Why Ductless?

posted in Solutions on March 27, 2013

The process of heating or cooling your home comes down to simple physics.  When your home is full of hot air, a mechanism will force that out and replace it with cooler air.  Likewise, in the dead of winter, a mechanism will trade colder air for more comfortable, warmer air.  This mechanism has generally taken the form of a furnace, an air conditioner, and extensive ductwork throughout the inner structure of your home.  The obvious flaw in this is that your treated air must move from the furnace or outdoor condensing unit, through a tortured path of ductwork, and hopefully arrive at its desired location at something close to the proper temperature.  To make this work, your thermostat will need to compensate, and a desired temperature of 72 degrees on a hot summer day will push a unit harder than it sometimes need work.

A solution that we often recommend, and is becoming increasingly popular, is ductless air conditioning.  Much like the name implies, this is air conditioning that does not require extensive ductwork and is great for both new construction and for renovations to older homes.  Here’s how it works:

Ductless wall mountedA traditional “condenser” unit is installed outside the home.  Individual, slim-profile units are installed in each room desired.  The interior units are connected to the outdoor unit with refrigerant lines and tubing, eliminating the need for expensive ductwork.  The indoor unit will now take in air from outside and treat the air in your room.

There are some distinct advantages to using this sort of system, the first being the elimination of ductwork.  In an existing home, running ductwork may require cutting into ceilings and walls.  Your older ductwork may not have the integrity to carry treated air where it needs to go.  Older ductwork is often contaminated with dust, mold and other allergens.

Ductless also provides the advantage of being able to treat the air in individual rooms.  Your home has areas that are naturally hotter and colder.  Counting on one unit to provide an appropriate temperature to an active kitchen and a wide-open den at the same time just doesn’t make sense.  Each indoor unit has its own thermostat, so the outdoor unit can provide cooler air to your kitchen and warmer air to your den at the same time.Old ductwork

There are also ecological advantages to ductless systems.  Traditional and window-mounted units are prone to leaking coolant and water, contaminating soil and damaging your home.  This doesn’t even take into account how noisy they are.  We use Mitsubishi systems that are essentially self-contained, and do not leak.  They are quiet and easy to install.  In addition, each indoor unit contains a filter that can easily and quickly be changed or cleaned, eliminating allergens.

Finally, they will save you money.  Installation will be cheaper, as they are less labor-intensive to get in place, and the Mitsubishi models that we use require less maintenance than traditional units.  They come with great warranties, and last for years.  And at the end of the day, your energy bill will see welcome relief from not having a single unit working overtime to correct the varying temperatures throughout your home.