Nobody likes to sit around their house sweating when the dog days of summer roll around. Your home should be a place of comfort and relaxation but without air conditioning, this can be next to impossible when the mercury climbs high and a simple fan just won’t cut it.
With energy prices being what they are and the cost and hassle of installing new ductwork for a central air conditioning unit being beyond the reach of many families, many people simply sweat out the summer months, making do with what they have and never realizing there is another option. That’s where ductless air conditioners come in!
The main difference between ductless air conditioning units and their central air counterparts is right there in the name, ductless systems don’t require existing ductwork or require additional ductwork installation to function properly.
Ductless AC units are made of up of 4 main components:
This is the part of the AC system that disperses the cool air throughout the interior of your home. They can be mounted on the wall or even the ceiling, based on your personal preference and structural demands.
This is the larger outdoor unit responsible for pumping the cool air through the refrigerant conduits to the air handler that is responsible for dispersing it throughout the interior of the home.
These are the lines that connect the indoor unit to the outdoor and allow for the transfer of cool air from the outdoor condenser to the air handler. These conduits also contain lines for the transfer of power and contain lines that act as an outlet for water condensate.
Depending on the make and model of your ductless AC unit, your unit may include a remote control, wall monitor, or both to allow for easy control over the functions of your AC.
All of these components add up to an AC system that doesn’t require the intrusive installation of ductwork, functions comparably to a traditional AC unit, and offers extreme flexibility as to where the indoor units can be placed.
If you know it’s time to invest in a new AC but live in a home with no existing ductwork, these units are the perfect way to achieve your summertime comfort goals. However, ductless AC units offer more than simple flexibility!
Central AC units require a lot of energy to move all that air through the ductwork of a home and there are thermal losses associated with ductwork, especially when the cool air moves through ducts that run through warmer, uncooled areas of the home, such as the attic. In fact, duct losses can account for more than 30% of the energy required to operate forced-air systems!In addition to duct losses, forced air systems have to cool the entire interior of the home at the same time, unlike ductless systems that allow for strategic placement of indoor units in only the areas that need cooling.They also allow you to choose which rooms to cool and when. This means you won’t have to put up with household arguments over the ideal temperature, because each user can choose the level of cooling for the unit in their room.
This is, of course, in addition to the energy savings you will achieve by being able to strategically cool specific areas of the home instead of cooling the entire space at once.
There are various models of ductless air conditioners that are capable of cooling either a single zone or a number of zones at once. As you add to the number of zones you wish to cool, you will also be adding to the cost. If you live in a house with multiple rooms, choosing a unit that is capable of cooling them all becomes more important. However, there is a benefit to having a multi-zone unit, you can choose different temperatures for each individual zone or even turn off the AC in zones that are unoccupied. This is not only an advantage that isn’t present with other types of systems but also a money-saving feature that shouldn’t be ignored.
The power of AC units is measured in BTU’s. As the amount of space you wish to cool increases, there is a corresponding increase in the amount of BTU’s required to do so. Different models will offer different specs, but you can do the calculations yourself based on the specs provided by the manufacturer.
This table provides a general guideline as to how BTU’s translate into the amount of space cooled:
These numbers, while not exact, will provide you with a decent overview of the amount of power that will be required to cool your space. If you live in an area where the temperature frequently rises above 32° C, you should add about 30% to the number of required BTU’s.
With an investment as big as installing a ductless AC system, you want to be sure your unit is in it for the long haul. Many ductless systems come with a warranty, so you know you are covered for a specific period of time and won’t have to worry too much about the cost of repairs within that time-frame.
It’s important to do a little research on each individual brand you are considering for purchase, especially user reviews. Checking user reviews is one of the best ways to suss out which brands are prone to malfunction and which you can expect to keep trucking along for years to come.
For more information about the durability and quality of certain brands, please see the “Brands” section below.
Many ductless AC systems also offer additional functionality. Common features include the ability to heat a space as well as cool it, remote controls, programmable timers, and reusable air filters.
As you might expect, the more features a particular system has, the higher the price will be.
Walker ClimateCare carries the Keep Rite line of ductless air conditioners.
This brand’s ductless AC units receive generally positive feedback, and is a solid choice for most buyers.
Many also noted that these units run very quietly compared to others. Overall, a fairly solid brand, according to customer reviews.