If your home doesn’t have an existing ductwork system, a ductless air conditioning system is by far the best option for staying cool during the summer. Compared to using swamp coolers, window air conditioners or portable A/C units, ductless air conditioning is far more effective and also much more energy efficient. The one question most people have when considering a ductless A/C system is whether it will be able to cool their entire home. The answer to this is usually yes, but it depends on how large your home is and what type of ductless A/C system you choose.
An Introduction to Ductless Air Conditioning
Often referred to as ductless mini-splits, these systems are specifically designed for use in buildings without a central HVAC system. They are also a great option for any rooms in your home that aren’t connected to your A/C system, such as garages, outdoor sheds and workshops.
A ductless mini-split works just like any other air conditioner or heat pump by using a refrigerant to remove heat and cool the air inside the building. The system consists of two main parts. The first is the condenser unit that sits outside the building. Inside the building is an air handler that is usually mounted on the wall or the ceiling. A small hole in the wall connects the two units and is used to run the refrigerant lines, electrical wiring and condensate drain line.
The condenser supplies cold refrigerant to the air handler and also releases heat back outside. The air handler draws hot air into the unit so that the refrigerant can remove latent heat, and it then pumps the cooled air back out into the space. Most ductless mini-splits are also heat pumps and can be used for heating in the winter.
Single vs. Multi-Split Ductless Systems
Most ductless mini-splits are single units, which means that they have only one air handler. As a result, this type of system is effective for cooling only one room or area of the home. However, there are also so-called ‘multi-split’ systems that can use one outdoor condenser unit to power multiple indoor air handlers, and this is the type of system that you need if you want to cool your entire home.
The benefit of this type of system is that each air handler is separate from the others and can be controlled independently. This means that you can shut off or adjust the temperature for each unit without impacting all the others.
Most systems can run up to four individual air handlers from the same condenser. However, there are also systems with more powerful condenser units that can accommodate as many as eight air handlers.
Where Can Ductless Air Handlers Be Located?
Although ductless A/C systems can potentially cool an entire home, there are still some limitations. For starters, every air handler typically needs to be located within 100 to 150 feet of the condenser as this is the limit for how far the refrigerant can be pumped effectively.
If you have a large home, you will need to carefully consider the location of the condenser and the air handlers to ensure the system works effectively. If the home is too large, you will need to install more than one system. While this will increase the cost, it will still be far cheaper and easier than trying to retrofit your home with a central HVAC system.
Another potential issue is that the air handlers typically need to be mounted on an exterior wall so that they can be directly connected to the condenser unit. This can limit what parts of the home you can effectively cool. It is technically possible to install an air handler in rooms with no exterior walls, but this will usually add quite a bit to the installation costs.
In this situation, the refrigerant and condensate drain lines will need to enter through a hole in an exterior wall and then be run inside the wall or ceiling to the air handler. Again, this is possible only if the location is close enough to the condenser.
Galveston’s Air Conditioning Experts
At George’s Air Conditioning, we can help you determine if ductless air conditioning is right for your home and also the best location for indoor and outdoor units. We carry a range of ductless systems from top brands, like Mitsubishi, Trane and GREE, and we can help you choose the best system for your specific needs. We also install, repair and maintain other heating and cooling systems for both residential and commercial customers. If you’re looking for options for improving your indoor air quality, we are ready to help with that, as well. To learn more about your options for ductless air conditioning, give us a call today.