Post: What Is a Ductless System?

Ductless HVAC, also called a ductless mini-split or a ductless heat pump, is a reliable and environmentally friendly option for heating and cooling your home. If you’re looking to save money on your utility bills while enjoying lower-maintenance climate control, you might want to know more about what ductless systems are, how they differ from traditional ducted HVAC and the benefits and potential downsides of having a ductless system installed in your home.

How Do Ductless Systems Work?

Like a central air conditioner or heat pump, ductless mini-splits have both an indoor air handler and an outdoor compressor, but the two systems are different. The primary distinction between the two is that a conventional HVAC system uses a single air handler or furnace, requiring a network of air ducts to deliver heating and cooling to your home. In contrast, a ductless system relies on compact air handlers mounted in each room or zone of your home, with no ductwork needed.

Types of Ductless Systems

You can choose whether to configure your ductless mini-split as a single-zone system, with one indoor unit corresponding to one outdoor compressor. Alternatively, in a multi-zone ductless system, one outdoor compressor can work with several separately controlled indoor units that allow you to cool or heat each room individually. If you’re often sweating while your spouse is huddled in a blanket beside you, a multi-zone ductless system might be worth looking into.

Any investment in home improvement will likely require some research on your part. If you’re thinking about switching from a traditional ducted HVAC unit to a ductless mini-split – or adding a ductless heat pump to your existing HVAC system – here are some basics that will help you decide.

Pros and Cons of Going Ductless

People considering installing a ductless mini-split system should be aware of the unique advantages and disadvantages it brings. These factors include the following.

Benefits of Ductless Mini-Splits

  • Easy installation: If you’re building an addition to your home, a ductless mini-split can keep the new space comfortable without needing to reconfigure your ductwork. As a result, Pileiro’s experienced HVAC technicians can often complete a same-day ductless system installation. Instead of tearing down walls and reconfiguring complex ductwork, a ductless mini-split installation requires drilling a single hole.
  • Versatility: You can use mini-splits to condition individual rooms or spots in your home that are challenging to heat or cool effectively. If you and your family have frequent disagreements about the temperature, a ductless mini-split could be a quick and practical solution. If desired, you could have your HVAC installer set up your ductless system to create multiple temperature zones throughout your living space. Each separate unit would have a dedicated remote control, allowing you to adjust the temperature with ease.
  • Quiet: Ductless systems are quiet and discreet, keeping your home the peaceful haven it should be.
  • A low-maintenance option: Ductwork requires routine inspections, cleaning and maintenance to make your HVAC system work more efficiently and help people breathe more easily. A ductless system doesn’t need any of this upkeep.
  • Improves indoor air quality: Dust and allergens can get trapped within air ducts, which then circulate these pollutants throughout your vents. If anyone in your family lives with respiratory issues, they’ll appreciate cleaner indoor air with a ductless system.
  • Decreases your carbon footprint: We should all do our part to combat climate change. Switching from a traditional ducted HVAC system to a ductless one can benefit our shared environment by keeping more heated and cooled air inside your home, instead of allowing it to escape through leaks, holes or cracks in your ductwork.

Potential Downsides of Ductless Systems

  • Higher initial cost: Some ductless systems can be several times more expensive to install than traditional HVAC units. The upfront cost represents a barrier for many homeowners, though a ductless mini-split can pay for itself over time thanks to the energy savings it can provide. Keep in mind that installing a more energy-efficient system might also make you eligible for rebates or tax incentives.
  • Aesthetics: In contrast with small, unobtrusive air registers, ductless systems’ indoor air exchangers can seem a bit awkward. You can’t cover them up, because doing so prevents them from doing their job. If appearance concerns you, you may wish to consider more inconspicuous ceiling-mounted units.
  • Filter requirements: To keep your mini-split’s air exchangers in good condition, you’ll need to clean your air filters every month – more regularly if you have pets or if anyone in the household smokes. If you fail to take care of your mini-split system, its efficiency will suffer, and the resulting wear and tear might lead to costly repairs in your future.

Ductless vs. Central Air: Expert Installation Makes a Difference

Whether you choose a mini-split system or a traditional HVAC unit, installation can be a complicated task requiring specialized training and tools to get the job done safely and correctly. You can void your equipment’s warranty if you damage it with faulty DIY work. 

How big of a ductless system do you need? If you lack the knowledge required to determine your load calculation, you might struggle to figure this out. A professional, licensed HVAC installer from Pileiro Heating & Cooling can also calculate the correctly sized system for your home based on factors such as your square footage and how well-insulated your house is. You won’t waste money or energy on an oversized or undersized system, and you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ve made the best decision for your property.

Quality HVAC Installation, Service and Maintenance in Ocean City, New Jersey

Responsible homeownership requires making informed decisions about protecting your investment and ensuring every member of your household is as comfortable as possible. If you have questions about ductless HVAC, please contact us at Pileiro Heating & Cooling.

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