What Is a Ductless Mini-Split System?

ac unit

If you’ve heard about mini-split air conditioning systems, there’s a good chance you have a few questions. We’re seeing them a lot more from our clients lately, so it’s a good idea to answer some of these general questions and give you some of the information you might be looking for.

However, to understand whether these systems are right for you, we first need to understand what a split system is. A “split system” is like your typical central air conditioning system: it’s composed of two main parts, a compressor located outside and an air handler and evaporator coil inside. However, a central air conditioning system also relies on another important piece of equipment: air ducts. Air ducts travel through the attic or under the floor to carry the conditioned air to different rooms in your house.

This type of setup has been successfully used for years, but there are some inherent problems. For example, if your duct system is not sealed or insulated properly, your ducts can start to sweat. Likewise, as your ducts age, you’ll start to see heat loss and gain through the ducts which reduces the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Ductless mini-split systems are similar to your central heating and cooling system in that they have both an indoor and an outdoor unit, but that’s about where the similarities end. Ductless mini-split systems were initially designed to replace old, noisy, and inefficient window units, but they have proven to be so much more versatile and efficient that they’re a great choice for a number of different applications.

Let’s look at a few reasons why ductless mini split systems could be the advantageous choice for your heating and cooling needs.

No Air Ducts

Like their name implies, ductless mini-split systems don’t have a network of air ducts they rely on to carry the conditioned air throughout their home. Instead, they simply force the air out of a vent located in the indoor unit itself. This unit is usually mounted on the wall in a room, which means it forces the cooled air directly into your home, and makes it extremely effective at cooling these areas.

The lack of air ducts makes this option appealing for a number of close-quarters applications where central cooling isn’t a good idea. They’re perfect for cooling the garage, adding cooling to a new addition in a home, or even cooling that one stubborn room that never seems to stay cool in the middle of summer. They’re even great for adding extra cooling power to those rooms which are heavily used for social gatherings, like living and dining rooms, which often grow hot and uncomfortable when heavily occupied. This also makes ductless systems ideal for retrofitting air conditioning into homes without existing air conditioning ducts and don’t have adequate attic space for a duct system, such as town homes and condominiums.

Saves Money

Even the most energy-efficient air ducts are notorious for losing energy—as much as 30%--between your air conditioner and the air’s destination. Heat dissipates while it travels through your duct network, and that means energy disappearing and money coming out of your pocket for nothing. This doesn’t happen with a ductless system since the unit blows directly into the room it services.

Speaking of energy, mini split systems are high efficiency heat pumps that consume approximately 20% to 30% less energy on average than a traditional central heating and cooling system of a similar size capacity. Likewise, when you consider that they use lower voltage to operate, you can see how quickly the savings they generate can add up.

Ductless systems also serve only the room they’re in, and that gives you the ability to more precisely control the temperature in that particular room. You can also shut off units in rooms you aren’t using. This type of individual control is known as “zoning” and could save you a bundle over a central heating and cooling system which has to heat or cool your entire home evenly by nature.

Improved Air Quality

Ductless mini split systems also filter the air in the room they’re in. When a ductless system pulls air in to cool it, it also strains it through an air filter, which means fewer allergens and smaller amounts of dust floating through the air. And when it’s not circulating through the air in your room, it’s not circulating throughout your home. Not to mention the lack of ducts also prevents mold, bacteria, and other allergens from building up like they do in other central duct networks.

Is Ductless Right for Me?

Should you consider a ductless system? While the benefits are there, they aren’t the perfect choice for every situation. Here are a few examples when a ductless system may be the perfect choice for you.

  • Downsizing energy utilization: Many empty-nesters and retirees are trying to limit energy consumption in their home that’s now too big for them, and closing off grills or vents doesn’t help. Installing a ductless system in main rooms, such as the master bedroom or living room, allows you to stay comfortable without high energy costs.
  • Adding cooling to a room: Looking to build a new master suite, garage apartment, sunroom, or “man cave?” All are perfect applications for these systems. You can properly size the unit for the area without stealing air from other rooms or putting too much strain on your old HVAC system.
  • Individual temperature control: If you find the family constantly fighting over the thermostat, the independent temperature zones using a ductless system can solve this problem.

Ductless systems are small and quickly installed, however they are still complex heat pump technology that needs to be installed properly in order to yield best results. Trained Denham Springs heating and cooling technicians should properly size and install these systems to maximize the important benefits these can provide. Here at Bitter Heating and Air conditioning, our technicians are trained and qualified to make sure your system is right for you.

Give us a call at (225) 500-2035 today to request more information about our popular ductless mini-split system options!