Can a Ductless AC Unit Save Me Money?
Yes. For most applications, ductless or so-called "mini split" systems may save you money. They have several major advantages over traditional systems.
A traditional HVAC system forces air through a system of ducts that run through your home. This is how we have done it for a long time and, thus, is what most homes have. However, ductless or so-called "mini split" systems do exist, and for some applications may, in fact, save you money. They have some major advantages over traditional systems.
A ductless system consists of an indoor unit in each room, connected to an outdoor unit by a simple conduit. The conduit contains the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing and condensate drain. Because each room has its own unit, it's easy to control the temperature in different parts of your home. Ductless systems are more environmentally friendly, easier to retrofit, and scale up readily. The outdoor unit can handle as many as eight different indoor units.
You Don't Have to Add Ducts
Sometimes, you have an old house that doesn't have ductwork. Adding it can be time consuming and expensive, and doubles the costs over adding air conditioning to a home which already has ducts for heating. Ductwork has to be carefully situated and hidden so as not to ruin the aesthetics of your home.
If your home is a historic building, it can be particularly difficult to add ductwork in an appropriate manner. A ductless system can be installed without affecting your home's charm or costing a fortune. Installing a ductless system requires nothing more than a three-inch hole through the wall, and the outdoor unit can be as much as fifty feet away from the indoor section.
While the units themselves are visible, they can be installed in flexible ways, including in the ceiling.
Each Unit Provides Both Heating and Cooling
The same unit provides both heating and cooling; all that is needed is to reverse the flow of the refrigerant. There is no need to have multiple systems, which saves money on both purchase and maintenance. Switching between the two is also very easy, meaning that if you live in a climate with large temperature falls, you can provide heat at night and air conditioning during the day very easily.
This also allows the system to be used in older buildings to replace inefficient radiator-based systems that often cost a lot of money to run, significantly reducing utility bills. You may not be able to replace that system all the time (ductless systems become a little unreliable below 0 degrees Fahrenheit), but even if you only use it spring and fall it can save a good amount of money by reducing the number of days you have to fire up the boiler. In warm climates like Florida this is not going to even be an issue.
Zone-Based Cooling and Heating Saves Energy
Because you have separate indoor units, you can control each one individually. This allows you to, for example, send less heat or cooling to rooms you don't use as often, such as a spare bedroom. You can adjust the temperature to avoid hot or cold spots, and so as to avoid wasting energy cooling rooms that are hard to cool, such as sun rooms, to the same degree. Also, this means you don't have to close grilles in empty rooms, which can cause mold problems. If you only use part of the house, then it can be handy to turn the main thermostat all the way down and the install a ductless system in only the rooms you use.
For larger homes, you can install two separate outdoor units, perhaps one for each floor.
There Is No Wasted Energy Pushing Air Through Giant Ducts
Traditional systems use as much as 30% of their energy simply moving air around, especially during the summer. Dense, cold air has to be moves through a system that covers the entire house. Meanwhile, ductless systems are only sending refrigerant through thin pipes to compact units.
This is much more efficient and uses less energy to condition the same amount of space. It also means that when you turn the air conditioning on, there's less "lag time" before the space starts to cool, which makes it easier to adjust temperatures through your diurnal cycle, using less energy during the day and dropping temperatures at night for better sleep.
You Can Save Money on that Addition
If you're considering adding space or finishing an unfinished room that doesn't have a duct system extended to it, it can be a lot cheaper simply to get a mini split system for the additional space. This is particularly handy if the addition is going to be used as a granny flat or your business' office, allowing for completely separate climate control.
Ductless systems also make great add ons if you have a room that your existing system simply can't get cool enough for whatever reason.
Ductless Systems Use Less Energy to Start Up
Ductless systems use a different type of compressor, which is driven by inertia. The compressor automatically speeds up and slows down based on your needs, and never shuts down entirely. Because of this, it doesn't consume the ridiculous amounts of energy that compressor start-up can. This allows you to turn the system all the way down when on vacation without facing a big energy spike when you get back. It can take twice as much power to start up as when running. This also keeps the temperature more even and avoids the situation where the temperature jumps up and your air conditioning system takes twenty minutes to "notice."
Again, this is particularly useful if you live somewhere with a lot of temperature fluctuation where you might only need air conditioning for part of the day. Make sure that the system you purchase is ENERGY STAR rated.
Proper Design Provides Optimum Comfort
It's important to hire an experienced installer to make sure that your mini-split ductless system is properly designed to provide optimum comfort and maximum efficiency. If you are considering a ductless system for your home, contact Advanced Air Conditioning today.
Call (772) 388-1695 to ask how we can help.