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How do Ductless Air Conditioners Work?

If you’re in the market for a new HVAC system one of your options may be a ductless HVAC. From cost and maintenance to aesthetics and efficiency, there are many factors to take into account when investing in a new HVAC system. But before you choose, it could help to know how the system works.

How does ductless AC work?

In general, ductless AC works very similarly to central AC – just without the ducts!

The process to actually produce cool air is the same for both systems:

  • They suck in warm air from inside your home.
  • They absorb the heat and moisture from that air.
  • Then they pump the hot air from your home outside. 

The difference between the two systems is how they deliver cool air inside your home. 

Central AC systems use ductwork and a series of fans to push cooled air all around your home and out through the vents in each room. Ductless ACs deliver cold air directly into the room where the air handlers are installed.

So, how do ductless ACs cool the entire house?

If you’re wondering how ductless AC systems can manage to regulate the entire home without ducts, it’s best to know how the unit is set up. Ductless AC systems contain three main parts:

A Blower/ Evaporator Unit

The blower/evaporator is the indoor unit that sits on the wall of your home. The 3’ unit is a slim box mounted on the wall. Its job is to suck in the warm or moist air in the room, absorb that heat and moisture, and then blow the cooled air right back into the room. 

A Conduit

The conduit is a long cable that connects the indoor and outdoor units. It houses a power cable, refrigerant tubing and a condensate drain. The conduit brings electrical power to both units and is the pathway that the hot and moist air – sucked up by the blower/evaporator – travels on to reach the condenser. 

A Condenser

The condenser is the outdoor unit in the system. It receives the hot and moist air from inside your home and pumps it to the outdoor air. 

Installing multiple air handler units across your home gives the ductless system more opportunity to suck out that warm air and pump cool air back inside. Combined together, these units can regulate your entire home. 

What are the pros and cons of mini-split systems?

To decide if a mini-split system is the right fit for your home, take into account both the positives and the negatives of this system. 

Three main pros are:

  • Zone Cooling– each room has customizable temperature control AND your system only cools the rooms you tell it to. This saves energy and can more accurately regulate your air.
  • Efficient– without the leakage caused by ducts, this system will lower your energy bill.
  • Ductless– for homes without HVAC infrastructure, ductless systems are the best option compared to the expense of laying ductwork for a central air system. 

Two main cons are:

  • Initial Cost–ductless systems might have a higher initial cost than central systems IF your home already has ductwork laid and you’re choosing not to use it. 
  • Aesthetics– whereas a central system is completely hidden in the attic and walls, a ductless system has wall units. They can be customized to fit color and design, but they will be visible. 

So many factors go into choosing an HVAC system – it can be overwhelming. Champion AC & Plumbing is more than happy to answer any questions you have. If you would like more information on mini-split systems, don’t hesitate to contact us!