Ductless Air Conditioning
An alternative you have to the standard split system air conditioner (i.e. one that has an outdoor condenser unit and an indoor evaporator and air handler) is a ductless mini split air conditioner. These comfort systems have been popular in Europe for many years where they help save space inside older buildings. They have also served the needs of many commercial buildings in the U.S., such as hotels and restaurants, and now they are becoming more common in homes for a variety of reasons.
How a Ductless Air Conditioner Works
In basic operation, a ductless mini split system isn’t much different from standard central ACs. Both use a compressor to circulate refrigerant between a set of indoor and outdoor units, removing heat from the indoors and releasing it outdoors.
The major difference lies with the air delivery: a ductless air conditioner has multiple smaller indoor units, each with a refrigerant coil and a small blower. These indoor units each connect to the single outdoor unit, and they blow conditioned air straight into the rooms. The standard ductless mini split unit can have four indoor blowers placed in different locations around the house.
The Advantages of a Ductless AC
There are a number of significant benefits to installing a ductless mini split for a home:
- Space–saving: For new home construction, smaller homes, and older homes, the lack of ducts is a huge advantage. You can design your house the way you want it without concern for leaving space for ductwork. Older homes without the room for ducts can enjoy central cooling where they would otherwise need to rely on inefficient window units.
- Energy efficiency: Ductless mini splits can help save energy in three ways. First, they have smaller fans and motors that draw on less energy. Second, the lack of ducts means less heat gain that raises the temperature of the air before it reaches the vents. Third, since each blower unit can be controlled separately, you can shut down cooling in rooms that don’t need it.
- Indoor air quality: Ducts tend to gather dust and other debris that then gets blown out into the living spaces. A ductless system provides cleaner air because it lacks this dust reservoir.
- Heating and cooling: Most ductless mini splits are heat pumps, so they offer heating and well as cooling.