The ductless mini-split air conditioner is the ideal system for those looking to replace their window unit. Whether you have an older house that won’t allow you to install ductwork and central air, you’re looking for a quiet system, or you’re hoping to save money both upfront and on your energy bills, the ductless split-type system is the perfect solution. They are easier to install and more affordable than central air, quieter and less of a hassle than window units, and can be installed in any type of home.

Ductless mini-split systems are not very well known, and we get a lot of questions about how they work, how much they cost, and how they’re installed. So we’ve answered the most common questions in one central place. Read on to learn why a ductless air conditioner might be the air conditioning solution you’ve been looking for.

What are the benefits of a ductless system? How does it compare to other types of air conditioners?

Ductless air conditioners are a great solution for installing AC in homes without existing ductwork, especially in older homes. In addition, they are more affordable to install than central air and much quieter than other types of air conditioners.

One of the coolest things about the ductless mini split systems is that each room in your home can be cooled individually. This can save you a lot of money in reduced energy costs, as you’re not cooling the entire house when it’s not necessary. You can cool the office and living room during the day, and the bedrooms at night, saving you a lot of money over time.

The lack of ductwork makes the system way more efficient by eliminating leaks, heat drain, and other common inefficiencies with central air. It’s energy efficient, so you’ll save money on your electricity bills, and over the years it will add up to significant savings.

Do they have heat too for the winter?

Yes, they can both heat and cool, when installed with a heat pump. The heating is efficient down to about 40 degrees. However, heat pumps can come with an emergency heat strip, which will automatically turn on when the temperature is too low to extract heat from. These will work down to 0 degrees.

How noisy is it?

Ductless mini split systems are much quieter than window units. Window units are an all-in-one design, meaning the compressor is part of the package, resulting in a lot of noise. Ductless systems have the compressor outside, so indoors, all you’ll hear is the faint sound of air circulating into the room.

How much does a ductless air conditioner cost?

This is a bit of a tricky question as there are different sizes (the size depends on the size and heat load of the room you’d like it in), features (such as cooling only versus heating and cooling) and, of course, it depends how many units you need. Generally, the average cost, all-in, tends to be between $3-4k per unit.

If you’d like to know the specific cost for your needs, give us a call and we’d be happy to talk it over with you and give you a quote.

How do I know what size to get?

You’ll want to make sure the size is large enough to comfortably cool the room you’d like it in. Too large isn’t as much of a problem, as the system can ramp down as needed, but you don’t want to spend more money than is necessary to properly cool and heat your home.

Ductless systems cool one room per unit, so the unit needs to be sized correctly to efficiently cool that room. We’ll do a heat load calculation to help you determine which size you’ll need in each room you’d like to install a unit.

How long do they last?

With proper installation and maintenance, ductless mini split systems can last for at least 10 years. It’s common to get 20 years of use out of them.

Can ductless mini-split be installed on an inside wall? A wall that isn’t an outside wall or access to the outside?

This is possible, yes. However, to do so, tubing and lines need to be run through your interior walls into the room, resulting in a much more expensive install. We recommend installing them only on exterior walls for affordability and convenience’s sake.

What if you have an old house with plaster and lath walls and vinyl siding? Is the ductless system harder to install?

The advantage of ductless mini split systems is that they only need a small hole to run the lines and tubing from inside to outside. The hole is about 3 inches wide. Because of this, they are ideal for older homes with trickier construction. It is entirely possible to install ductless systems on plaster walls, but they are prone to cracking so we take extra care during the installation.

Will it match the aesthetics of my home?

This is a common question for those with older homes. The ductless units are slim and unobtrusive, however, if you’d like it to be even less noticeable, there’s always the option of going with a recessed ceiling unit. These units lay flat on the ceiling, so they just appear to be a vent. These kinds of units will fit in seamlessly, no matter what your style is.

Curious if a ductless system is the right solution for you? Read more in our HVAC U guide!

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