5 Questions About Ductless Home Cooling Answered


Is a ductless mini-split air conditioner the right choice for your home? If you’re exploring AC options for your home, take a look at everything homeowners need to know about this type of duct-free cooling system below.

1. Why Is It Called a Ductless Air Conditioner?

It’s all in the name—a ductless air conditioner is a type of cooling system that is ductless. Instead of a system of tube-like ducts that move cool air from one central unit to each room or area of the home, a mini-split ductless air conditioner uses individual air handlers and an exterior condenser/compressor. The mini-split mechanism of cooling action allows it to keep your home comfortable during the summer months without the need for air ducts inside the walls or vents in each room.

2. Why Don’t Mini-Split Systems Need Ducts?

Even though a mini-split system could cool your entire home, it doesn’t need ducts or vents to work correctly. This type of air conditioner is completely different from a central system. A central AC system pushes air throughout the labyrinth of ducts and out of vents. Ductless systems pull air into individual handlers in each room/space. Each handler has a fan and evaporator. This setup connects to the outdoor condenser or compressor unit using refrigerant lines.

3. Can a Ductless System Really Cool a Home?

Yes, these systems can cool a home just as well as a central air conditioner. But this doesn’t mean a mini-split system will cool every area of the interior space. Without an interior unit, the room will remain warm during the summer months. This makes it important to understand your home’s cooling needs and to contact a professional to place or install the interior air handlers.

4. What Are the Benefits of a Mini-Split System?

Why should you consider choosing this type of AC system? This option is ideal for homes with radiator heating. Radiator heating relies on a central boiler and metal pipes to distribute water/steam heat. Unlike forced air heaters, this type of HVAC appliance won’t require ductwork.

If your home does not have existing ducts, a central AC addition may require extensive renovations. You would need to add ductwork in the walls or ceilings, potentially breaking through drywall and plaster. This can turn a minor HVAC addition into a major home improvement project and add to the cost of a cooling upgrade.

Not only will ducts cost extra to add, but they can also increase energy usage and home cooling costs. More than 30 percent of AC energy consumption comes from duct-related air losses, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Gaps or holes in ducts, other types of damage, and poor insulation/ducts in uncooled spaces can cause this type of loss. Air losses decrease the effectiveness of the system, making your home warmer and costing you extra in unnecessary electricity use.

Even though eliminating air duct-related cooling losses is a prime way mini-split systems reduce energy consumption and decrease the cost of cooling, this isn’t the only benefit of a ductless system. The individual air handlers allow you to cool your home in zones. This means you won’t need to pay to cool areas that you never or rarely use. The reduced square footage you will cool may equal cost savings in electricity bills over the hottest summer months.

5. Where Can You Get a Ductless Mini-Split System?

While you can buy a mini-split air conditioner online or from a big-box home improvement retailer, only a professional can guide you through the purchase process and install the system for you. Many HVAC contractors can also sell and service this type of air conditioner.

As a pro can help you to choose the best mini-split model for your home’s size and cooling needs, they will also help you to decide on the number of indoor air handlers to install, select the appropriate sizes, and choose the best placement areas.

After you select and buy the system, a professional can install each indoor unit and the outdoor condenser. A professional installation service reduces safety hazards and may increase the system’s overall efficiency. It also validates a warranty, giving you added financial protection.

Do you want to learn more about ductless cooling? An HVAC technician from our team here at Steele Brothers Heating Inc. can assist you with all your ductless AC system needs and answer all your questions. Contact us today for more information.

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