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Are Ductless Mini-Splits Worth It?

Written on: May 20, 2024

AFC can help keep your home cool and comfortable

ductless cooling Clinton, ME The choices we make in cooling and heating our homes have far-reaching implications, from energy bills to environmental sustainability.

Traditional HVAC systems have long been the go-to solution, but a rising star in the home climate control arena is a ductless mini-split system. If you’re a Central Maine homeowner weighing the decision to invest in ductless mini-splits, read on as we’ll be exploring the system’s benefits, potential drawbacks, and whether it truly lives up to the hype.

How do ductless mini-splits work?

Instead of occupying a window or wall cavity as window A/C units do, the ductless system mounts high on the interior wall or even in the ceiling, with a slim, unobtrusive line leading to an outdoor compressor.

A ductless mini-split system primarily consists of two main components:

Outdoor Unit: This houses the compressor, condenser coil, and expansion valve or coil. It’s installed outside the home or commercial space.

Indoor Unit: Also known as the air-handling unit, it contains the evaporator coil and fan and is mounted on the interior wall of the room to be heated or cooled. Each indoor unit is connected to the outdoor unit via a conduit.

The lack of ducts means they don’t suffer from the energy loss typical of central forced-air systems, where about 20-30% of air can escape through the ductwork.

Comparing installation between ductless mini-splits and central A/C

Traditionally, installing a central HVAC system involves significant renovation, including ductwork installation and sometimes major structuring of the home. In contrast, ductless mini-splits require a small hole to establish the conduit, significantly reducing installation time and cost. While the initial expense for a ductless system may seem steep, the savings in installation can balance that out for many homeowners, especially those not already equipped with ductwork.

Cost analysis of mini-splits

A notable benefit of mini-splits is zoned climate control, allowing homeowners to cool or heat only the rooms in use. This can present remarkable cost savings, as there’s no need to run a central system throughout the entire home. However, the cost of a ductless system itself, which is typically higher than a window unit or portable air conditioner, could outweigh the long-term savings on the air conditioning bills, depending on factors like climate and usage.

Studies have shown that ductless mini-splits can be up to 30% more efficient than traditional window air conditioners and central HVAC systems, thanks to their smaller size and the zoning ability. They are also less likely to lose cool air due to the ductless design. This benefit is particularly potent for homes with underutilized spaces or inconsistent usage patterns.

The increased efficiency and reduced energy consumption associated with ductless mini-splits translate to a smaller carbon footprint. For homeowners committed to environmentally friendly living, this environmental advantage can tip the scales in favor of ductless technology. While the production process and eventual disposal of mini-splits need to be considered, the operational phase often leans towards sustainability.

Mini-split installation and maintenance

Installing a ductless mini-split system is a precise task that should be handled by a professional like the licensed service technician team at AFC. It involves mounting the indoor unit, drilling a small hole through the wall for the conduit, and placing the outdoor unit. This process, when completed correctly, maintains the system’s efficiency and aesthetic appeal—another point to consider for homeowners looking to add both value and comfort to their residences.

The key to a long-lasting system is proper maintenance. This includes changing the filters regularly, ensuring the area around the outdoor unit remains clear, and scheduling regular tune-ups with AFC. By staying on top of maintenance, homeowners can expect their ductless mini-splits to last for many years, providing consistent and efficient performance.

Ready to learn more about adding ductless mini-splits to your Central Maine home? Get in touch with the experts at AFC to get started!