You've probably heard of ductless mini-split systems before. The interior head units on these air conditioners resemble traditional window units, but they offer more flexibility with placement. Unlike window air conditioners, you can hang these combination evaporator/blower units on a wall and only need a small opening for wiring and refrigerant plumbing.
However, the appearance of these systems may lead you to believe that they function in a similar way to room-sized units. In reality, a ductless mini-split system can offer many of the same benefits as a central air conditioning system, and you can easily use one to cool your entire house.
How Do Whole House Ductless Systems Work?
Appearances aside, ductless mini-split systems have more in common with central air conditioners than with window units. As the name implies, these systems utilize the same split design as ductwork-based systems. A ductless mini-split contains an outdoor condenser unit and one or more interior head units connected by refrigerant plumbing and control wiring.
This design offers a few advantages. By placing the condenser entirely outside and in a separate unit, you can enjoy higher efficiency and much higher cooling capacities than you'll typically find with a window unit. As a result, ductless mini-split systems have plenty of power to keep even relatively large spaces comfortable throughout the summer.
However, power isn't the only way a ductless mini-split system can keep your entire house cool. Many systems can incorporate many head units. Using more than one head on your ductless mini-split system allows you to enjoy multiple cooling zones. More importantly, you can get more thorough coverage of your house, creating the same even and consistent cooling you'd expect with a central AC system.
Are Ductless Mini-Splits the Right Choice for Whole House Cooling?
Ductless mini-split systems offer numerous advantages over traditional central air conditioning systems, especially if your home doesn't already have ductwork. In these cases, installing a ductless mini-split system to cool your entire house may be substantially cheaper than retrofitting ductwork into your home. The installation will also be quicker and require less disruption.
There aren't many disadvantages to these systems other than their cost and the need to find space to mount the head units. However, modern mini-splits offer significant flexibility, and you'll have plenty of options if you don't have a convenient mounting location. Some systems even support installing head units on the ceiling.
While utilizing existing ductwork is often more cost-effective, you shouldn't feel that whole-house cooling is off the table if your home doesn't have this infrastructure. Mini-split systems offer an excellent alternative to keep your whole house cool just as effectively and efficiently as any central air conditioning unit.
For more information on air conditioning, contact a professional near you.