Ductless mini-split air conditioners and heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular choices for indoor heating and cooling. These systems make whole-house temperature control possible in homes that lack the ductwork necessary for supporting central HVAC equipment. They also allow for zoned heating and cooling for customized comfort and greater overall efficiency. However, if you’re thinking about having ductless equipment installed in your Baltimore, Maryland home, it’s important to understand both the benefits and drawbacks of these systems.
Ductless Mini-splits Don’t Require Major Building Modifications
If you have an older Baltimore home, your house might lack existing ductwork. Many locals living in older, historic properties rely on inefficient window air conditioners, baseboard heaters, or in-floor heating systems. To upgrade to central HVAC systems, these consumers will have to pay significant sums of money to have ductwork added to their homes post-construction. Not only are these modifications costly, but they also disrupt indoor aesthetics, take up a lot of space, and often have less than ideal configurations for noise control and efficiency.
Conversely, ductless mini-split systems don’t require any major building modifications at all. These units have one outdoor component that’s connected to one or more indoor air handlers. Each room or zone that’s serviced by a ductless mini-split has its own air handler. Moreover, only a single, small hole needs to be drilled in a room’s exterior wall to connect its air handler to the outside unit. More often than not, this hole is just 3 inches in diameter.
You Can Use These Systems to Supplement Your Central HVAC Equipment
Ductless mini-split systems are an excellent alternative to central HVAC when homeowners don’t want to pay the high costs of adding ductwork or deal with the many drawbacks of post-construction ducting. However, they’re also great for supplementing existing central HVAC systems. For instance, if you turn your unfinished basement into a rec room, workout room, or home office, you can use a ductless air conditioner or heat pump to ensure that this space remains viable during times of excess cold and heat. Ductless mini-split systems can service garages, recent building additions, enclosed garden rooms, attics, and other remote or under-served areas.
Avoid Energy Waste With Ductless Cooling and Heating
Ductless heating and cooling systems are inherently more efficient than standard central HVAC systems because central heating and cooling equipment is designed to create uniform temperatures throughout entire buildings. Central HVAC systems that have yet to be zoned have a single, central thermostat. The temperature setting at this thermostat is what the heater or air conditioner will work to maintain in every single room. This remains true even when large areas of a home aren’t in use.
With ductless mini-split systems, there is no need to heat or cool rooms that are unoccupied. If someone exits a room or zone, they can simply turn the air handler off. The zoned heating and cooling that ductless designs offer also means that residents in different areas of the building can customize local temperatures to suit their preferences. This setup is ideal for households in which everyone has a dramatically different preference for indoor comfort.
Enjoy a Higher Quality of Indoor Air
Another great reason to choose a ductless mini-split system is that this type of heating and cooling does not have a negative impact on indoor air quality. The heated or cooled air that’s distributed throughout homes that have these systems isn’t passing through great lengths of ducting and picking up harmful particulates along the way. With a high-quality filter in place, a ductless system can limit the amount of dirt, dust, dander, pollen, and other particulates that are floating around in the indoor air.
The Upfront Costs of a Ductless Mini-Split System Can Be High
Ductless heat pumps and air conditioners are more costly to purchase and install than standard, forced-air heating and cooling equipment. However, it’s important to consider the long-term savings that they provide via zoning. With less energy waste, most homeowners notice dramatic decreases in their energy bills. More importantly, having a ductless mini-split installed in a home that lacks reliable heating and cooling can greatly increase both its marketability and its resale value.
Ductless Designs May or May Not Complement Your Existing Decor
Many people love how small and inconspicuous the indoor air handlers for ductless mini-split systems are. These units can be installed high up on the wall, on the ceiling, or in other locations that don’t have a major impact on indoor aesthetics. When compared to a large, cumbersome window air conditioner, they’re much less obtrusive. However, indoor air handlers for ductless mini-splits are usually only available in a fairly limited range of colors. These include:
It’s important to note that ductless mini-split manufacturers are increasingly adding to the available options. Some companies are now offering air handlers in black, charcoal, or silver designs.
Ductless Heat Pumps Might Not Meet Your Winter Heating Needs
There are two basic types of ductless mini-split systems available. Homeowners who already have whole-house heating can have ductless air conditioners installed. These units only provide cool air and are generally only helpful during the summer months. Comparatively, ductless heat pumps provide year-round viability. They can distribute cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter.
In extremely cold weather, ductless heat pumps have a limited capacity to provide warm air. After all, they work by drawing warmth from the outside environment. In Baltimore, if you need reliable summertime cooling, either option will meet your needs. However, when temperatures plummet, having a ductless heat pump installed may necessitate a second, backup heating solution. This way, if your ductless heat pump cannot keep your home sufficiently warm, you won’t have to worry about freezing indoor temperatures.
Is a Ductless Mini-Split Right for Your Home?
In some instances, even when homeowners are willing to sacrifice indoor space and pay the necessary costs for having ductwork installed post-construction, adding a central HVAC system simply isn’t feasible. If you’re looking to upgrade your current heating and cooling strategy, a licensed HVAC company can tell you whether ductless mini-split equipment is the best choice. These systems generally work well for homes that have:
- Remote, under-serviced areas
- New building additions
- Persistent indoor air quality issues
- Multiple rooms that are often unoccupied
Adding a ductless mini-split system to your home is also a great way to modernize a building that hasn’t been improved upon in quite some time and isn’t fully on par with the latest market standards.
[Company_name] provides reliable residential and commercial heating, cooling, and electrical services to residents of the greater Baltimore, MD area. We’re committed to helping all of our clients find the most efficient, cost-effective, and high-performing heating and cooling equipment for their homes. We also staff expert plumbers, and if you want to be sure that your house is impervious to severe weather, we can help you select and install a backup generator. To find out if a ductless mini-split air conditioner or heat pump is the right choice for you, give us a call today.