Ductless HVAC Systems
About Ductless HVAC Systems
A mini-split is a compact heating and air conditioning system. Mini-splits are an excellent choice for room additions or selective-area climate control, such as on one floor, in one wing, or in individual rooms of a home. Like larger split systems (think central air or forced air systems in many homes), mini-splits consist of two primary components, split between indoor and outdoor locations. While larger split systems rely on ductwork to carry treated air throughout the home, mini-splits deliver treated air to each room individually, without the use of ducts.
Mini-split systems consist of an outdoor unit called a condenser–or, more precisely, a heat pump–and an indoor air-handling unit or air handler that mounts on an exterior wall. (You might hear the condenser referred to as an outdoor compressor, though this term is somewhat inaccurate in that it describes the “engine” within the unit rather than the unit itself.) The two components are connected with electrical wiring and copper tubing (called a line set), which allows refrigerant to flow through.
A Cost-Effective Solution
Maybe you’re looking to supplement an existing heating or cooling system that isn’t performing to your satisfaction. Perhaps you want to add climate control to a new or existing space. Or you might be considering a mini-split heat pump as the primary heating and cooling source for your home. Whatever the reason, you’ll be pleased to know that ductless systems are a solution that will save you money. The superior efficiency of mini-splits over traditional HVAC systems results in smaller energy bills. In addition, installation is fast and easy, allowing handy homeowners to complete all or part of the installation themselves. Mini-split systems are also low maintenance, saving you even more time and money over the long term.
The Top 5 Benefits of a Ductless System
The main advantages of a mini-split over other types of heating and cooling systems are:
Independent “Zone” Temperature Control
Easy Installation and Maintenance
Compared to traditional HVAC systems, mini-splits are far more energy-efficient. They require less power (less electricity) to heat and cool the air and to maintain your desired temperature over time. Every HVAC system comes with a SEER rating, a numerical measurement of the unit’s efficiency. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and the higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the system. The minimum SEER rating required by the U.S. Department of Energy is 13; Blueridge mini-splits range from 16 to a whopping 38 SEER! While the upfront cost of a 38 SEER unit will be higher than a 16 SEER unit, the energy and cost savings over time will be far greater with the higher SEER unit.
Another benefit of a mini-split’s efficient design is its quiet performance. While traditional HVAC systems cycle on and off, resulting in unpleasant temperature swings and periods of powerful air movement that may sound like a cyclone, a mini-split operates on the principle of low and slow. After a mini-split air conditioner reaches your desired temperature, the system will continue working in a slow and ultra-quiet mode to maintain that temperature on your behalf.
In concrete terms, Blueridge air handlers at their loudest emit around 50 decibels (dB) of sound, comparable to the sound of a refrigerator humming. In their quietest mode, our air handlers operate at approximately 20 dB, similar to the sound of rustling leaves. Our customers have described their Blueridge mini-splits as having a pleasantly-surprising, whisper-quiet operation.
In homes with no ductwork or an underperforming forced-air or central system that would be too costly to fix or replace, ductless AC may be the perfect solution. Simply put, mini-splits take ductwork out of the equation, providing climate control exactly where you need it and not where you don’t. As a result, energy (and consequently money) isn’t wasted heating and cooling areas that are unoccupied or otherwise do not require temperature control.
Place a mini-split air handler in each space that requires heating and air conditioning and connect the unit(s) to the outdoor condenser or heat pump. When powered on, treated air will flow directly into the room, saving time and energy.
Blueridge air handlers come in a variety of mounting styles (wall-mount and ceiling-mount being the two most popular) to suit the needs and look of your space.
Independent “Zone” Temperature Control
In a traditional ducted HVAC system, occupants have little control over how the heated or cooled air circulates through the building. Treated air journeys through a maze of ducts before it reaches the various rooms of your home, all the while losing its temperature. A centrally-located thermostat determines when the desired temperature has been reached, leaving many rooms hotter or cooler than expected. Other variables, such as room occupancy and personal preferences, leave many families battling over the thermostat.
Enter the ductless mini-split, where users can control the climate in each living space or “zone” independently. Each air handler occupies a zone and can be programmed by remote control or, in most cases, connected to a smartphone or smart home hub. When shopping for a mini-split, you’ll look for a single-zone, dual-zone, 3-zone, 4-zone, or 5-zone system, depending on how many spaces you’d like to heat and cool. In multi-zone systems, multiple air handlers will connect to a single condenser or heat pump located outside.