How Ductless HVAC Can Solve Heating and Cooling Issues
Ductless HVAC systems offer a convenient and efficient way to control the temperature in either a single space or your entire home. Also known as ductless mini-splits, they can provide both heating and cooling from the same system. Better still, they don’t suffer from many of the problems that can plague traditional forced-air HVAC systems. This makes them a great choice for overcoming a variety of heating and cooling problems.
How Ductless Systems Work
A ductless mini-split system consists of two parts: an indoor air handler and an outdoor condenser/compressor. The compressor unit utilizes refrigerant to draw heat out of the air in order to provide heating and cooling, while the air handler pumps the heated or cooled air into the room. The two units are connected via a small conduit that contains the refrigerant line, wiring and condensate drain line. This conduit usually passes through a small hole in an exterior wall to join the condenser and air handler. In most cases, the air handler is mounted high up on a wall, but you can also choose a ceiling- or floor-mounted air handler. You may even be able to have the air handler recessed inside a wall or ceiling depending on the layout of the room.
Ductless systems can be either one zone or multi-zone. A single-zone system utilizes only one air handler, which means it can only provide heating and cooling to a single room or space. On the other hand, multi-zone systems utilize multiple air handlers that can provide heating and cooling to several zones or rooms at one time. Most multi-zone systems can use up to four air handlers. However, there are some systems available that have up to eight or more air handlers, which allows them to provide heating and cooling for an entire house.
When providing cooling, the air handler draws in warm air from inside the room. This air passes over refrigerant coils that capture most of the heat to cool the air as it exits the air handler. The job of the condenser is to constantly circulate refrigerant to the air handler and disperse the excess heat outside the building.
Mini-splits work in basically the same way when providing heat except the process is reversed. The system works based on the law of heat transfer. Essentially, the condenser unit acts as a heat pump that uses extremely cold refrigerant to capture heat from the air outside and transfer it into the building. As long as the refrigerant is colder than the air, the process continues to work. In fact, most ductless systems can continue producing heat at temperatures as low as -4 °F. Still, the colder the weather is outside, the harder the condenser will have to work to generate heat. As a result, ductless heating is best suited for areas with milder winter weather.
Supplement Your Existing Heating and Cooling
If you have a room or part of your home that doesn’t receive adequate heating or cooling, a single-zone ductless mini-split is the ideal solution to add supplementary heat or AC. For instance, if one room typically experiences a large amount of heat gain during the summer, a ductless system can draw out this excess heat to ensure the room stays cooler. This will also help to keep the rest of your house cooler by ensuring your central AC doesn’t have to work overtime.
Heat and Cool Areas Not Connected to Your HVAC System
Ductless systems are also a great way to heat and cool any areas of your home that are not connected to your HVAC system, such as a garage or shed. In the past, the main options for heating or cooling areas like this were using a space heater or a window AC unit. However, ductless systems are a far better option as they are much more energy efficient and also provide far more effective heating and cooling. Mini-split systems are also quick and easy to install. In most cases, the entire job can be done in only a few hours. After mounting the condenser outside, a small hole is cut into the wall to allow the conduit to pass. Finally, the air handler is mounted on the wall inside the building directly over the hole.
Overcome Issues With Uneven Heating and Cooling
One major advantage of multi-zone ductless systems is that you can independently control the temperature for each separate zone. This makes them ideal for overcoming issues with uneven heating and cooling or hot and cold spots in the home. You’ll also not have to hear any more complaining that the house is too hot or too cold as everyone can set their room or area to whatever temperature they desire without affecting the temperature in the rest of the house. The only real limitation is that the system can only provide heating or cooling at one time, not both.
Prevent Energy Waste
Heat loss and gain are major problems that plague forced-air HVAC systems, and this can directly contribute to increased heating and cooling costs. Most homes suffer from issues with air leaks in their ductwork, and these leaks allow much of the heated or cooled air to escape. On average, approximately 20 to 30 percent of the energy used for heating and cooling is wasted as a result of duct leaks. The energy waste can be even greater if the ductwork passes through unconditioned areas like an attic due to an increase in heat loss and/or heat gain.
Ductless HVAC systems are extremely energy efficient and also don’t suffer from the same issues with heat loss and heat gain. As a result, they can allow you to heat and cool your home much more efficiently and effectively. This means that they can ensure your home stays at a comfortable temperature without costing you a fortune in energy bills. In fact, a high-efficiency ductless system will generally use anywhere from 25 to 50% less energy than a traditional forced-air heating or cooling system.
Less Maintenance and Repair Needs
One other advantage of ductless heating and cooling is that these systems are extremely low maintenance. Although ductless systems should still be professionally maintained every year, they still tend to suffer from fewer issues and require much less frequent repairs. Mini-split systems also tend to last for much longer than traditional heating and cooling equipment. If properly maintained, you should be able to easily get around 20 years out of a mini-split system whereas most furnaces and AC units won’t last for much more than 10 to 15 years.
Ductless HVAC Experts
If you’re considering a ductless mini-split system for your home, Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning has got you covered. We offer ductless HVAC installations as well as maintenance and repair. Our experienced technicians also work on traditional heating and cooling systems, water heaters, gas fireplaces and more. We also employ a team of licensed electricians that can handle any of your electrical needs. Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning is located in Kirkland, WA, and we serve customers in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue and the rest of the Puget Sound area. For more information on the ductless systems we carry or any of the other services we offer, give us a call today.