems are capable of something known as zoned heating. Basically, this means that you’ll heat and cool your home one room at a time instead of controlling the temperature of your entire house.
With a ductless system, you’ll need to install an air handler in every room that you’ll heat or cool. The rooms where you decide to install your air handlers will be your zones. Heating and cooling your house in zones can be very beneficial, both in terms of individual comfort and energy costs.
If there are areas of your house where you don’t spend much time, you don’t need to install an air handler in these rooms, which means you won’t waste money cooling an empty area as you would with a central AC system. In terms of comfort, a ductless system allows every member of your family to enjoy their preferred temperature. For instance, parents can keep their room colder, while children can keep their rooms hotter, since everyone will have their own air handler.
How Much Do Ductless Systems Cost to Install?
The cost to install your ductless air conditioning system will depend on several different factors. First, there is the cost of your outdoor unit, which can depend on both the model you select and the unit’s efficiency. More efficient units, obviously, will be more expensive. The number of indoor units that you need will also determine the overall costs of your system. As the number of air handlers increases, so will the installation cost.
Finally, how difficult it is to install your system will also impact your final costs. A ductless AC system installation can cost up to $5,000, which is generally more affordable than installing a central air system.
How Long will a Ductless System Last?
If you’re like most people reading this AC FAQ, you probably want to know how long your ductless AC system will last before needing replacement. As with traditional systems, the lifespan of your ductless system will depend on numerous factors, including how heavily you use your system and whether you’ve kept up with ongoing maintenance requirements. In most cases, your system should last 20 years, especially if you schedule regular maintenance from a trusted source.
What Are the Advantages of a Ductless System?
Ductless AC systems provide a variety of benefits that can make them a better choice than a central air conditioning system. The primary advantage of a ductless system is that you don’t need ductwork to heat or cool your home. In addition to easing installation, not needing ductwork makes these systems more affordable. For this reason, ductless systems can be the best option for controlling the temperature in older homes or in additions, which typically don’t have pre existing ducts.
Ductless systems are also more efficient than central air conditioning systems. Energy loss can be a big problem with duct systems, and may result in an increase in your energy bills. Because ductless systems don’t require ducts, energy loss is much less of a concern, improving efficiency and lowering energy costs.
Less noise is another advantage of ductless systems. Central air conditioners tend to create a lot more noise than ductless units, so if you want your home to be comfortable and quiet, a ductless system is the better choice.
Contact Legacy Air
After reading this AC FAQ, you should be much more familiar with ductless AC systems and their benefits. If you’re interested in outfitting your home with a ductless system, Legacy Air is here to help you. One of our heating and cooling professionals can quickly install your system and provide regular maintenance so that it lasts as long as possible. Contact us today to learn more!