From Engineering on September 18, 2008 in Air Conditioning & Heating
Back in July, we posted a blog comparing central units to window AC. It focused on the energy costs and conveniences (or lack thereof) in each. In response, one of our readers asked about the prospect of ductless air conditioning and how it would compare. Thanks Maur for checking in! You ask a great question. In response to your comment, here’s what I can tell you about ductless AC:
Ductless air conditioners, also called mini-split systems, do essentially the same thing as window units. What they add is more convenience. Basically, there are two units involved; one is placed in an interior wall and another on the exterior of the home. Two refrigerant lines run between the two units. One delivers electricity and the other carries condensation, or water, away from the interior unit.
Convenience starts with the last two ingredients of the system: a controllable thermostat and a variable quiet blower. Furthermore, a mini-split system can be tied into existing ductwork if your home has it. If not, that’s okay. Again, with ductless AC, you’ll only be cooling one room or area of the home. However, a ductless system is more convenient than a conventional system for a few reasons:
- A thermostat will keep the room at a constant temperature. In other words, it won’t kick on and off frequently while the temperature fluctuates between comfort and discomfort.
- Mini-split systems do not need to move with the changing of the seasons because they do not mount into a window.
- They are quiet because the compressor sits outside the house. Only the air handler, in a split system, is inside. In this respect they are similar to central AC systems.
Ductless air conditioning systems will be more expensive than traditional wall or window units. Also, there is the added expense of hiring an HVAC contractor to do the installation. Note that you are not limited to just one interior unit. You can purchase dual- and triple-zone systems which have two or three air handlers respectively.
The actual cost will vary based on the size of your system. Single-zone systems will range from $1,000 to $2,000. Add roughly a grand for dual-zone systems. Ductless systems can also have heat pumps built into them. These will range closer to $4,000 just to purchase.
Well there you are Maur! I hope this helps and thanks again for the inspiration. Need an installer for your ductless AC system? Connect with local, certified HVAC contractors now and start building your oasis!