If you are looking for flexible heating and cooling options for your home, ductless mini-splits can be an ideal choice. They are very efficient, especially for controlling temperatures in hard-to-reach areas. Ductless mini-splits are popular in regions where many buildings don’t have HVAC systems. Before installing mini-splits, you need to understand how they work, their benefits, and their disadvantages.
What Are Ductless Mini-Split Systems?
Unlike a conventional HVAC system that distributes air throughout the house from one unit, a ductless mini-split system serves an area of the home or a single room. Every system has a separate evaporator coil and fan. They are known as split because they have different outdoor and indoor systems. “Mini” refers to the fact that the system consists of individual units that are smaller than standard HVAC equipment.
Many homes in Hanover, Columbia, Ellicott City, and the surrounding areas without existing ductwork could benefit from the ductless mini-split system. Most commercial and residential property owners don’t want to cut through walls and floors to install new ducts. Since mini-splits circulate air directly through the indoor units, you can use them in situations where HVAC systems cannot fit.
How Do Ductless Mini-Split Units Work?
The heating/cooling combination system works like a heat pump in that it functions using electrical power. That is why the units are very efficient. Mini-splits have two parts; the outdoor condenser and the indoor handling unit. The indoor equipment is mounted on a high wall and transfers air directly into the room. It connects to an outdoor compressor through a refrigerant instead of a complicated duct system.
Besides the refrigerant tubing, the indoor system links to an outdoor unit with a condensate drain line, a power cable, and suction tubing. You can connect several indoor units to the outdoor unit and control them independently, even though they share an outdoor heat pump for dispensing or absorbing heat. The operation is far from a traditional central air system that sends air from the indoor element through the ducts.
Air from the indoor unit goes through a series of pipes to the condenser, where it comes into contact with the coils containing the coolant. The hot air transfers the heat to the coolant, turning the liquid into gas—the gas transfers to the compressor, where it is recycled and converts into a liquid again. The newly cooled air gets into the air handler, from where it goes back to the room. The cycle repeats itself to attain the desired temperature.
It’s easy to control a ductless mini-split system because most models have remote controls for setting the desired temperature.
5 Benefits of Ductless Systems
Here’s why you should consider using mini-splits in your home or commercial property.
1. Quick and Easy to Install
Installing a conventional HVAC unit is a large operation that might interfere with your regular activities. The ducting must pass along the walls or sometimes inside them to connect to other parts of the unit. It takes days or weeks, depending on the size and complexity of the project.
Ductless systems are easier to install. Since the work can be divided on a room-by-room basis, the installation can be completed in a day. The units have small holes, so you don’t have to repair plasterwork or rebuild walls. Most holes have a diameter of 3 inches at most, which has an insignificant impact on the building’s structure.
2. Highly Flexible
Ductless systems are flexible, unlike traditional heating/cooling systems. With a mini-split unit in your home, you can change one room’s temperature without affecting other parts. For instance, you may want to cool your living area during the day while maintaining your bedrooms’ temperature. Also, different family members have varying heating and cooling preferences. With mini-splits, you can adjust the temperature of any room independently.
Ductless systems are also flexible because you can install them in many places as opposed to regular HVAC units. They are ideal for condos, garages, period properties, home additions, basements, small apartments, and old office buildings.
3. Better Air Quality
Traditional HVAC systems require intensive clean-up and don’t prevent pollution from coming into the house. They blow in bacteria, allergens, vehicle exhaust fumes, and pollen without discrimination. Some traces of these contaminants remain even after cleaning.
Ductless mini-splits feature problematic filtration cartridges that are easy to clean and replace. The multi-stage filtration systems help to get rid of most airborne particles from contaminating your office or home.
4. “Green” Solution
The ducts used in regular HVAC systems risk air leakage, which can be very inefficient. When the temperatures are high, warm air might seep into the room, thus forcing your AC to work harder than it should. The same applies to cold temperatures. Since the ductwork stays in unconditioned places, it is exposed to summer heat or freezing winter temperatures. The HVAC equipment works extra hard to counteract the exposure.
Ductless systems are efficient because they don’t use ductwork. Therefore, your HVAC unit doesn’t have to work extra hard, and you pay fewer energy bills. Mini-splits also use inverter technology, which is more efficient than conventional HVAC units. The technology eliminates sharp fluctuations and extends the life of the unit’s parts.
5. Affordable Solutions
Ductless mini-split units use less power than conventional alternatives. They are smaller than forced-air systems, and air doesn’t have to travel along with lengthy distances. Since mini-splits don’t use ducts, heat loss reduces significantly. You can also use them to target specific areas or rooms within a building. It helps to develop temperature-controlled zones. When you go green, you might enjoy tax credits and utility rebates from local governments and federal administration.
Disadvantages of Mini-Split Systems
While mini-splits have a host of benefits, they may not be an ideal solution because of these disadvantages:
- Higher upfront costs than traditional systems
- You may not like the aesthetic of the indoor units
- Requires professional installation
Who Should Consider a Mini-Split System?
If you have an older building or a slab home with no ductwork, the cost of installing pipes might exceed that of the furnace and AC. Therefore, a ductless option might be ideal in this case. People who have already installed conventional HVAC units but have “nuisance” spots in their homes might be better off installing mini-splits in those rooms.
Homeowners who want to downsize without relocating can resort to ductless mini-split units to help reduce the running costs. If you run a commercial property, and every tenant has differing needs, you may consider installing mini-splits to keep everyone comfortable. Ductless systems are also perfect for those looking to extend their homes and don’t want to redo the ductwork.
If you are considering installing a ductless AC unit in your home, our experts in Hanover, Columbia, Ellicott City, or the surrounding areas will be happy to help. At Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating, we are invested in ensuring that our clients are comfortable. We will survey your home or commercial property and advise you on the best air conditioning or heating unit to install.