Many homeowners in Central PA and beyond are discovering the benefits of a ductless mini-split home comfort system. These systems are great option to heat and cool rooms in your home.
There are many instances when you could benefit from a ductless heating and cooling unit, such as:
- You’re adding onto your home.
- You have rooms a standard HVAC system serves inadequately — like attics, basements or sunrooms.
- You’re upgrading your home’s comfort system and it can’t be retrofitted to include ductwork.
- You have an extremely energy efficient home and only need to heat or cool a small space.
- You have room additions where installing or extending distribution ductwork isn’t viable.
Ductless mini-split systems, which are heating and cooling systems, allow you to control the temperature in individual rooms or spaces and can make a good retrofit add-on to homes with “non-ducted” heating units like:
- Radiant panels
- Hot water heat
- Propane, wood or kerosene space heaters
If you’re considering going ductless to heat and cool your home, there are some things you should know before you buy one and what to expect after installation. Here’s a guide to choosing a ductless system that fits with your home and your comfort needs.
What is a Ductless System?
A ductless system is a newer type of heating and cooling technology. Similar to traditional air-source heat pumps, a ductless system or mini-split, has two primary components: an indoor air-handling unit and an outdoor condenser/compressor. They contain a conduit, which houses the refrigerant tubing, power cable, condensate drain, suction tubing and links to the indoor and outdoor units. They also contain an inverter-driven compressor that allows them to slow down and speed up based on the system’s needs instead of wasting energy by shutting off entirely and starting back up like standard HVAC compressors. And because they do not need to push air through ducts they are an energy efficient heating and cooling option.
There are many scenarios when a ductless system can benefit your home, such as:
- Downsizing efforts for bigger homes — Many individuals don’t want to cool and heat rooms they’re not using. So, they frequently shut the HVAC grilles in these rooms which creates mold problems and pressure imbalances. It’s much better to install a ductless unit in the master bedroom, for example, and set your home’s central thermostat to run minimally.
- Undergoing new additions — These can be bonus rooms, garage apartments, man caves and sunrooms. It’s important to speak with an HVAC professional at Haller to ensure that your new ductless system is sized properly for your new area so that it doesn’t overload your current HVAC unit or steal air from your other rooms.
- Providing support to a room with certain heating/cooling problems — If you have a large stove in a small kitchen, a ductless system can make cooking far less sweaty without needing to install ductwork.
- Serving multiple needs under one roof — Is your family always fighting over the thermostat? If so, a ductless system is a great solution. Ductless can create separate temperature zones in different rooms, and even though you can install zoning in a standard ducted unit, it wouldn’t be as efficient.
- Adding AC to a home with no current ductwork — Ductless is a great solution when you don’t want to spend money on adding ducts to your home.
Common Types of Ductless Systems
When comparing ductless system types, as with many HVAC units, there are many different options available to fit your home’s unique needs.
- Single zone: These systems heat and cool a single “zone”, or room and consist of one indoor unit and one outdoor compressor.
- Multi-zone: Multi-zone mini-splits, unlike single zone mini-splits, heat and cool multiple zones, or rooms in a home, and consist of up to eight indoor units and one outdoor compressor.
Although you can categorize mini-splits as either a single or multi-zone, there are various types of ductless split systems to choose from.
Common Types of Ductless Split Systems:
- Wall-mounted — A wall-mounted mini-split unit is the most common type. They’re installed high on a wall and pump air into a room or space. Wall-mounted mini-splits are good for any room, are the most affordable and come in a variety of styles.
- Do-it-yourself — These are single-zone wall mounted mini-splits you install yourself. They come with a pre-charged line set for installation and you can install them without special tools. These DIY mini-split units are attractive for individuals who don’t want to pay for installation costs. Additionally, they come with built-in Wi-Fi access.
- Ceiling-suspended — Ceiling-suspended mini-splits mount on the ceiling and are a good option for people who don’t have a lot of wall space. Ceiling-suspended indoor units are close cousins of wall-mounted systems. They’re discreet in appearance, which makes them the perfect choice for individuals who value home aesthetics. Because they move air over a greater distance these units are ideal for larger rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows.
- Ceiling cassette — Ceiling cassette mini-split systems consist of an indoor unit you mount between the joists in your ceiling and an outdoor unit. These are a good option for people who would rather keep their indoor system out of sight as much as possible. They also deliver a wider airflow than wall-mounted units can offer.
- Vertical air handler — These are similar to central air in that they connect to your existing ductwork. However, they’re cost-effective and more efficient than central air.
- Concealed duct — These are installed in your ceiling and connected to one or more ducts. Concealed-duct units are quiet, powerful, energy-efficient and compact. They’re perfect for covering multiple bedrooms or a single large room with several vents.
- Floor-standing — These are another option for people who can’t mount a system on their wall. Floor-standing mini-splits rest up against a wall on the floor.
Ductless mini-split units are small but mighty heating and cooling systems that are ideal for controlling specific temperature zones in different rooms of your home. For example, if a family member in one bedroom likes it cooler than another person in another room, they can adjust the temperature to their liking without making the other person uncomfortable. They also don’t have to suffer through warm temperatures to ensure the other person is comfortable.
Takeaways on Choosing a Ductless System
- Overall cost savings: A big reason many homeowners switch to ductless heating and cooling units is to save money. Monthly bills can rapidly get out of control when the temperature of a home depends on an inefficient unit or if you are unnecessarily heating or cooling rooms you rarely use.
- Availability of rebates and tax credits: Along with saving money on energy costs, homeowners might also be eligible for utility rebates or tax credits for the year they get their ductless heating and cooling system installed. Various federal, state and local programs allow homeowners to take advantage of these types of savings.
- Operates on less power: Ductless heating and cooling units operate on less power. They’re smaller than standard HVAC systems, and since the unit delivers the temperature-controlled air directly into a room, there’s no efficiency loss. Homeowners can also create “zones” within their home with multi-split systems, meaning they no longer have to heat or cool unoccupied rooms.
- No regular professional duct cleaning: Many times, indoor air quality can be lower than outdoor air quality. With standard HVAC systems, you need to have a professional regularly clean your air ducts. Because mini-splits have no ducts, they do not require duct cleaning.
- Reduction in emissions of certain air particles: Ductless units clean the air in your home by providing multi-stage filtration that drastically reduces bacteria, dust, allergens, pollen and other air particles.
- Control and maintenance of temperature: A ductless heating and cooling unit enhances your ability to control and maintain the temperature in your home. Using a ductless unit as your primary heating and cooling source helps ensure your home stays comfortable, even on the coldest and warmest days.
- Better energy efficiency: The smaller size of the ductless heating and cooling unit and its zoning capabilities allows for better energy efficiency. These units follow ENERGY STAR® guidelines, meaning they’re much more energy-efficient than the U.S. federal government’s minimum standards. Enhanced efficiency saves you money, but it also helps decrease your total carbon output. You can realize a reduction of energy consumption of 30 percent or more.
- Decreased environmental effects: Ductless units also take advantage of chemistry advances to reduce environmental effects. Ductless units use the R410A refrigerant, popular for its zero ozone-depletion qualities. Because of this, the system will have less of an environmental impact throughout its life cycle.
At Haller Enterprises, we have the expertise to help you choose the best ductless mini-split system for your home. Ductless heating and cooling systems provide homeowners like you with the ability to heat and cool specific zones of your home at the temperatures you desire, providing exceptional and consistent year-round comfort. They are also environmentally friendly, energy-efficient and completely customizable. If you’d like to learn more about the many advantages of installing a ductless heating/cooling system, call us today!