Do Ductless Air Conditioners Really Work?
Yes, ductless air conditioners really do work! The key is to have the system installed by a professional and take steps to manage the flow of cooled air in your home.
REenergizeCO is proud to help homeowners in Denver, Fort Collins, and throughout the Colorado Front Range improve their energy efficiency and reduce their electric bills with ductless air conditioners (also known as mini-split cooling). We can explore the advantages of ductless AC and determine if it’s right for you.
Contact REenergizeCO today for more information about ductless air conditioning and other energy-saving solutions for your home.
How Do Ductless Air Conditioners Work?
Central AC and heating systems rely on ductwork to carry treated air throughout the house. A mini-split system, meanwhile, uses a refrigerant line to transport cool air from an outside unit (the compressor) to one or more evaporator fans inside the house. (Note: Mini splits can also be used to heat a home.) The system is “ductless” because it does not use the customary HVAC ducts to move air.
If you install more than one mini split unit in your home, you can set them to different temperatures based on your needs. This is known as “zone cooling.”
Are Ductless Air Conditioners Worth It?
Ductless systems have been around for decades. While they are popular in Japan (where the first AC mini splits were invented), other parts of Asia, and Europe, you don’t see them very often in the United States.
That might change due to a couple of emerging trends:
Rising Energy Bills
Electricity prices have skyrocketed in recent years. Air conditioning and heating make up nearly half of the average American consumer’s monthly electric bill. The more it costs to heat or cool a home, the more interested in energy-efficient options people are.
On average, the cost to run a central air conditioner is about $110 per month. With mini splits, you can expect to pay much less—potentially as little as $20 to $30 per month, depending on the number of units and how much you run them.
Colorado is among the fastest-warming states in the country. The need for air conditioning is on the rise, but many Front Range-area homes don’t have AC.
Window-mounted air conditioners can help cool one room, but the rest of the house could be unbearable. You have the option of installing central air, but this can be prohibitively expensive. Ductless air conditioners represent a viable alternative for homeowners looking to stay cool.
Will a Ductless Air Conditioner Cool a Whole House?
Ductless air conditioners can indeed cool your entire house. It’s all about zoning.
Zoning refers to the process of dividing your home into areas that can be cooled by a single mini split. How many mini splits you need depends on the square footage of your home, the capacity of the units, and your individual needs.
Most ductless air conditioning units are 9,000 to 24,000 BTUs. On average, this will provide cooling to spaces ranging from 400 square feet to 1,500 square feet. More than one unit may be required if you have a large home and/or multiple stories, but you should be able to cool all the zones of the house with mini splits connected to a single compressor.
It is important to remember that the room where a mini split is installed will enjoy most of the cooling. However, air can travel through hallways to adjoining areas, creating a comfortable temperature for the house as a whole.
You will also need to adjust ductless air conditioners during the day to ensure the temperature remains comfortable. Mini splits offer you better control because you can set different units to different temperatures. This allows for more efficient cooling of the whole house compared to setting central AC.
What Are the Benefits of Mini Splits?
Now that we’ve established that ductless air conditioners really do work, it’s time to look at the advantages they provide. Reasons to consider ductless air conditioning for your home include:
- Efficiency: Ductless systems use a heat pump technology that transfers heat between indoor and outdoor units. This allows them to efficiently cool your indoor space in the summer by removing heat from indoor air and releasing it outside (the process is reversed to provide heating in the winter).
- Zoning Capability: The benefits of mini split zoning really cannot be overstated. You can adjust AC units in different rooms throughout the day, allowing you to manage the temperature independently for maximum comfort and eliminating the need to run the air in rooms you are not using.
- No Ducts: Up to 40% of your home’s cooling power may be lost due to leaky air ducts. Mini splits don’t use ducts, avoiding the downsides associated with inefficient ductwork.
- Flexible Installation: Mini-split units are commonly mounted on walls, but they can also be installed in the floor, along baseboards, and recessed into a ceiling. These options balance airflow and aesthetics.
- Easy Installation: In addition to costing less, installing a ductless system is significantly less disruptive than the installation required for HVAC systems. While installing ductwork involves opening up the walls, mini splits only require a small hole to feed refrigerant lines and electrical connections to the outdoor compressor.
- Quiet Operation: Ductless air conditioners are renowned for operating at low noise levels.
- Remote Control and Smart Features: Many ductless systems come with remote controls, timers, and even smart features that allow you to control the system from your smartphone. This enhances convenience and control over your indoor environment.
Proper sizing and installation are essential for optimizing a mini-split system. It is best to work with a professional who can help with all aspects of the process.
Interested in Ductless AC? REenergizeCO Can Help!
Before investing in energy efficiency improvements, you need to understand your energy consumption and where you may be losing money. REenergizeCO performs comprehensive home energy audits to provide customers with insights on their electric bill and ways they can start saving.
Mini splits are an exciting alternative to standard air conditioning options. If your home doesn’t have ductwork or you’re tired of that old window-mounted AC unit, ductless air conditioners may be right for you.