While central air conditioning is a tried and true option for American homeowners and builders, a newer technology prevalent in other parts of the world is gaining traction in the US. Ductless mini-split systems are what they’re called.
What are ductless mini split systems?
Ductless mini-split air conditioning systems are made up of two parts: an external compressor put outside your home and one or more indoor units installed in the rooms you want to cool. Each of the indoor units can be operated independently, allowing for exact temperature individual control in each area.
How Do Ductless Mini-Splits Work?
The core science that both a central system and ductless air conditioners use is the same. Warm air is sucked in, and the heat is then released onto the environment. Unlike a central air conditioning system, however, cool air is sent directly to each room where an indoor unit has been installed. When ducts are employed, such as in a central air-conditioning system, energy losses are eliminated. The following are the functions of each component of a ductless system:
The blower and evaporator in the interior unit take warm air from the room while blowing cold air out.
The outside unit is a condenser that collects heat from your home and transfers it to the outdoors.
The two units are connected via a pipe. A power cable, a refrigerant line, and a drain are all carried inside the pipe. Its job is to supply power to both units and to transfer the heat gathered by the interior unit to the outside unit.
Installing a Mini-Split Ductless Air Conditioning System
Installing a ductless system takes less time than installing a central air conditioning system and thus is easier to install. The indoor air handlers and the outdoor unit are the only important components, and they are connected by a single slim control and refrigerant line that requires only a small hole in the wall. There are a few things to remember while installing a ductless system by qualified installers.
Ducts aren’t required. Ductless air conditioners, as the name implies, do not require a duct and register system to chill your home. If you want to install an air conditioning system in an older or historic property, you can skip the time-consuming and costly task of installing ducting. The other side of the coin is that every room you want to chill will require an indoor mini split air unit.
There’s enough room for the outdoor unit. As previously said, ductless systems are made up of two parts: an indoor unit that is installed in the room and an outdoor unit to which one or more interior units are connected. You’ll need a location for this outdoor unit that’s about 50 feet away from the interior units. This outdoor unit is approximately the size of a central air conditioning unit condenser.
Interior Units’ Wall Space The indoor unit will require space in each area that requires cooling. Although certain models have options for ceiling mounting, these are typically mounted on the wall.
Ductless Mini-Split Systems and Energy Use
In terms of energy consumption, ductless air conditioners have several advantages over central air conditioners. The following are three distinct benefits of ductless systems.
There is no energy loss through the ducting. Cool air will progressively warm as it passes through the ductwork in a central air conditioning system. There is no energy loss with a ductless system because it creates cool air at the spot where it is installed.
Zoning is possible with ductless systems. Multiple air handlers are connected to a single outside unit in many ductless systems. Each of the inside units has its own thermostat, allowing you to independently control the temperature. You won’t spend energy cooling rooms that aren’t in use, and people may set the temperature of the room they’re in to whatever they like. The advent of smart controls and wireless remotes make adjusting your room air temperature easy for constant comfort.
Variable-speed fans help you save money. Look for systems with variable-speed fans in ductless systems. These systems will chill the space to the correct degree before slowing down to maintain the temperature.
Ductless Mini-Split System Maintenance
Regular maintenance is necessary regardless of the sort of air conditioning system you have. Systems that are well-maintained will run more efficiently and effectively, as well as survive longer. Because ductless air conditioning systems don’t require a duct network to circulate air throughout your home, you’ll avoid one of the most common central air conditioning system maintenance issues: examining and cleaning the ductwork.
Regular maintenance duties, like as changing or cleaning filters, are required, as is keeping the outer unit of your ductless system clear of dirt and vegetation. You should also have qualified professionals inspect your system according to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Mini-Split Ductless Systems
When it comes to cooling your home, there are benefits and drawbacks to using a mini-split ductless system. Here are some of the most important factors to consider.
Mini-split systems don’t require ductwork to circulate cold air, so they may be installed in a variety of settings. Each interior air handler must be connected to the outdoor unit, however this only necessitates the routing of a tiny conduit.
Ductless mini-split systems are typically more energy efficient than central air conditioning systems. The flexibility to operate each indoor unit separately, as well as the utilization of variable-speed fans, results in significant energy savings.
Zoning capabilities — Ductless mini-split systems are a good choice if you’re upgrading your home to include an independent apartment, such as for elderly or young couples, because you may modify the temperature settings of the interior units individually.
Home size restrictions — Most ductless systems have limited cooling capacity, making them unsuitable for bigger homes.
Each room cooled with a mini-split system will require an interior unit located on the wall or ceiling, unlike the virtually registers used with central air conditioning.
Higher upfront cost – A ductless system is around 30% more expensive than a central air conditioning system. You’ll want to weigh that against the lower overall operating costs.
The Case for Mini-Split Systems in Summary
When compared to central air conditioning systems, ductless mini-split systems have both advantages and downsides, as we’ve seen. If you’re thinking of getting a ductless system, you’ll need to think about your specific situation to see if it’s a sensible idea.
If you don’t have any ductwork in your home, a ductless system can be a great option. You’ll also be able to manage the temperature in single rooms or zones with a ductless system. A ductless mini-split system can be a wonderful alternative for older houses, as well as additions and remodeling.