Ductless Air Conditioner Pros and Cons and How to Decide
Every year, more and more people here in Ontario decide that they NEED an air conditioner installed.
As climate change creates hotter, more humid summer conditions across our province, there are safety as well as comfort considerations to keep in mind.
But not everyone realizes there are more AC options than just the old fashioned window unit AC versus central ducted air conditioning.
In this blog post, we introduce you to the ductless air conditioner and ductless mini-split heating and cooling options available. Find out if ductless AC is right for you!
What Is a Ductless Air Conditioner?
A ductless air conditioner provides cooling without any need for the traditional ductwork that almost every HVAC system requires.
But how does the cool air get to each room in your home if there aren't any ducts to carry it there?
Instead of ducts, the ductless AC system uses a pump. This is why a ductless air conditioner is sometimes called a ductless heat pump.
A ductless air conditioner has an indoor unit and an outdoor unit just like traditional central AC systems.
But unlike a central air conditioner, ductless systems distribute cool air by using a system of zones.
Most residential ductless AC systems can accommodate up to eight different indoor zones, or air handlers, running off of one outdoor air compressor/condenser.
If you need more than eight indoor zones, you can add a second outdoor air compressor that can run additional indoor air handlers.
Can a Ductless AC Also Provide Heat?
A ductless mini-split system is able to provide both cooling and heating for any space.
Like a ductless AC system, the ductless mini-split heat pump offers zoned heating as well as cooling with customized thermostat control through indoor air handlers.
Just as with ductless AC, a ductless mini-split can accommodate up to eight indoor air handlers for each outdoor air compressor you install.
Ductless AC Pros and Cons
Learning about the potential pros and cons for a ductless air conditioner and ductless mini-split heat pumps can help you decide if this is the right choice for you.
1. What you save on cooling you may spend on heating.
Ductless AC can be very energy efficient. This is because ductless heat pumps move heat energy around to preheat or pre-cool the air.
But not all heat pumps are created equally when it comes to tackling the very cold temperatures of the typical Canadian winter season.
In addition, because a ductless HVAC system runs solely on electricity, heating your home with a heat pump can become costly on the coldest days of the year.
One option is to install a backup heating source that you can use on the coldest winter days. Some ductless mini-split systems even come with such a backup system already installed.
In this case, you can easily control winter energy costs by switching to a gas or propane backup heating system when the need arises.
2. No ducts is a simpler option, but not always easier or cheaper to install.
There is an undeniable appeal to getting air conditioning and heating without having to install ducts.
Ductwork can be complicated to install and even more difficult to clean, repair, insulate and maintain.
But choosing ductless AC and heating presents a different set of installation challenges and costs.
The good news is that both the inside air handlers and the outside air compressor and condenser are compact, low profile units. The even better news is that the inside air handlers are designed for wall or ceiling mounting, saving you floor space.
The less good news is that setting up a ductless AC system can actually be as complex or even more complex than installing ductwork, depending on how many indoor air handlers you need.
You will need to choose a location for the outdoor component, preferably a safe and secure elevated location that is protected from weather and wildlife.
You will then need to choose an indoor location for each air handler. Each air handler must then be coupled to the outdoor compressor/condenser via a small conduit. This only requires a small hole drilled in the wall or ceiling where the air handler is mounted.
But as you can see, it will take some amount of pre-planning and coordination to get all the indoor components placed and connected at a reasonable distance from the outdoor component.
And since drilling and running the conduits can present safety challenges with existing wiring, this is best done by an experienced ductless HVAC service technician.
3. Better overall air quality, energy efficiency and ease of maintenance.
There is really no downside to the overall gains you will experience in terms of indoor air quality, energy efficiency and ease of ongoing preventative maintenance.
As long as you don't mind the presence of the mounted indoor air handlers, ductless AC and ductless mini-split heating and cooling systems can be a fabulous alternative to a traditional central ducted HVAC system.
These systems are typically compatible with all of the same types of "smart" home control and home security systems that a ducted HVAC system can accommodate.
Plus, you don't have the chronic air loss and leakage of an aging duct system that will then require professional duct cleaning, insulation and monitoring, all at an additional maintenance cost.
Is Ductless HVAC Right For You?
Give our friendly, experienced, professional service technicians a call to discuss the many ductless AC and mini-split options that can meet your year-round cooling and heating needs.
Bi-Temp Heating and Cooling in Belleville,Ontario, Handles All Of Your Ductless AC Needs
Bi-Temp Heating and Cooling in Belleville, Ontario, is one of the most established and trusted HVAC companies in Quinte West.
Our service technicians are courteous, prompt, highly trained and experienced with installing, servicing, repairing and maintaining both ducted and ductless AC units and also ductless mini-splits for heating and cooling.