We’re advocates for ductless heating and cooling systems, also known as ductless mini split heat pumps, or just ductless mini splits. Homes that were built without ducts can enjoy excellent comfort with a ductless mini split, and new homes can be designed without having to hand over valuable space to ducts.
Ductless systems are new to many homeowners, so we receive plenty of questions about them. We’ve answered the major ones below.
How does an HVAC system work without ducts?
When you think about cooling a space without ductwork, you probably think about a window AC unit. Ductless systems work in a superficially similar way: they send cooled (or heated) air directly into the rooms from a unit that contains a fan and refrigerant coil. But this unit isn’t jammed into a window to access the outside. Instead, it hangs high up on the wall and connects to an outdoor unit through a refrigerant cable and power line that goes through a small hole behind it. From four to eight room units can be powered from a single outdoor unit, allowing for comfort around the house.
How does it cool and heat?
A ductless system is a type of heat pump, and like a standard central heat pump, it can switch the direction it moves refrigerant so that it brings heat into a space rather than removes it. Although you can purchase a “cooling only” unit, having a single heating and cooling option for your house is worth it—and heat pumps are ideally suited to Florida’s mild winters.
Do the wall units all turn on at the same time?
Nope! It’s one of the big advantages of a ductless mini split—zone heating and cooling. You can operate the wall units separate from each other. Each comes with a remote control for you to adjust it. You only need to provide heating/cooling to rooms that need it, and this helps to save energy.
Is a ductless system more energy efficient than other heat pumps?
In most cases, yes. The zone control is already a big money saver, but a ductless mini split heat pump has other efficiency advantages. The lack of ducts makes a big difference since it means there’s no heat loss or gain through duct walls, nor is any drop in performance because of clogged or leaking ducts. Ductless systems also have smaller motors that consume less power than a larger air handler used for a central system.
Why doesn’t every home use ductless systems?
Or, “If they’re so great, why hasn’t everyone bought them yet?” The truth is that no HVAC system is ideal for all homes. A house that has a ductwork system already installed is better of staying with using the ductwork. A ductless system is an option that works best for vintage homes or for renovation and new construction. A ductless system is also great for an add-on room: no need to rework the rest of the HVAC system for the new space, just hook it up with a mini split.
We offer super heating and air conditioning service in Gainesville, FL and can answer other questions you have about ductless heating and cooling.
Talk to our experts to learn more about ductless heat pumps. Touchstone Heating & Air Inc has served the communities of Northwest Florida since 1998.