What is a Ductless Air Conditioner?
With the many options available to keep homes warm and cool throughout the year, it can be difficult determining the right system for your home. Several factors can help you make the decision when it comes to installing a ductless air conditioner. A ductless system works in new home construction, older homes, room additions, or remodeling projects.
About Ductless Air Conditioners
Split model air conditioners feature a single wall hanging unit. This model can be used to heat or cool a single room. It works well for small areas and can be used in conjunction with other appliances such as window units or portable heaters.
Multi-split air conditioners feature multiple wall hanging units (air outlets) so you have the flexibility of adding an outlet wherever you need it. The air outlets operate independently of each other making this system extremely convenient when you only need to heat or cool select rooms versus the entire house.
Parts and Materials for Ductless Air Conditioners
Whether you choose a split system or a multi-split system, neither system has an involved installation process like the other systems such as heat pumps, underfloor heating, or solar powered systems.
- Split system -The split system has three main parts. The compressor which is located outside, the inside air outlet (air handler) and a remote control.
- The compressor and the inside air outlet can be placed up to 50 feet apart and still function properly.
- Additional materials used for installation include copper tubing that connects the outside and inside unit. The tubing carries the necessary refrigerant to operate the system.
- A plumbing connection is also necessary to drain the condensation accumulated by the system. A line can be piped into an indirect drain in the home such as the one used for a washing machine or a dedicated drain may be used to redirect the condensate.
- Multi-split system – The multi-split uses the same equipment as the split system with the exception of having only one air outlet. Multi systems can have up to five air outlets.
- It takes more copper tubing and wiring for the multi-split system since each air outlet is connected independently to the compressor.
- A certified technician is required to install the system to ensure lines, cable, valve, and drainage are installed correctly and functioning properly.
Benefits of a Ductless Air Conditioner Unit
A big advantage of a ductless air conditioner lies in the easy installation process versus installation of an HVAC system. Other benefits include:
- Energy efficient, environmentally friendly, and less energy use.
- Since there is no ductwork, you save money on materials and labor.
- Ductless systems don’t require retro-fitting or rebuilding in order to install the unit.
- Ductless split systems offer flexibility when installing indoor air outlets as they can mount against the wall, flush against the ceiling, or recessed into the ceiling.
- Ductless multi-split air conditioning system outlets are designed to blend in with the décor with a variety of colors and styles available.
- Multi-air systems also have the advantage of using two to five air outlets allowing an individual air outlet to be placed in multiple rooms. Each air outlet comes with its own thermostat for individual room control.
- With ductless systems, utility bills are lower due to the efficiency of the system. Purchasing a ductless air conditioning system with an ENERGY STAR rating increases the unit’s ability to run efficiently and effectively.
Maintaining a Ductless Air Conditioning System
Maintaining a ductless system involves a few steps that will keep both components running in peak condition. For your part, clean and replace the filter, which allows the system to keep the air purified and to help prevent system breakdowns. Also, maintain optimal airflow to the compressor by keeping plants, tall grass, and debris from around the unit.
To ensure all parts are functioning at full capacity, scheduling an annual maintenance check performed by a licensed professional is recommended. The brand of ductless system you’ve purchased may require certified service in order to keep the warranty valid.
During the maintenance check, the technician will clean or replace the filter, clean the compressor, and remove any build-up from the condenser coils. The tech should also check that the fan and valve function properly, and check the copper tubing to ensure the refrigerant isn’t leaking, and make any repairs or replacements, as needed. Electrical connections should be inspected to ensure there are no loose, frayed or faulty wires. A properly maintained system has an estimated lifespan ranging from 12 to 15 years.
For homeowners looking for an alternative to having a traditional air conditioning system installed, ductless systems are the answer. Using the power of the ductless system along with other heating and cooling sources will maintain the homes comfort level year-round.