Pros and Cons of Ductless AC

Pros and Cons of Ductless AC

Though ductless ACs have been used in many parts of the world for some time, they’ve only recently started to make a dent in the U.S. Also known as mini-splits, ductless systems can heat or cool an area without relying on a series of ductwork. There is a single unit outside and then individual units placed in each room. The indoor units are typically mounted on the ceiling or on the high end of a wall. Tubing is then piped through the wall to connect to the outdoor unit.

With so many air conditioning systems and services to choose from, how do you know if a mini-split system is right for you? Let’s explore the pros and cons of a ductless AC.

Benefits of Ductless Mini-Split AC

Bottom line? Ductless AC systems will save energy and reduce your monthly utility costs. If you purchase an Energy Star mini-split system, you can expect to save up to 30% in energy costs! Did you know that traditional HVAC systems can lose 25% of air through the ductwork? Since min-splits are direct and don’t transport air through ducts, they don’t experience energy loss. Additionally, each indoor unit has its own thermostat. This way, you’re only cooling the rooms that you’re occupying instead of entire zones of the house.

Another benefit to ductless ACs is improved air quality. Ducts are known to collect dust, contaminates, and allergens which can be damaging to your health over time. They’re especially problematic for allergy sufferers. Mini-split systems don’t have ducts so you never have to worry about air quality issues and expensive duct cleaning. 

Drawbacks of Ductless Mini-Split AC

The upfront cost is often the biggest deterrent for homeowners. They cost 30% more than central air and 2x more than window units. Since each room requires its own unit, this can become quite expensive for large homes. They’re also a bit of an eyesoar. Central air vents are discreet and flush with the wall or floor, but mini-splits are right out in the open and cannot be covered or camouflaged easily.

Maintenance can be another hindrance for some people. Although the upkeep isn’t any more complicated than a traditional HVAC system, it’s required more frequently and isn’t optional. You’ll need to wash the filters 1-2 times every month and have it professionally serviced/cleaned every year. Otherwise, the internal fans will break.

Is a Ductless System Right for Me?

When you renovate a garage, convert a sunroom, or build an addition, a mini-split is the perfect option. It’s easier to install a mini-split than completely rework your HVAC’s ductwork to accommodate the new space. It’s also more effective and far cheaper to run than a window unit.

If you are starting from scratch, a ductless system could also be right for you. Installing a traditional HVAC system could actually be more expensive since you don’t already have existing ductwork. This is a particularly great option if your household is constantly fighting over the temperature of the house. Everyone has their own temperature preferences; ductless systems allow each person to control each room individually.

If you are interested in replacing your existing HVAC system with a mini-split, you should consult with a professional trade group such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) or the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES). These groups may be able to tell you if the long-term energy savings are worth the initial cost to install the mini-split system. You may also be able to find local deals and coupons to further decrease the upfront costs.

Stephens Plumbing Will Help You Decide if Ductless AC is Right for You

If you’re a resident of Orange County or the South Bay, Stephens Plumbing probably serves your area. Our experienced and knowledgeable technicians can service your existing AC or install a new mini-split ductless system if it’s right for you. We will walk you through the pros and cons of each system so that you can make an informed and confident decision. With more than 3 decades of experience and an excellent reputation, Stephens Plumbing is the best choice for your heating and air needs.