If you own a home in Louisville, KY and you need a new air conditioning system, a ductless AC might be a good fit. However, if you’ve never had one, you may not know much about such systems. After all, ducted central AC systems are the most common AC type in the United States. You may not even know that ductless AC systems have been around for more than six decades. To bring you up to speed, here is everything you need to know about ductless AC systems. Here, we’ll cover their history, how they work, and the advantages they offer.

The Origin of Ductless Air Conditioners

Ductless air conditioning systems are an invention of the Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. The first model of ductless AC released by the firm dates back to 1959. Its development was a direct result of the housing conditions in Japan in the aftermath of World War II. As the nation recovered from the war, the Japanese economy began growing and creating a new, wealthier middle class. However, most of that growth was happening in large, crowded cities like Tokyo. There, people lived in small houses or apartments that lacked the space for traditional ducted AC systems. As a result, Mitsubishi Electric began developing an all-new type of air conditioner to meet the local demand.

The system they were developing needed to have a few very specific characteristics. For one thing, it couldn’t rely on ductwork. This was because the walls in Japanese homes were typically thin and left no room for ducts. The new system also needed to feature a small, quiet outdoor unit. This was so that the new AC systems would work in apartment buildings and houses that closely bordered neighbors. Finally, the new system needed to be efficient in order to make it affordable for many people to use without overburdening Japan’s isolated electrical grid.

The result of Mitsubishi Electric’s development work was the first ductless mini-split heating and cooling system. This solution had all the required characteristics and soon became widely used throughout Japan. Unfortunately, by the time mini splits began appearing here in the U.S., ducted systems were already common. That limited the sales potential of the new systems and confined them to a small niche market. Today, however, that’s changing as more HVAC contractors and homeowners begin appreciating the advantages offered by mini splits.

How Ductless AC Systems Work

Ductless AC systems contain the same basic components as ducted systems. However, instead of a single indoor air handler, mini splits have an air handler installed in each room. This is how they eliminate the need for ductwork. In its place, ductless systems have only a bundle of refrigerant lines and power cables connecting their components together. As a result, it’s possible to install a ductless mini split virtually anywhere. And you won’t do any major damage to your home’s walls to do it.

The outdoor units that ductless AC systems rely on are typically much smaller than those of central AC systems. However, a single ductless AC outdoor unit can power up to eight indoor air handlers. Each air handler connected to an outdoor unit functions independently of the others. The only limitation is that the total capacity of the air handlers in British Thermal Units BTUs cannot exceed the capacity of the outdoor unit.

When you turn on an air handler, the outdoor unit begins sending cold refrigerant to it. That refrigerant passes through a heat exchanger while a fan circulates indoor air over it. As this happens, the refrigerant absorbs heat and cools the air in the room. When the refrigerant gets hot enough, it boils into a warm vapor. Then, it travels back to the outdoor unit to pass through a compressor that increases its pressure and temperature. This is what allows the outdoor unit to expel heat from your home into the hot outdoor air. As long as the refrigerant is hotter than the outdoor temperature, it will release its heat.

It’s worth pointing out that the outdoor unit of a ductless AC can supply refrigerant to multiple air handlers simultaneously. Therefore, you can run all of your ductless system’s air handlers if you need them. Or, you can turn off the ones in rooms you’re not using.

The Advantages of Ductless AC Systems

Ductless AC systems come with a variety of advantages compared to traditional ducted central AC systems. One is their relatively high efficiency. Ducted AC systems can waste up to 30% of the energy they consume via ductwork losses. That alone gives ductless systems an efficiency advantage. But that’s not all. Ductless AC systems also use things like inverter technology and variable speed motors to further boost their efficiency. That’s why ductless AC systems have an average SEER2 (updated Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating of around 20. For comparison, the average ducted central AC only has a SEER2 rating of 15. That equates to an efficiency gain of over 33%!

Another advantage that you’d get from a ductless AC is that they offer zoned cooling by default. With a mini split, each air handler has its own thermostat and controls. So, a mini split gives you excellent comfort and precise control over the temperature throughout your home. With a ducted system, you’d need a complex zoning system to achieve similar functionality. And even then, a mini split would still provide more precise temperature controls.

Ductless AC systems are also simple to install. All it requires is the installation of a wall-mounted air handler in each room. And each air handler only needs one roughly 3-inch hole drilled through the wall for its refrigerant and power lines. This means adding a mini split to your home is minimally disruptive and won’t damage your walls.

You can even use a ductless AC to add air conditioning to rooms in your home that lack it. For example, if you build a new sunroom or finish your home’s basement, a ductless mini split can cool those spaces, coexisting with your existing central AC system.

Your Ductless Mini-Split AC Experts

If you think a ductless AC is the right solution for your home, Bryant Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric can help. We offer comprehensive HVAC services, including installation, maintenance, and repair. That includes selling and installing the latest in quality ductless AC systems. We also offer plumbing services, electrical services, and ductwork services. We’ve served local homeowners since 1940, building an impressive reputation for top-quality service over the years.

We’re a Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer and employ a team of NATE-certified HVAC technicians. We’re also Better Business Bureau accredited with an A+ rating. And if that’s not enough, we’re a Nextdoor Neighborhood Fave, too. That means we have the seal of approval of your friends and neighbors. We offer financing options on approved credit if you need help paying for a new ductless AC.

If you need a ductless mini-split AC system for your Louisville home, call Bryant Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric today!

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