How Ductless AC Works: Benefits and Options

ductless unit on wall with man standing in front with remote

If your home doesn’t have the ductwork for central air conditioning, don’t despair! Ductless AC is an effective alternative that can keep you cool and comfortable on the hottest summer days.Keep reading to learn more about how a ductless AC works and the benefits it can provide for your home.

What is Ductless Air Conditioning?

Unlike central air conditioners, which circulate cool air through a home using ductwork inside the walls, ductless air conditioners — also called “mini-split” air conditioners — link an outdoor compressor to individual wall- or ceiling-mounted units to provide pinpointed comfort.

Ductless AC can be added easily to a home because it doesn’t require major renovations or walls to be opened up. It is also a great solution for cooling additional spaces such as garages or lofts that aren’t connected to your home HVAC systems.

Combining a ductless split system with a heat pump can both cool and heat your home more efficiently while also giving you the flexibility to assign different temperature zones in each room. This makes it a great choice in countries like Canada that need both reliable heating and cooling throughout the year.

How Does a Ductless Air Conditioner Work?

Just like central AC, with a ductless system warm indoor air comes into contact with coils that are cooled by refrigerant. The liquid refrigerant turns to gas and removes humidity and heat from the air. Fans blow that cooler air back into the living space, and any moisture is collected by an evaporator coil and drained outside.

Each indoor ductless AC unit can be controlled individually, meaning ductless air conditioning actually offers more flexibility and room-by-room fine-tuning than central AC.

Like any household technology, ductless AC has both pros and cons, so it’s good get informed before deciding if it’s right for you.

What Are the Benefits of Ductless Air Conditioners?

Mini-split ductless air conditioning systems are versatile and easy to install. They provide efficient cooling and are a great alternative to central AC. The main benefits are:

Mini-split systems give you control over which rooms you want to cool, unlike central AC, which cools your entire home in a uniform way. The “flexible zoned cooling” of ductless AC can save energy, add comfort and reduce your energy consumption.
Ductless mini-split systems are perfect for sunrooms, garages and other hard-to-heat or cool spaces. When installed together with a heat pump, they provide a single system for year-round heating and cooling, which maximizes your investment.
Easy installation
Mini-split systems do not require major renovation or complex ductwork to be installed. A small hole in the wall for the refrigerant tubing is all that is needed to connect the indoor unit with the outdoor compressor.

What Are the Drawbacks of Ductless Air Conditioners?

While ductless AC does have its cons, the good news is none of them are about performance. Mini-split systems provide excellent cooling. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind:

A quality ductless air conditioner ranges between $3,000 and $6,000, including installation — about the same as a central AC system. However, mini-split systems typically have a longer lifespan.
Not a DIY Project
Professional installation is a must for mini-split systems as location of the indoor head is a challenge. Indoor units have to be sized correctly, and copper tubing with refrigerant must be installed properly for effective operation and to avoid short-cycling and high operating costs.
Some people may not want indoor cooling units in their living space. While there are newer and sleek designs available, ductless air conditioners do alter the aesthetics of a room.

Explore Ductless Air Conditioner Units

With the added control and efficient cooling, mini-split systems are a great alternative to central AC — especially if your house has no ductwork. There are a range of makes and models available. Speak to one of our experts today to find out which ductless AC is the best unit for your home.