A ductless system has many obvious advantages – way easier to install and maintain than most AC systems, visually appealing with minimal clutter, energy efficient… but still, it’s not recommended for all homeowners and for every situation.
Why is that?
Let’s analyse the pros and cons so you know when a ductless system is in fact the best alternative!
“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. – Edith Wharton
The pros of ductless systems are quite appealing, which makes it hard to see their downsides at all.
Minimal hassle installation
As opposed to window units that required a large hole in the wall, ductless units require only very small holes drilled on the wall. This makes the installation mostly hassle-free and perfect for adding a unit to a recent addition.
The slim and compact design makes it perfect for small rooms – they will sit in their corner, never becoming an eyesore of any level. Combine it with a thermostat and you’ll basically forget it’s even there.
Ductwork tends to make for less energy-efficient systems. By not having ducts at all, the unit has to “work less, making it considerably more energy-efficient than other models.
Perfect for a single room
Because they are fairly easy to install and don’t get in the way of anything, ductless systems are perfect to solve heating and cooling for a single room. But, they can also be implemented on a whole-house scale if you want!
Now, let’s take a closer look at when ductless systems are not the best choice, or when the cons can outweigh the pros.
Costs more up-front
They generally make up for this with energy-efficiency on the long run, but ductless systems cost more up-front for a single room installation then window units, for example.
Maintenance is easy, but frequent
Maintenance for ductless units is not hard, but it is quite frequent – it boils down to washing the unit’s filter on a monthly basis at the very least. This will make sure the unit continues to work at full efficiency and might not seem like much, but if you have more of these units around the house, maintenance piles up a bit.
Might struggle in below zero temperatures
This will depend heavily on room size, climate conditions, and even the system itself. While most ductless units can get the job done even in below zero temperatures, they might struggle to maintain efficiency if climate conditions are persistent. Again, they WILL work, but in extreme temperatures, you can expect some struggle.
Whole-house projects are very expensive
Say you really love the pros and cons so far aren’t deal breakers, and you’re considering installing ductless units for the whole house. It will make for a perfectly functional system on par with duct reliant heating/cooling systems, but it will be very costly. As mentioned before, the up-front cost for a single room installation is already higher, so a whole house installation will cost even more. Though there are no notable downsides to the system itself when compared to ducted units, the hefty price is something to consider before committing.
How much exactly will depend on the size of your home and it’s rooms, so a HVAC professional can help you figure out how much it will cost.
Where do ductless units really shine?
There are a number of situations where ductless units are the best choice. After considering their pros and cons individually, let’s now discuss the most common cases where a ductless unit should be considered:
Any new addition to your home can benefit greatly from a ductless unit, since it won’t share ducts with the rest of your system, making it easy to control as an individual entity.
Focus on busy rooms
If you have a rather large home – or simply a home with spare rooms you don’t use as often – your HVAC system still has to work for those rooms, even if you’re not using them. In that case, it’s much more efficient to install a ductless unit, say, in the main bedroom, and let the rest of your system on a minimal effort mode while you’re not using other rooms.
Alternative to installing whole-house duct system
While it’s true that ductless systems cost more up-front to install, installing a whole-house duct system isn’t exactly cheap either. A whole-house system is definitely something you should consider for the comfort and well-being of your family, but if that’s not a project you can focus on at the moment, a simple ductless unit in strategic places can get the job done.
Need to know more about ductless units? Call a cooling professional from your area and get free quotes today!