Ductless Mini-Splits

Would a ductless mini split system work well for your Worcester County, MA home or business?
If you live in New England, you know that the winters are cold, summers are hot and old-style window unit air conditioners are very expensive to run and inefficient loud, and inefficient to run. Ductless mini split air conditioners and heat pumps are extremely quiet and energy efficient and provide an excellent solution for comfort year-round. Ductless systems are a wonderful way to solve everything from hot and cold spots in a home to providing conditioning for an entire house. It is possible to run up to eight indoor heads off just one outdoor unit, giving you the ability to control both heating and cooling in a single room. This allows you to decide the ideal temperature in each individual room. Ductless systems can greatly reduce your energy costs, especially when paired with existing solar power systems, and may also be eligible for large rebates from your local utility companies.

How do ductless systems work?

They have two main components: an indoor unit that is installed by mounting it either on a wall or ceiling and an outdoor unit (condenser) that is more compact than a traditional air conditioner. These components are connected by refrigerant lines and an electrical conduit. Warm air from the room blows over and is absorbed by the evaporator coil in the indoor unit. From there, the refrigerant transfers all that inside heat to the outdoor unit.

Instead of a central indoor unit connected by long lengths of ductwork transporting warm and cool air back and forth, a mini-split system places small units directly in each room, which pull in warm air and send it back out as cold air. A popular alternative to traditional air conditioners, mini-splits involve much less intrusive installation, blend in better with the room and are much quieter then old-style window units. This makes ductless mini splits a great solution for many applications where a traditional heating and air system won’t fit.

Can a ductless system handle HEATING and COOLING a whole house?

The answer is YES!

Outfitted with high-efficiency components and advanced features, today’s ductless systems can meet the whole-house heating and cooling demands of even the most efficiency-minded homes and projects.Cold climate, also referred to as low ambient ductless units are specially-designed to operate at very low temperatures. Many can run at 100 percent efficiency down to 0°F and at decreased efficiency down into the negatives. As a result, these can work in many cold climates for much of the year with needing any supplemental heat. If you live in an area that experiences frigid winters, you will definitely want to consider one of these mini split system for when the temperature dips below zero. Look for the HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) rating for each brand below to get an idea of the heating capabilities – the higher the HSPF, the better it will perform with greater efficiency.

Decor Options

With the wide variety of options for indoor units there is no need to sacrifice aesthetics to go ductless. Indoor models are available in wall mount, floor mount, ceiling cassette and even slim ducted configurations

Wall mounted:
Wall mounted Mini split systems are ideal for average-sized rooms with at least 7′- 8′ high ceilings. They need to be mounted high on the wall (approximately 6 feet high).

Mounting too low can hamper air distribution. If you have low ceilings or are aiming to condition a furnished attic, you should consider installing a floor-mounted unit instead. Wall mounted units are available in multiple different colors and finishes and if appearance is what your concerned with, Art Cool units feature a flat panel surface with smoked charcoal mirror finish, creating a sleek, contemporary silhouette; and the Art Cool Gallery unit provides a 20-by-20 inch square panel that works like a picture frame—allowing the consumer to insert their own artwork or photograph.

Floor mounted:
Floor mount systems are ideal for residential radiator replacements or any room with limited upper wall space, like a kitchen or sunroom. These units are compact in size, at less than 24” high and 30” wide, floor mount models fit easily under a standard window and can replace a radiator twice its size while producing more capacity.

Having both upper and lower airflow quickly warms or cools the entire room. Floor mount can be set in “Upward Airflow Only” when occupants wish not to have feet warmed or cooled.

Although not the first choice in a typical installation, they can be a lifesaver in difficult areas. Depending upon the layout of the room, a floor-mounted indoor unit might be just what you’re looking for.

Ceiling cassette:
Although most mini split indoor units are wall-mounted, for a more seamless look you may opt for a ceiling cassette. Ceiling cassette units come in different styles and boast interesting features to meet the needs of various applications. If you have a large room with hot or cold spots, a ceiling cassette can fix that. They have four outlets that blow air – one on each side.

What is a Ducted ‘Ductless’ system?

Not every homeowner wants to look at wall-mounted units in their living spaces.

Enter the ducted mini-split heat pump, which offers a more aesthetically pleasing option for homeowners who are hesitant about the look of wall-mounted, ceiling-recessed, or other ductless options, and for the majority of homes in the U.S. that already have ductwork in place, the ducted mini split offers a viable alternative to central HVAC systems

In the U.S., most homeowners have central heating and cooling systems that utilize ductwork, and when it comes time to replace that equipment, they usually opt for another central system. However, ducted mini splits should be considered as they can increase energy efficiency while taking advantage of a home’s infrastructure. And, depending on the design, ducted mini-split systems can potentially reduce concerns about duct leakage and/or IAQ problems that can occur with forced-air systems.

With ducted mini-split systems, evaporators are generally located close to the distribution point, which leads to a reduced amount of air leakage and dirt build-up in ductwork related to mini-split systems.

With the right system, you can combine ductless and ducted indoor units for the ultimate in flexibility, system compatibility, personalized comfort, and even price point.These systems make it easy to employ ducted components in one zone and ductless technology in another. This results in more system customization, up to 40 percent more energy efficiency, and easier installation than traditional systems.

By combining ducted and ductless indoor units, you can reap the benefits of newer technologies without having to totally replace your existing HVAC infrastructure. Replacing your existing central air and/or furnace with a multi-position ducted system that makes use of existing ductwork can substantially decrease the cost of new equipment, labor, and installation.

Choosing a system that blends ductless and ducted units, means greater design flexibility when choosing units, including the traditional ducted vents. There are also discreet options with units that recess into the ceiling or, if enough space is available, into the floor or soffit, and utilize short-run, low-profile ductwork.

In addition to using existing ductwork, ducted mini-split systems allow users to take advantage of high-efficiency inverter technology

The whisper-quiet operation of these systems makes them nearly imperceptible, unlike conventional HVAC equipment that noisily cycles on and off.

Individualized Comfort Control

Different people have widely divergent views on just what constitutes a “comfortable” temperature, and battling over thermostat settings can be a huge contributor to family discord. Installing a ductless mini split system, though, can put an end to that particular source of household strife. Unlike conventional HVAC systems that treat every room in your house equally, zoned systems divide and conquer individualized climate control. Separate thermostats let occupants set temperatures that make them feel comfortable without having to worry about how their comfort may be affecting people in other rooms. Air handlers within each zone measure the return air temperature and automatically adjust the conditions to match the local controller setting, rather than reacting to conditions elsewhere in the house. Additionally, zoned systems ensure energy isn’t wasted cooling or heating unoccupied rooms, saving homeowners energy and lowering operating costs.

Is it possible to heat and cool a multi-room space with one single-zone ductless heat pump?

The simple answer is yes!

Ultimately a multi zone system works best with multiple rooms, but, in a home with proper air flow, it is possible to heat or cool the entire home with one single zone unit because the system is continuously engaged in transferring heat energy and circulating treated air throughout the home.

When deciding on a single-zone system verses a multi-zone system with additional indoor units, consider whether you are comfortable with an ‘open door’ policy. That is, if you are comfortable with leaving the doors to your bedrooms or other rooms open.

If you are looking to keep your doors closed, have multiple different floors, or conditions aren’t ideal in your home, a multi-zone configuration would be best for you.

Will ductless systems better indoor air quality?

Since ductless systems do not require ducts, the likelihood that indoor air is contaminated by pollutants is reduced, thanks to improved air filtration. Ductless systems also do not collect and circulate air pollutants, hence reducing common particulates and significantly improving indoor air quality.

Another key advantage of ductless systems over ducted systems is that ductwork can become damaged or separated. When this happens, conditioned air leaks and goes into unwanted spaces. That means that you will be paying more for cooled air that you do not use. Damaged ductwork also leaves the ducts vulnerable to contaminants which could enter the ducts and mix with distributed air.

Best applications for mini splits

• Home renovations

• Home additions

• Sun rooms

• Garages

• Hot and Cold Spots

• Zoning

• Solar power systems

• Improved comfort

• Lowering Heating and Cooling cost

What are the disadvantages of ductless systems?

Upfront cost:
The main disadvantage of ductless systems is the cost, using a ductless system, the upfront costs can be high if you’re planning on doing an entire home using a ductless system

Ventilation air:
Another disadvantage of a ductless system is that outside air – or ventilation air – can’t be integrated into the ductless system like it can in a ducted system, although some styles like ceiling cassettes and ducted mini splits can allow for integration.

Central unit add-ons:
Because there’s no ductwork to distribute the airflow throughout the entire home, central unit add ons like whole house humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air cleaning, and air purifying systems can’t be paired with most mini split units.

Just like anything else, mini split units require maintenance if you want the to be efficient and last a long time. One drawback is, there is more labor required to perform a proper maintenance on a mini split system than a conventional central system. This higher cost will slightly offsett on the money saved on energy efficiency.

How long will a mini split system last?

When adequately maintained, it’s estimated that most mini split ductless air conditioners last for about 20 years. This is far beyond the 12 to 15 years that most conventional systems last, so it’s fairly safe to assume that your mini split system will last longer than most other options. However, you are responsible for scheduling regular maintenance with an HVAC company.

Premier Heating and Cooling maintains, repairs, and installs all makes and models of ductless mini splits

Contact Premier Heating & Cooling today for your no obligation consultation for your ductless mini split installation in Worcester MA, and surrounding areas.