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What is Ductless Heating and Cooling? 4 Things You Need To Know Before Investing

Ductless Heating and CoolingDuctless heating and cooling systems have been around since the 1970s. They were developed in Japan and are very popular in Europe and Asia. They seem to be gaining popularity here in the States, as well. If you’re unfamiliar with ductless heating and cooling, how it works, and how it may benefit you, read on.

What Is a Ductless System?

A ductless system is a type of zoned heating and cooling system that does not require the use or installation of ductwork. It is reversible, in that it produces both heating and cooling for the room or zone in which it’s installed. You may also hear this kind of system referred to as a “ductless split system” or “mini split” because it is composed of two parts.

First, there is a condensing unit that sits outside the home, just like traditional air conditioning. The second part is an indoor air-handling unit called a “head.” There may be multiple heads, depending on the specific needs and configuration of the system. The indoor heads are generally mounted toward the top of the wall and are connected to the outdoor compressor by a dedicated line. Each consists of a coil and blower, which directs the airflow into the room. Each head corresponds to a heating/cooling zone and can be independently controlled, usually by remote.

How Ductless Systems Work

Using vapor compression, ductless systems “capture” heat from outside the house and distribute it indoors when heating and “reject” indoor heat, returning cool air on the cooling cycle. The systems use variable speed compressors capable of matching the heating or cooling needs without the on/off cycling of conventional systems, making them highly efficient.

Advantages of Ductless Systems

Ductless systems are highly efficient, using as much as 25-50% less energy that other systems. So they’re likely to recoup their purchase and installation costs quickly. Because the systems are zoned, they can also save on energy costs because there’s no need to over-heat or over-cool rooms that are infrequently used. They’re also very convenient to control with remote devices, including wall-mount and Wi-Fi controls. Above all, they are smooth running, quiet systems that provide the comfort, convenience, and worry-free cooling or heating you need.

Where are Ductless Systems Best Installed?

Ductless systems are perfect for supplementing existing systems. For example, if you have a room or an area of your home — say the basement — that’s always colder than the rest of the house, a ductless system could be a cost effective solution. This is particularly true for Minnesotans and other upper Midwest residents.

Similarly, if you’re looking to add or supplement cooling in your home, a ductless system could be the answer. In homes without existing ductwork, such as those with hot water or hydronic heat, ductless cooling provides comfortable air conditioning combined with great dehumidification, far better than window units.

A ductless system can also be an excellent solution for a home addition or expansion project.

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