The Homeowner’s Guide to Ductless Air Conditioners

As a homeowner, it’s likely you spend a good amount of time in your home. Consequently, you want to make it as comfortable as you can, and temperature control is one of the largest determining factors. No one wants their home to be too cold, but being too warm can be just as discomforting. When it comes to getting air conditioning installation, you have quite a few options to choose from. While there are plenty of relatively traditional HVAC systems you can choose from, a ductless air conditioner may be the right choice for your air conditioning installation. Keep reading to learn more about ductless air conditioners and how they may benefit you.

They Have Two Names

These units go by two very different names that are used rather interchangeably. If you’re unfamiliar with them, it can be especially confusing when trying to choose the right system for your home. Besides the term ductless air conditioner, these systems are also called mini-split air conditioners. The reason they’re sometimes called mini-splits is that the systems are split into two different main units and several independent air handlers, according to Carbon Switch.

They have the additional feature of “zone control.” This means that each individual air handler can be set to a different temperature. While this is ultimately a very convenient benefit for any scenario, it’s especially beneficial to homes with more family members who prefer different temperatures in the home.

They Can Cool and Heat Rooms

The term air conditioner may be misleading when it comes to understanding what ductless air conditioners can do. Of course, they can cool rooms as traditional air conditioners can, but they can also heat rooms. Ductless air conditioners with heat pumps provide the additional benefit of heating the home rather efficiently.

According to Trane, heat pumps work by performing a heat transfer cycle between the indoor and outdoor units. When the temperature is cold, a heat pump can pull heat from the ground or air outside and transfer it into the home. Similarly, when the temperature is warm, the heat pump reverses its functions to divert the flow of refrigerant.

There Are Three Mini-Split Types

According to Family Handyman, there are three different types of mini-split systems, classified primarily by how they’re mounted. Wall-mounted units are mounted to the wall, and they tend to be the most common. They have mechanized vanes at the bottom that push airflow out and down.

Ceiling-recessed units are mounted into the ceiling in a recessed manner. They send air out in four different directions simultaneously and tend to be ideal for a large room or open floor plan. Lastly, floor-mounted units are installed at the bottom of a wall, mounted a few inches from the floor. These units direct air upwards toward the ceiling. Since they’re close to the floor, they’re easy to clean and access for any maintenance or operation without a remote. When planning for an air conditioning installation, make sure to consider which type of unit fits your needs most.

They Have Different Capacities

Ductless air conditioners have different capacities based on the size of the space. According to Trane, air conditioner capacity is often measured in British Thermal Units, BTU. This measurement unit refers to how much energy an air conditioner uses to remove heat from a home within an hour.

According to HGTV, a space between 250 and 300 square feet requires a ductless system with a capacity of 7,000 BTUs per hour. For a space between 150 and 250 square feet, you’ll want a unit with a capacity of 6,000 BTUs per hour. Lastly, for a space between 300 and 350 square feet, you should use a unit with a capacity of 8,000 BTUs per hour. When measuring the space, calculate the room’s total square feet, including additional space, such as closets. Additionally, spaces that are less insulated will require larger systems, but it’s best to focus on insulating the home well before getting a larger unit for your air conditioning installation.

They Have Two Energy Efficiency Metrics

Another metric you’ll want to keep an eye out for when planning for air conditioning installations is energy efficiency. As a homeowner, the more energy-efficient you can make your home the better. It’ll make a difference in your utility bills and general system maintenance. On top of reducing energy costs, higher energy efficiency could mean less frequent or less expensive system maintenance, according to Trane.

According to Family Handman, there are two main energy-efficiency metrics you’ll want to know for your air conditioning installation. According to Trane, Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, SEER, is the ratio of a unit’s cooling output over a typical cooling season divided by the energy it consumes in Watt-Hours. Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, HSPF, is a measurement of how well a heat pump can heat a home during cold weather months. The higher the number is for either metric, the more energy-efficient a unit is. The United States Department of Energy requires a SEER or at least 15 for mini-split units, while Energy Star requires a SEER of 20 or 25 and an HSPF of 8.2 or higher.

They’re Particularly Convenient

Ductless air conditioners provide several convenient benefits for homeowners to take advantage of. The ability to control each room’s temperature separately is a big advantage that’s sure to catch the attention of many homeowners, but let’s see some of the other benefits. Since these units operate without a duct, unlike traditional air conditioners, they reduce the air loss that often occurs through duct leaks. Consequently, they can save an additional 20% to 30%, according to HGTV.

Additionally, due to their construction and how they’re installed, these units take up little space in your home. You can place them in several different spaces, whichever one works best for your preferences or space demands. Many ductless air conditioners also provide additional dehumidifier capabilities without needing to simultaneously cool rooms like standard air conditioners. This is especially beneficial during cold, humid weather.

They Still Require Maintenance

As magical as these mini-split systems sound, they do still require maintenance after an air conditioning installation. They may not require as much upkeep as a standard air conditioner, but it’s still important for you to take their maintenance just as seriously. According to Carrier, it’s ideal to clean the unit cabinet periodically to prevent dirt and dust from collecting. Every four to six weeks, the indoor units’ air filters should be inspected and cleaned, per the manufacturer’s recommendations. The outdoor unit should also be checked routinely to remove debris from the base or between the fins.

There are also maintenance procedures that only air conditioning companies will be able to perform for you. Those include inspecting, cleaning, and replacing internal components. After receiving AC installation services, make sure to establish a regular maintenance schedule with the professionals and ask for any advice on maintaining the system between appointments. If you believe you may need an ac repair, ensure you receive service as soon as possible.

Now that you know all the important details of owning and maintaining a ductless air conditioner, you can get one of your own. Do your best to consider which type of unit you need for your home and how you’ll want to get it installed by a professional. For all your HVAC needs, contact Comfort Zone Air Conditioning & Heating LLC today.

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