Is ductless heating/cooling right for you? Consider these 7 features.
The extreme high and low temperatures of Colorado make us keenly aware of cold/hot spots in our homes. Inefficient heating and cooling is common in both old and new houses, and many people are noticing these issues even more during the pandemic as we stay home and spread out into new rooms of the house. The good news is, mini-split or ductless heating and cooling from ENERGY STAR manufacturers like Carrier may be just what you need to maintain consistent temps – even for rooms above the garage.
What is mini-split or ductless heating/cooling?
Ductless air conditioners and ductless heat pumps, also known as mini-split systems, typically consist of a wall-mounted indoor unit combined with an outside compressor. They come in all shapes and sizes to deliver local comfort with minimal visual impact. They don’t require ducts inside your walls and can complement your current HVAC system or (less commonly) replace it.
What to look for in ductless systems
At Front Range HVAC, our technicians have broad experience installing and servicing a variety of ductless units. For new purchases, we recommend Carrier. In addition to being a leading HVAC manufacturer, Carrier has the world’s most energy-efficient systems. Their Infinity mini-split systems have a SEER (season energy efficiency ratio) rating of 42 with 15 HSPF (Heating seasonal performance factor). That means it’s ENERGY STAR® certified. If you purchase an ENERGY STAR ductless model you can save up to 30 percent on heating and cooling costs and you may qualify for tax credits.
Beyond brand, here are some features to consider when looking into a ductless system.
- Comfort features. Ductless systems can be configured with either one or multiple indoor units powered by a single outdoor unit. The inverter compressor ensures maximum comfort in any season by continuously adjusting heating and cooling capacities.
- Minimal installation. Because there are no ducts, installation time and cost are typically minimal. There is no need to open walls, and there is no need for additional wiring.
- Preserve your home’s integrity. Older homes weren’t built to accommodate the ductwork of standard modern air conditioning systems. In addition, newer track homes often have low-quality HVAC systems installed. With a ductless system, you can preserve the integrity of your home’s architecture without needing to carve out spaces for ducts and vents.
- Energy savings. Space heaters and fans are often inefficient, ineffective, and even unsafe. With a highly efficient ductless system, you can concentrate heating and cooling in the areas you choose. This is a great option for your bedroom at night, giving you the option to reduce heating/cooling in the rest of the house. In addition, ductless systems can offset the energy loss of older homes by continuously adjusting heating and cooling capacities to best match current conditions.
- Humidity control. Another comfort benefit of ductless air conditioning is humidity control in the summer. The ductless indoor unit can be installed in the problem area, pulling humidity out of the room, and delivering cooler, dryer, more comfortable air to the space. Carrier ductless systems also use inverter compressor technology. Because the compressor runs on longer, steadier cooling cycles, it spends more time pulling unwanted moisture from indoor air than standard, single-stage systems.
- Quiet operation. The best heating and cooling systems should be appreciated, not heard. Carrier ductless outdoor units with inverter-controlled variable-speed compressors operate on longer, lower-speed, and quieter comfort cycles. Long refrigerant lines to the outdoor unit also allow the flexibility to install the outdoor unit farther away from decks, patios, or other outdoor living spaces.
- Allergy control. With filters in each indoor unit, Ductless systems provide cleaner air in the rooms where they are installed. When circulation is contained within a confined space, there’s no cross-contamination of air between rooms.
What’s the ideal reason for ductless?
Ductless systems are a great choice for a variety of applications, including whole-house heating and cooling. But there are certain situations where ductless has a clear advantage:
- New additions, garage apartments, bonus rooms, sunrooms, mancaves, etc.
- Downsizing efforts for larger homes (like master bedroom heating/cooling when sleeping).
- Serving multiple family needs (and temperature preferences) under one roof.
- Giving support to a room with specific heating/cooling problems.
- Adding heating/cooling to space with no existing ductwork.
For a single-room solution, ductless units cost more than comparable window units or baseboard heating units. However, given the efficiency and aesthetics of ductless units, the benefits typically outweigh the cost. If you are looking to replace your existing central heating/cooling system with a complete ductless solution, you may pay two-to-three times the cost of simply replacing it with another ducted unit. You’ll get lower energy bills in return, but the payback period depends on your climate, your use of the system, and your local electricity rates. Front Range HVAC will review the options and calculations with you to confirm which type of system is right for you. We also can help install and service this system whenever you are ready.
Reach out and speak to one of our friendly team members today.