When you think of air conditioning, you probably imagine a big air conditioning unit that blows air through ducts. Those ducts terminate at vents, which is where you feel the cold air flowing into your rooms. Indeed, this is a common type of air conditioning known as central air. But not all air conditioning systems have ducts. If you live in a home without ducts, you may instead want to install a type of air conditioner called a ductless air conditioner — or a ductless mini split air conditioner. Here's a closer look at this type of air conditioning and how it works.
How does ductless AC get the cooled air into your home?
With a ductless air conditioning system, you have a main compressor that cools the air — just like you would with a ducted system. Then, you have one or more air handlers. These are basically big fans. They blow the cooled air into your room. Since they blow the air with quite a lot of force, it circulates pretty well. If you have an average-sized home, you will likely have at least two air handlers in your ductless AC system. Each one will be mounted through a wall in a different location.
What are the advantages of a ductless air conditioning system?
In a home that does not already have ducts, installing a ductless AC system is far easier than installing a ducted system. Installing ducts would involve taking down walls or at least putting big holes in the walls. Installing ductless AC only involves making a couple of holes in the exterior walls for the air handlers.
Ductless air conditioning also tends to be more energy-efficient than ducted air conditioning. Some "coolness" gets lost from the air down the length of a duct, and with a ductless system, you don't have this loss.
Are there disadvantages to ductless air conditioning?
One disadvantage is the potential for uneven cooling. These systems tend to circulate air pretty well, but not as well as a central system. Some of your rooms — or parts of some of your rooms — may be warmer than others.
Ductless AC also involves relatively large air handlers being placed on your walls. Some people do not like the way these units look and think that they get in the way of their decor.
If you would like to learn more, talk to an HVAC contractor.