Is a ductless heating and cooling system right for your home?
To duct or not to duct, that is the question. And the short answer is? It depends.
Ductless heating and cooling systems—or mini-splits—are becoming increasingly popular for their energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness. A wall-mounted indoor unit is paired with an outdoor compressor. This allows you to regulate the temperature in different rooms or zones of your house while providing a reliable source of comfort.
Sounds pretty good—right? Before you make the switch from a traditional HVAC system, however, there are a few essential factors to consider.
- The current set-up of your home
- Cost and energy efficiency
- Maintenance, aesthetics, and installation
Read on for answers to your most important questions for ease in deciding whether or not a ductless heating and cooling system is the best option for your home.
How do the size and set-up of my space affect my ductless decision?
The square footage, the number of rooms, and whether or not your house already has ducts play a significant role in determining whether a mini-split or traditional HVAC system makes the most sense.
As a general rule, if your home is over 3,000 square feet or larger than five rooms, a ductless system might not be worth it because it won’t be able to meet your needs. Extending the outside conduits can be costly and ineffective, even with multiple indoor heads installed. Additionally, if you already have a central HVAC system, the existing ductwork could be a benefit to take advantage of instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.
A ductless mini-split works best when:
- You have a new addition or bonus room that isn’t connected to your existing HVAC system or could use a little extra help.
- You are trying to downsize your living space and reduce heating and cooling unused portions of your home.
- You have differing opinions in your home on the ideal temperature in specific rooms.
How much more efficient is a ductless system, really?
Traditional HVAC systems lose up to 30% of their heating and cooling to ductwork. Mini-splits provide a direct source of uninterrupted heat or cooling to an individual zone or room. Each head works independently from the others, so you can simply turn off the unit if you’re not using a room. Also, many ductless mini-split systems are powered by “inverter technology” to help maintain a steady temperature without needing to cycle on and off as frequently.
This type of control translates to less energy consumption and a lower utility bill.
Plus, most mini-split systems follow Energy Star guidelines which could qualify you for local energy bill incentives or tax credits.
How much will it cost to install a ductless system in my home?
The installation of a ductless system varies for multiple reasons including the size of your home, the size and efficiency of the mini-split unit(s) and the amount of time they take to install.
For that reason, it pays to get a professional to come out and provide an estimate based on your needs. This allows you to weigh the pros and cons of the long-term benefits versus the initial upfront costs.
While ductless systems are more expensive for individual rooms than a window unit, especially considering that it is not a DIY job, you will likely be able to cover a larger space and use it year-round.
For whole-home solutions, the installation is easier, less expensive, and less intrusive than the duct work associated with traditional HVAC systems. Mini-splits can save time and money during installation because it only involves drilling a small hole in the wall for the conduit, mounting the indoor head, and connecting it to the outdoor unit. This work can usually be done in a few hours; if you are installing multiple heads, the connection of the conduits could be more labor-intensive and spread over a few days.
What will a mini-split look like, and how hard is it to maintain?
As the name implies, mini-splits don’t take up a lot of space, but they do only tend to come in white or beige and need to be mounted on a wall with plenty of space for ventilation, as well as easy access to the placement of your exterior unit. It is a good idea to consider the aesthetics of your room and if you can live with the look and feel of a ductless system. One bonus is that they run so quietly you might eventually forget it is there.
Like any HVAC system, regular maintenance will help extend the life of your ductless system and help ensure it runs smoothly and efficiently. Annual check-ups and monthly filter cleaning are recommended.
Ready to explore the idea of a ductless mini-split heating and cooling system?
Blue Dot’s team of professional heating and cooling experts has been providing reliable service in the Topeka area for over 65 years. You can schedule your free estimate by calling 785-272-1633 or clicking here to request service.
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