What is a Ductless Air Conditioning System?

When researching air conditioning options for your home, you may have come across what is known as a “ductless” system. If you are like most homeowners, you’ve likely heard the term, but you may not know what it means or how having a ductless unit could help to cool one or more specific areas of your home.

These units have grown in popularity in recent times, and are often used in homes where an addition or remodeling work has been done — e.g., turning a garage into a workspace. In these situations, extending your home’s original ductwork into the new or remodeled space may not be an option. However, you still want to be sure that the area is kept cool and comfortable, especially during the dog days of summer.

So, how does a ductless system work?

Designed to be efficient, quiet when in operation, and able to be installed on a wall in a variety of configurations, these systems don’t use standard ductwork. You could have a ductless system set up with a “single-zone” configuration, meaning the unit will keep one space cooled. Or, you may opt to have a “multi-zone” configuration where one outdoor unit is connected to several indoor wall units in your home to cool a variety of spaces.

What components make up a ductless system?

There is one outdoor unit, and one or more indoor units (depending on the type of “zone” configuration you choose for your home). The outdoor and inside units are connected via refrigerant tubing and electrical wiring.

The indoor unit(s) is made of a blower fan and evaporator coil. The outdoor unit is comprised of a fan, condenser coil, and a compressor. The compressor pushes refrigerant into the home and to the indoor unit’s evaporator coil. During this process, the refrigerant that was once liquid turns into a gas. Warm, humid air from inside the home that is blowing across the coil is removed, and cooler air is pushed into the home. The gas then is moved back to the coil in the outdoor unit, where it changes back to a liquid after the heat is released through the coil.

What are the benefits of a ductless system?

You may be wondering how your family could benefit from having a ductless device. Check out some of the advantages to this type of cooling system:

  • They can be installed quickly. This is great news if you’re considering adding a ductless unit for a new home addition or remodeling project. With traditional central air conditioning systems, installation may require the addition of extra ductwork, which can result in a time-consuming (and expensive) installation.
  • You can have a variety of temperatures in your home. Ductless systems with a multi-zone configuration give you the ability to maintain a different temperature at each indoor unit.
  • They’re energy efficient. With a standard AC, you cool the entire home, which can result in higher energy bills during peak cooling season. With a ductless system, you can shut off indoor units in rooms and areas where you may not be spending time — e.g., shut it off in that newly added workspace in your garage after you’re finished for the day. This way, it’s not constantly running and costing you money on your energy bills.
  • They’re great for allergy-sufferers. Ductless units are designed with superior filtration, which prevents pollen and other outdoor airborne contaminants from causing problems for family members who have seasonal allergies. Central AC systems using ducts are known for indoor air quality problems if not regularly cleaned by a professional.

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