The kids are out of school and driving you crazy. Summer is officially here. You flip the thermostat switch from Heat to Cool, set the indoor temperature, and nothing happens. You flip the switch again. Nothing happens. The AC professional has bad news once he’s looked at your system. You need a new one. Should you go with a duct or ductless system? Here’s some helpful information to guide your choice.
Ductless Air Conditioners
There isn’t much difference between how the two systems work. One advantage of a ductless system, however, is you avoid the ducts and the allergens, dust, grime, and mold that can come with them. Your ductless system could be a split system that would be comprised of two elements: outdoor and indoor units. The outdoor unit houses the AC’s compressor, condensing coil, and fan. The indoor unit houses a condensing coil and fan, and there can indoor units in each room if necessary.
Don’t let the split system confuse you. If you ask the question, “how do ductless air conditioners work,” the answer is quite simple. In general, the system’s compressor transforms low-pressure gas into high-pressure gas. The heat from the gas is forced outdoors via the unit’s fan. The unit’s refrigerant replaces the high-pressure gas with cooled liquid, which is then pushed through the evaporator coil to reduce the pressure. The result is cool air blown into the indoor space.
Split Systems Broken Down Further
You may also ask whether you can cool your entire home with a ductless system. After all, a ducted system blows air into each room. How can the cool air get into each room without ducts and vents? There are two types of split systems: mini and multi, and both can be configured to cool the necessary space easily and efficiently. For smaller applications, such as a studio apartment or one room only, a mini-split system with an outdoor condenser and indoor fan works well.
Of course, if the outdoor space allows for it, you can have multiple condensers outdoors that work in tandem with indoor fans to cool larger spaces, such as an apartment complex. Each apartment will have its own temperature control, and should a condenser fail, the others will pick up the slack. This optimizes energy efficiency and helps to reduce utility bills, which is something everyone appreciates during the hot summer months.
A multi-split system is more like a ducted air conditioner. There is one condensing unit indoors that connects to air handlers. The indoor condenser has a thermostat for indoor climate control. Once turned on, all handlers inside cool their space to the set temperature. This set up is energy efficient, but it inhibits individual user control. Each room is cooled to the same temperature. If necessary, however, the multi-split can be configured for individual room temperature control.
This is a basic explanation of how ductless air conditioners work. The best system for your needs depends on numerous factors, including whether you are cooling a home or office space, the size of the space, and the number of rooms to be cooled. One thing is certain, ductless ACs are energy efficient and get rid of those nasty air ducts, which is beneficial no matter how you slice it.