Ductless Air Conditioners – Advantages and Disadvantages
Mini split air conditioners, or ductless air conditioners, are perfect for houses with open heating systems. These may include radiant panels, hot water heating, and space heaters (propane, kerosene, wood). They can also be a good choice for singular rooms where it is not feasible to install a ductwork system.
Ductless conditioners have two central components, just like with any other heat pumps that use external air sources. These components are an indoor air-processing unit and outdoor condenser or compressor. The conduit holds the suction tubing, refrigerant tubing, condensate drain, and power cables.
The main advantages of ductless air conditioners are their flexibility and small size. They can zone heat/cool individual rooms or be used to heat/cool entire households. Some models can handle up to four air-processing units (for 4 different rooms) that are connected to a single outdoor unit. The exact number will depend on how much cooling or heating is needed for each zone or building. Each room will have its own thermostat, so the room will only need to be condition if someone is occupying it. Turning off unused zones will save both energy and money.
Mini split conditioners are also much easier to install compared to similar systems. Since they have no ducts, there is less energy loss that is associated with central air system ductwork. Compared to other add-on air systems, a mini split provides more options for interior design. The air handlers can be mounted on a drop ceiling, hung on walls, or suspended from a roof. Floor standing models are also available. Most units have high tech and stylish looking covers with a remote control so it can easily be turned off or on when suspended on the ceiling.
The high cost is the biggest disadvantage for ductless air conditioners. These systems can cost between one thousand to two thousand dollars per ton of cooling capacity. This is about 30% more than central air systems and can cost twice as much as a standard window unit.
During installation, each indoor unit will need to be correctly sized and the device will need to be placed in the perfect location. Incorrectly locating or over-sizing air handlers can result in short cycling. This can waste energy and results in improper humidity and temperature control. A large system is also much more expensive to purchase and operate.
Some people will not like the indoor section of this system. Although it is less intrusive-looking than a window conditioner, they do not have the small and built-in style of a central air system. There also needs to be an area to clear the condensation next for the outdoor unit. If there is no drain nearby, the entire area may eventually flood.
A qualified service team who knows how to deal with mini split systems must do installation. In addition, most cooling and heating contractors have large investments in ducted systems. As a result, they do not recommend ductless systems, especially if it will be difficult for them to install.
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