Erin Doman on May 6, 2016 0 Comments If you are looking for an alternative to traditional central cooling systems, try ductless air conditioners, also known as mini-splits. These new fangled systems bring the promise of energy savings and higher levels of efficiency for cooling your home. The innovative design doesn’t include traditional ductwork, but it will keep your home cool and your energy bill down when installed properly. Of course, you should do your research before you hire a contractor to redo your air conditioner. With that said, what should you know about mini-split air conditioners? How Ductless Air Conditioners Work Ductless air conditioners don’t require much electrical work or any of the ductwork that other forms of air conditioning require. The compressor is placed externally, which is great news if you don’t want loud noises in your home. These units eliminate the need for an internal evaporator unit with think copper tubing pumping refrigerant right into the wall-mounted blowers. Configurations for mini-splits can vary according to the unique demands of your home. Overall, these units are regarded as more energy efficient and are a great solution if you want to avoid installing a costly central air conditioner system from scratch. How the Room Cools Ductless air conditioners work fairly similarly to traditional air conditioning systems. The only difference is the mini-split can accomplish the same cooling effects without the need for all the ductwork and extra electrical components. The outdoor unit pumps air into the system’s refrigerant to cool. The internal fan serves to distribute the now cool air internally. The indoor unit retrieves warm air and removes collected condensation. Elements of Ductless Air Conditioners Because it’s a ductless system, mini-splits take up little space in your home. So why are ductless air conditioning systems also referred to as mini-splits? This is because these units have two components: An internal component containing a fan, which is installed on an interior wall, near the ceiling in the cooling zone An external compressor unit place on a concrete slab outdoors Copper lines connect the external and internal units through drilled holes in the wall. The indoor unit is powered through the external unit, rendering additional internal wiring unnecessary. Advantages and Disadvantages of Ductless Air Conditioners Ductless air conditioners are great for a lot of reasons, but there are some disadvantages that come with these units as well. However, as you’ll see below, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. The Disadvantages Before we get to the pros of ductless air conditioners, here’s what you should know about the disadvantages of this type of unit: The upfront cost: Installing a ductless air conditioning system is actually fairly simple, but pound for pound these new units are more expensive than traditional models. As an estimate, mini-splits systems cost between $1,500 and $2,000 per ton. To put it in perspective, that’s about a third more than central systems and twice as much as window systems. The demand for precision: Ductless air conditioners are only as good as their fit. The installer must correctly judge the size and location of your units. Overly large or poorly placed units can waste energy and poorly manage temperature and humidity. The systems could short cycle and if the system is too large, the cost will outweigh the benefits. Few qualified installers: Finding an experienced installer for mini-splits may be a difficult task in and of itself. In fact, because many companies are already heavily invested in the upfront costs of traditional duct systems, contractors may not recommend the system unless installing ductwork would be difficult. The Advantages If you found any of the disadvantages reason for pause, don’t give up on ductless air conditioners until you see how much good they can do for your home. When installed properly by a capable contractor, mini-splits can bring these advantages: Click Here to View All Ductless Air Conditioners Small size: This one might seem a bit obvious, but did you know that many models have one outdoor unit with up to 4 indoor units? You can adjust the number of units according to the zones you need to manage. Energy savings: Air conditioners are famously expensive, but in the height of summer, it’s hard to resist fiddling with the thermostat. In some homes, there is just one thermostat per floor, which means air is blowing into spaces you aren’t even using in order to maintain temperatures in occupied rooms. With ductless air conditioner models, you have a thermostat for each zone, so you can isolate air conditioning to the spaces you’re occupying. That means a nice chunk of energy savings, which also means lower energy costs. Customizable conduits: Most ductless air conditioner manufacturers offer a variety of conduit lengths. That means you can put your outdoor unit far away from your indoor evaporator. If you want to hide your outdoor unit in a particular spot, your manufacturer might be able to make it possible. When it comes to curb appeal, hiding your external air conditioning unit can make a big difference. Easy installation: Ductless air conditioners are incredibly easy for trained professionals to install and that means you can have your project done in no time. In fact, for the connection between internal and external units, the installer only has to make a three-inch hole for the conduit. You can choose a showcased unit to minimize the need for ductwork or go for the hidden option for a subtler temperature control. Minimize duct losses: As the name suggests, ductless air conditioners don’t have ducts, which means they aren’t susceptible to the same types of energy loss associated with traditional central-forced air system ductwork. Especially when ducts are not insulated well, duct energy loss can account for a third of energy consumption for air conditioning units. Design flexibility: For the indoor components, you have the option to suspend them from the ceiling, flush them into a dropped ceiling or hang them on the wall. If you so desire, you can also opt for a floor-standing model. Sleek and high-tech: Indoor units are usually about seven inches deep and come with high-tech jackets. Many systems can be remote control operated, which is best for suspended or otherwise hard to reach placements. Added home security: At least with through-the-wall, window-mounted air conditioner units, you run the risk of having an open portal into your home. Mini-splits require just a three-inch hole, which minimizes the security risk. Now that you know what you can expect from a ductless air conditioner unit, you probably have a better idea of weather or not this is the best solution for you. If you have any questions, speak with your local home improvement associate.