Have you purchased an older home that does not have existing ductwork? You may be wondering about your options for whole-home air conditioning. There is a lot of buzz about ductless air conditioning. Certainly, it is very energy efficient when used appropriately. However, not every home is a candidate for whole-home ductless air conditioning, so here are a few points to consider.
What Is Ductless AC?
Ductless air conditioning has been around for a few decades in Japan and Europe and arrived in the United States later. Most of the homes here have central air conditioning. That is where a central unit cools the air and blows it forcefully through the ductwork into the rooms of your house.
Ductless air conditioning systems are also called mini-split units. They have one outdoor unit that serves one or more indoor units. The air handler is usually mounted on an exterior wall. Holes are drilled in the wall, and a technician connects a refrigerant line, control wire and condenser tube from the outdoor condenser to the inside air handler. These mini-split unit lines are quite a bit easier to retrofit in an older home than ductwork. Sometimes, people use mini-splits to condition the spaces in older, historic homes. This retains the character of the home.
The refrigerant lines work with a heat exchanger and a fan to blow cool air into your rooms without ducts. Each indoor unit is placed in a zone and has its own thermostat.
Pros and Cons of Ductless AC
Ductless air conditioning is incredibly energy efficient. Since there’s no need to blow large volumes of air through the ducts, energy is saved. Also, energy is conserved by the inverter technology mini-split units use. Each system changes the alternating current, AC, to DC, direct current. This saves energy because the indoor units use less energy on DC power. You can save even more on electricity by turning off the cooling in rooms not being used.
Ductless air systems don’t require ductwork installation in your home. The installation of the ductless system is less expensive and less messy than it is with ductwork installation. Sometimes, retrofitting ductwork involves tearing down walls or lowering ceilings.
Ductless air conditioning may not be a good whole-house alternative when you have an open floor plan or if you have larger rooms in your house. The indoor units do not produce as many cooling BTUs that a central air conditioning system can. If you have a smaller home or a home with a closed floor plan and smaller rooms, a mini-split unit is ideal. In that use case, you can even purchase a heat pump mini-split system. A heat pump mini-split system will be able to heat and cool your home for year-round comfort.
Another drawback of ductless air is the high up-front cost. This is because most homes require a number of indoor air handlers. The maximum amount of air handlers for any one condenser is 8. If you need to cool more than the model’s maximum limit, you will need to purchase a second condenser.
Ductless air conditioning filters are smaller than their central air conditioning counterparts. That means they will accumulate contaminants more quickly. Fortunately, however, the filters can be rinsed in water. Ductless air conditioning systems recirculate the air in a home and don’t pull in refreshing outside air as a central air system does. This may not be suitable for you. If you have family members with allergies or asthma, central air systems refresh the air and have the option of placing more filtration in the ductwork. New products for indoor air quality, like UV germicidal filters, can be placed right in your ductwork. This gives you the option of whole-house air purification that you don’t have with mini-split systems.
Reliable Air Conditioning Installation in Greater Austin and Abilene
At Quality Cooling & Heating in Austin and Abilene, we are here for all of your air conditioning installation needs. We provide heating and cooling system installations, repairs and maintenance. We also perform indoor air quality services and duct cleaning. We sell humidifiers and dehumidifiers as well as energy-saving products. If you are in need of emergency repair, we provide 24/7 service. Call us today at Quality Cooling & Heating in the Greater Austin or Abilene areas for all of your air conditioning installation needs.