Ductless HVAC System for Your House
You might think to yourself: how can an HVAC system be ductless? A ductless HVAC system is a unit that mounts onto the interior wall, but only requires a tiny hole to be drilled into the wall for its outside compressor. These units are sometimes referred to as mini-split systems, and unlike traditional HVAC systems, they do not require any ductwork for installation. Although these units are not commonplace in the U.S., they have been used for decades in homes across Europe and Asia.
In situations with a window AC unit or baseboard heating, a ductless HVAC system makes sense. The acronym HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. With these mini-split units, you can have both heating and cooling through just one device.
Benefits of Ductless HVAC
1. It’s Extremely Energy Efficient
According to Energy Star, Energy Star certified ductless heating systems “use 60% less energy than standard home electric resistance-based systems.” Baseboard heating is expensive, and by installing a ductless HVAC heating system for your home, you will end up cutting costs by saving energy when heating your home. These units also cut cooling costs by 30% compared to conventional room AC units because they are equipped with more efficient compressors and fans that are designed to adjust their speeds to reserve energy.
2. Easy to Install
A traditional HVAC system consists of bulky ductwork that spiders across the interior of a home to distribute heat or air conditioning. A ductless heating system for a home uses an indoor unit that connects to an outdoor unit through refrigeration lines. A homeowner can install up to eight indoor units per one outdoor unit — how easy is that?
3. You Lose Less Heat With No Ductwork
A traditional HVAC system utilizes ductwork to bring heating and cooling to all corners of a house, but it is this network of ducts where at least 25% of the energy is lost. By removing the ducts, you end up with a more efficient system in terms of distributing heat, air conditioning and overall energy usage.
4. Environmentally Friendly
Energy Star certified ductless heating systems for homes are much more environmentally friendly than alternatives like baseboard heating, traditional HVAC systems and room air conditioners. Of course, this can be attributed to the fact that these ductless systems use less energy in comparison, and the energy is used more efficiently thanks to its design and sophisticated working parts.
5. You Could Qualify for a Rebate or Incentive
Because ductless heating systems are environmentally friendly, local utilities encourage homeowners to install them, which often comes in the form of rebates or incentives. Your total rebate will be dependent on a few factors like the utility company you use, where you live and what system is being replaced. You can use a rebate finder to help you figure this out.
A Pause Before You Purchase
Before you make the jump and run out to purchase a ductless HVAC system, you should be aware of the potential cons.
The initial cost of these units can run pretty expensive. Remember though, ductless HVAC units are, in the long run, more energy efficient. Like most eco-friendly investments, you will pay more upfront, but over time you will see a reduction of overall energy costs due to the Energy Star efficiency. Weighing these costs truly depends on your climate, how much you will use the system, local energy rates and how long you plan on living in the house.
Ductless HVAC systems are not great for those who live in extremely cold climates. Most models are not designed to withstand temperatures that drop below 32F. This requires homeowners in these climates to use a fuel-based backup. However, there are some newer ductless heating systems that can handle the demand of these extreme temperatures.
Aesthetically, a ductless HVAC system is not a fashionable accessory for your home. They’re visible units that usually come in white or beige and cannot be covered. This makes most homeowners hesitant to install them, but once they are in, they tend to blend into the background.
Consider the maintenance of a ductless heating system for your home. These units will need their furnace and AC filters washed monthly — possibly more frequently if you smoke or have furry animals in the house. This is not a chore to skip, either. Ductless fans are not meant to handle collecting debris, and if you do not maintain the system, you could wind up paying an arm and a leg to fix (or replace) it.
Should You Go Ductless?
In some scenarios, ductless HVAC systems make perfect sense. This is a good option for situations like new additions that do not require heating or cooling all of the time, or say, a cigar-smoking room that you would like to keep separate from the rest of the house and ductwork. Maybe you have a room that has issues with heating or cooling, or you need to get air conditioning to a room absent of ductwork. A ductless heating system may not work for everyone, but it can be an ideal solution for some.