Ductless air conditioners function similarly to central air conditioners, but without the use of ducts. Ductless HVAC systems, often known as “mini-splits” or “zoned heating and cooling systems,” work like a standard air conditioner without the use of ductwork. They take in hot, humid air from within a room on a hot day, then remove the heat and moisture before dumping it outdoors. The majority of mini-splits can also be used as a heat pump. This implies that the outside unit takes heat from the outdoors and transports it indoors to boost the temperature of each room.
The primary distinction between central air conditioning and ductless air conditioning is how heated/cooled air is distributed. A ductless HVAC system distributes cold or conditioned air directly to each room without the use of ducts. Cooled air travels through ductwork and is distributed to each room via air ducts and vents in central air conditioning.
Mini-split air conditioners are an excellent addition to homes with hydronic heat, radiant heat panels, or space heaters.
Are Mini-Split Air Conditioners Capable of Cooling an Entire House?
Many homeowners are hesitant to install ductless heating and cooling systems because they are concerned about the efficiency of ductless versus central air. Ductless air conditioning, on the other hand, is equally as efficient at cooling and heating as central air. The difference is that ductless AC systems chill each room separately rather than blasting cool air through the entire ductwork system.
For a single exterior condenser unit in a residential residence, you can normally install up to four inside air handlers (up to four zones or rooms).
Ductless System Components and Basic Operation
The ductless air conditioning system, like a central air conditioning system, collects heat from the air inside the house, transports it through a conduit, and expels it into the outside.
Refrigerant absorbs heat energy from inside rooms in the form of a low-pressure liquid. Cool air is circulated throughout the house by an internal blower. The refrigerant changes state into a low-pressure gas as it absorbs heat and flows via the suction conduit to the outside compressor. The compressor converts the refrigerant into a high-pressure liquid, and the heat is released into the atmosphere. The interior unit (evaporator) and the outer unit (condenser / compressor) make up a ductless HVAC system.
Indoor Ductless Air Conditioner
The evaporator unit makes up the indoor unit. This can be put on the wall or on the ceiling in a slim fit unit. From the outside unit, refrigerant is pumped into the evaporator using thin copper tubing. Ductwork in the walls, attic, or basement is no longer required.
Warm air from within the home is collected and blown over refrigerant-filled evaporator coils. Heat and humidity are removed from the air, and the heat energy is delivered to the outside unit for dissemination via copper tubing. The interior room is blown with cold air.
Ductless Outdoor Unit
A ductless HVAC system’s outside unit is made up of three parts:
- Coil for condensation
- Blower or fan
Every air conditioning system is powered by a compressor. The compressor in a ductless AC system uses condensation to turn low-pressure gas into high-pressure gas.
Coil for Condensation
The hot refrigerant is converted from a high-pressure gas to a high-pressure liquid by the condenser coil.
Blower or Fan
The exterior unit’s fan both disperses heat to the environment and draws air through the condensing coil.
What’s the Difference Between a Mini-Split and a Multi-Split Air Conditioning System?
Air Conditioning Systems with Mini-Splits
There is only one interior fan coil and one outside condenser in a micro split. This configuration works well for cooling a single room without putting too much strain on the system. Multiple outdoor condensing units can be used together to provide cooling for an entire building if there is enough room for them.
Each unit will have its own temperature control in this type of installation. If one unit fails, the other will take over.
Multiple Split Air Conditioning Systems
In a multi-split system, one condenser unit is coupled to many indoor air handlers. The thermostat for each indoor air handler is different. When the cooling mechanism is activated, all of the indoor units activate simultaneously. This configuration is cost-effective, however it should only be used in buildings with identical cooling requirements.
To achieve zoning with a multi-split ductless air conditioning system, the condensing unit must be fixed with individual compressor circuits that are piped to separate air handlers. A multi-zone device can cool or heat numerous rooms or zones, while a single-zone mini-split can only cool or heat one.
Individual thermostats in multi-split AC systems allow various rooms to regulate temperature independently.
What is the Process of a Ductless Heat Pump?
In moderate, Mediterranean climates like ductless HVAC units with heat pumps function well. The refrigerant in a ductless heat pump can flow in either direction thanks to a reversing valve. The heat pump may thus take ambient heat from the outside environment and transmit it into the residence. An electric heat strip can be used to supplement heat in colder climates.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Ductless Air Conditioning System
A ductless air conditioning system, like a central air conditioning system, has benefits and drawbacks.
Advantages of Mini-Split Systems
Ductless air conditioning has three major advantages: energy efficiency, reduced air leakage, and reduced noise during operation.
Condensers require power when central air conditioning systems are turned on. In ductless systems, inverter-driven compressors slow down or speed up depending on the house’s cooling or heating needs.
Mini-split ductless air conditioners use 20% to 30% less energy than central air conditioners for the same cooling output.
Second, compared to a central air conditioner or a window-mounted AC unit, there is better cooling efficiency. As air is pushed along the network or ductwork in a ducted HVAC system, up to 25% of the cooling effectiveness is lost. There is some air loss via the window with a window mounted AC unit. Only tiny incisions are required to attach the internal unit and connect it to the outside condenser with ductless AC. This means that each room will have more cool air.
Finally, ductless cooling systems are quieter than central air conditioning.
Disadvantages of Ductless Air Conditioning
For ductless air conditioning systems, the inside unit is wall mounted. This look may be unappealing to certain homeowners. Air intake registers are located throughout the house in a ducted HVAC system. If you can see past the wall-mounted device’s appearance, ductless air conditioning is equally as effective as a ducted central air conditioning unit.
What is the Ideal Ductless Situation?
Ductless heating and cooling may be the best option for your home, depending on its construction. In many circumstances, mini-splits may offer heating and cooling for the entire house. Ductless has a demonstrable advantage over central air in some situations.