The vast majority of homes built since 2000 are designed for a furnace and central air conditioner that uses air ducts. For older homes, the number drops rapidly. Only half the homes built before 1940 feature air ducts. Installing central air into an older home is incredibly invasive, time-consuming and costly. A ductless air conditioning system is an ideal solution to this problem. These heat pumps are easy to install into your home and provide high-quality air conditioning without any need for ductwork.
It is not just older homes that benefit from these systems. As families grow and lifestyles change, converting attics, garages and outbuildings into useful spaces is possible with a ductless system. In homes with a central air conditioning system, some rooms are difficult to cool or heat. For instance, room additions and sunrooms often need some supplemental cooling during the hot summer days. Ductless air conditioners, also known as ductless mini splits, are energy efficient, quiet and safe.
The team at Thiele Heating & Air Conditioning can help make any space in your home comfortable with a ductless system. We’ll help you understand how mini splits operate and the distinct benefits of ductless systems.
What HVAC System Works Without Ductwork?
Ductless systems are different from traditional air conditioners. In fact, they are heat pumps which means they provide a way to cool and heat your home. A ductless mini split system has two major components: an outdoor unit and an indoor air handler. These two components are connected by a conduit that transfers refrigerant in and out of your home.
When cooling your home, refrigerant is pressurized inside the outdoor compressor. The cooled refrigerant transfers to the indoor evaporator coil. Just like a central AC system, the air inside your home circulates across the coil. Heat exchange occurs when warm indoor air is cooled and the heat transfers to the refrigerant. The outdoor unit circulates liquid through the refrigerant lines, and the cycle repeats.
These are not your outdated window air conditioners. A ductless AC system operates only when necessary and integrates with thermostats to maintain steady, comfortable temperatures all summer long. When temperatures fall, your ductless AC system switches to heating mode and the process reverses. Heated refrigerant fills your evaporator coil and warms your home.
How Does a Mini Split Differ from a Traditional Central AC System?
In a house without ducts, a ductless AC system can function just like a central air conditioning unit. In fact, these heat pumps offer more flexibility. Ductless air conditioners can treat a single room, or multiple indoor units can be installed to create on-demand and independent air conditioning zones.
Heat pumps are also far more energy efficient than conventional heating and cooling systems. For homeowners who want to reduce their carbon footprint and save money on monthly bills, a ductless HVAC system may be the perfect option.
The final difference between a traditional central AC system and a ductless unit is installation costs. Ductwork installation can be time-consuming and disruptive to your home. Thiele Heating & Air Conditioning provides expert consultation on whether installing an AC unit or installing a ductless AC system is the best option for you.
What Are the Top 5 Benefits of a Ductless System?
There are many great benefits to ductless mini splits, including:
- Dual Function – Capable of providing even temperatures all year round, ductless systems are a permanent solution for heating and cooling spaces without air ducts. Of all the air conditioning options available, heat pumps are rapidly becoming more popular because of this dual capability.
- Versatility – Mini splits are unique because they are customizable. You can equip your home with multiple air handler units for climate control for your entire home or just one room. Whether you need to target a single space like an attic office, sunroom, or room addition, ductless systems are far more flexible and versatile than central air.
- Security – Since mini splits use outdoor compressors, they operate far quieter and safer than window units and space heaters. The risk of a window unit malfunctioning and the lack of safeguards in these temporary devices is always worrisome. Professional installed mini split units mounted securely throughout the home keep windows locked and electrical connections secure. As a permanent HVAC solution, our team provides ongoing maintenance and repair to keep your system running at peak performance.
- Energy Efficiency – Wall-mounted units can be controlled individually, or you can use smart technology and expert installation to set your living space at the same temperature. Adding a smart thermostat or programmable thermostat greatly increases the efficiency and lowers your energy costs.
- Less Invasive – Mini splits can be installed into virtually any space safely and securely. The units are installed onto the wall, floor, or ceiling of your space. A small hole is required for the refrigerant line and conduit to connect the outdoor unit.
How Long Does It Take to Install a Ductless HVAC System?
The time it takes to install the system varies. Since these systems are designed for minimal installation, many projects can be completed in 1-2 days. If you have multiple wall-mounted units, the installation process may take a bit longer. The actual installation time will depend on the size of the system and the complexity of the installation. Our team can provide you with a more accurate estimate during a consultation.
How Many Square Feet Can a Ductless Air Conditioner Cool?
The amount of square footage a ductless air conditioner can cool depends on several factors such as the unit’s size and BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating, as well as the insulation and overall energy efficiency of the space it is cooling. On average, one indoor ductless air conditioner unit can cool an area of 500 to 1,000 square feet. We match the best system to suit your needs and plan the ideal location for each indoor unit.
How is Indoor Air Quality Impacted by a Ductless Mini Split System?
Installing central air has become the norm, but homeowners often feel the impact of excess dust, debris, allergens and even mold that accumulates in air ducts. Air conditioning that relies on ducts can trigger respiratory issues. Window units are especially problematic. As well as accumulating dirt, a window unit can circulate debris from outside into your home.
A ductless mini split system can improve indoor air quality. Since indoor units can be cleaned and the outdoor unit only transports refrigerant into the home, outdoor allergies are controlled and indoor irritants can’t be trapped inside air ducts. Indoor units can also help maintain a consistent relative humidity inside your home. This can be an issue especially in cooler months when outdoor air becomes dry.
Do Ductless Mini Splits Need Maintenance and Repair?
Like all HVAC systems, maintenance should be performed on your ductless mini split before the start of each season. In the early spring, ductless air conditioners should be cleaned, tested and maintained for the warm weather. For homes that use a mini split system for heating, an inspection in the early fall is also recommended. Occasionally, even the best system will need a repair. Thiele provides complete services for all HVAC systems.
Talk to Thiele About All Your Air Conditioning Options
The professional technicians at Thiele Heating & Air Conditioning are here to help you weigh your air conditioning options when you’re remodeling your home. We can help you find the perfect ductless AC system for your home, or provide you with options for your current central air conditioning system. Start the conversation with Thiele today by scheduling an appointment.