Ductless AC Units - An Alternative to Central Air
Looking for an alternative to a wall unit AC? Not able to add ductwork for central air? Ductless HVAC systems (or mini-split systems) maybe your answer! They are beautifully efficient and provide consistent room comfort. But the decision to install is different for every homeowner. We are starting to see more and more of them in homes in our area.
The Pros of a Ductless System
A ductless heat pump or air conditioner typically consists of a wall-mounted indoor unit combined with an outside compressor. Unlike window units, ductless units require only a very small hole to be drilled into the wall, making them less vulnerable to air leakage and security problems. Plus, they’re less visible and less noisy.
They’re also exceedingly energy-efficient! In the average house, you’re losing 25 percent or more of your energy to ductwork. Simply by removing the ducts, you end up with a more efficient system. Ductless models also have inverter-driven compressors, which speed up and slow down based on the needs of the system instead of shutting off entirely like traditional HVAC compressors. You consume a lot of energy during compressor start-up.
The Cons of a Ductless System
There are three strikes against ductless for most homeowners: up-front cost, regular maintenance and aesthetics.
For a single-room solution, ductless units cost several times more than comparable window units or baseboard heating units. And in whole-house terms, if you replace your existing central heating/cooling system with a complete ductless solution, you may pay two-to-three times the cost of simply replacing with another unit. You’ll get lower energy bills in return, but how long will it take to recoup the upfront cost?