Ductless air conditioners and heaters efficiently control and maintain indoor temperatures in a specific area or room. They give you the flexibility to provide ancillary heating and cooling or dedicated climate control in an area. Before you install a new ductless HVAC system, however, it is important to understand how they work.

So, what is a ductless mini split? A ductless air conditioning and heating system, also known as a mini-split, links indoor units to an outdoor compressor. Like traditional HVAC systems, the indoor and outdoor units work together to deliver comfortable temperatures. However, the difference between mini splits and regular HVAC systems is that there is no complex ductwork system delivering cold and warm air. Ductless mini-splits are a popular alternative to traditional equipment because they require simpler installation, blend with a room better, and are quieter and very energy-efficient.

How does a mini-split system work?

As discussed, a mini-split system relies on an indoor unit and an outdoor unit to provide warm and cool air. The indoor unit contains evaporator coils that are cooled with refrigerant. Warm air drawn in from the room blows over the coils, and the heat and humidity are absorbed. As the air is cooled, it is redistributed around the room. The refrigerant travels to the outdoor unit and transfers all the heat and humidity outside.

Instead of a complex system of ductwork running through walls and floors, a mini-split system only needs a small copper or PVC pipe connecting the outdoor and indoor units. All of the cooling and air handling is taken care of by the indoor unit, and the outside equipment converts the refrigerant. The small pipe transfers the refrigerant between the units. Because there is no ductwork system, the unit has limited capacity to heat and cool a room or certain area. Depending on your system, you might be able to get several indoor units connected to the same outdoor equipment.

What are the advantages of mini splits?

Installing a traditional system in your home is a major undertaking and can be very expensive. However, mini-split installation is much easier and less costly without expensive ductwork or major construction. Along with the benefit of saving on installation, these systems are also extremely energy-efficient. Often, ductless mini splits have some of the best SEER ratings, which means they are more energy-efficient than many other systems. Additionally, without ductwork, you eliminate air loss and energy usage due to leaky joints or vents. You will save money on installing and operating a mini-split system.

Traditional HVAC systems are notorious for circulating allergens and other contaminants throughout your home. Many experts suggest that over the course of a year, several pounds of dirt, dust, pet dander, and allergens collect inside of ductwork. As a result, many people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses have to invest in HEPA air filters and other things to maintain clean indoor air. However, there is no ductwork to worry about with a mini-split system. Additionally, many indoor units are equipped with sophisticated filtration cartridges that create a multi-stage filtration system. Mini-splits can circulate cleaner air and help with indoor air quality.

What are the limitations of a mini-split?

Because of the size of the unit and lack of power, mini-split systems may not be ideal for heating and cooling an entire home. These systems are more effective for specific rooms or areas in many cases. Some of the larger systems can handle a small apartment. If you have a sunroom that gets too hot or a garage conversion that needs air conditioning, a mini-split will be the perfect solution. Some systems are capable of running multiple indoor units at the same time.

Ductless mini-split systems come with many advantages. From offering a flexible HVAC option to running at peak efficiency, a mini-split might be the perfect solution for your needs.