Did you know that your heating and cooling systems, out of all your home devices, consume the most energy each day? You can change your roofing from asphalt shingles to metal panels; you can also switch to a more conservative water heater. But choosing an energy efficient solution for your HVAC system may provide even more savings for your home.
Many homeowners rely on a central air conditioning system to keep their home cool and cozy. These AC units feature a winding network of ducts, which consume a lot of space (and energy). But today, we’ll be discussing an alternative: ductless air conditioning. After reading here, you should have a good idea whether or not a ductless solution would be ideal for your home. Let’s jump in!
How Ductless Heating Works
The name says it all; “ductless” heating and cooling (also known as mini-split) systems utilize a series of blowers that condition your home without the use of ducts. Instead, they rely on a two part design with interior units and an exterior unit. Interior blowers are mounted high on walls, near the floor, or up in the ceiling. They intake warm air from the inside environment and blows it over frigid coolant. The resulting cold air is then emitted into the room where the unit is mounted. The warmed coolant is transported outside (via insulated tubing) to the outdoor unit, which chills the refrigerant and releases stored heat.
Keep in mind, this cycle occurs in every room where a interior unit is stored. It’s not unusual for a home to have up to five indoor units. There are three primary benefits to a ductless system:
- Leaky, space-consuming ducts are not required.
- Multiple interior units allows for custom temperature settings in each room.
- Ductless units serve as both air conditioner and heaters.
Below, you’ll find some frequently asked questions about ductless systems.
Are Ductless Air Conditioners Noisy?
Ductless AC systems make about as much noise as a central air conditioner. With the interior units, you may hear the fan blowing cool air into the room, but it’s not very loud. The noisiest part of the entire system is the outdoor unit, which won’t distract you during the day.
How Long Do Ductless Air Conditioners Last?
With proper maintenance (cleaning, part replacements, etc.) you can expect the average ductless AC system to last 20 years. That’s a whole five to seven years beyond most central air conditioning units! Keep this longer lifetime in mind when you consider pricing.
How Much are Ductless Heating and Cooling Systems?
In general, ductless HVAC systems will cost 30% more than traditional heating and cooling systems. However, that percentage does not include the considerable expensive required to install ducts for central AC and heating. It also doesn’t factor in the expense of lost energy that results from leaky ducts, which we’ll discuss later.
Ductless vs Ducted
Given the lower price, is central air better than ductless? While not for everyone, many homeowners actually prefer ductless over traditional alternatives. We’ve already mentioned a few reasons. Without the duct work consuming space in the ceiling and walls, there’s a lot more room in your home that can be allocated for other projects. There’s also the significant lifespan difference between ductless and central air. Even if ductless costs 30% more (on average), it also lasts five to seven years longer.
There’s also the fact that you can customize temperature between different rooms. Most traditional air systems don’t have that capability. Then there’s energy savings to consider…
Is Ductless Air Conditioning More Efficient?
One of the major downfalls of central, forced air conditioning systems is leakage. The duct work that connects the entire home to the AC unit may become damaged from years of use (or accident). When air leaks out, it forces your HVAC system to work overtime to compensate. According to the Department of Energy, “Duct losses can account for more than 30% of energy consumption for space conditioning, especially if the ducts are in an unconditioned space such as an attic.”
Take away ducts, and you effectively take this energy loss out of the equation. Even if you have multiple units spread throughout the house, you don’t have to worry about air getting lost. After all, the air intake is only inches away from the blower. You’ll enjoy the improved energy efficiency.
Get Your Estimate on Ductless Installation!
If all these benefits sound attractive to you, consider a ductless HVAC installation! Our team at Bellows Plumbing, Heating & Air would be happy to provide you with additional information on system comparisons and recommended brands. All you have to do is call our friendly staff at 831-244-6718.