When it comes to residential and light commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning, a fast-growing market segment is quickly developing into an industry-leading trend. Ductless air conditioners, also called mini-splits, are increasingly replacing the large, bulky window-mounted systems of yesteryear. Is this a passing fad, or are there real benefits to be enjoyed by installing one of these systems in your home or workplace? Read on to find out.
The main difference between these new systems and traditional window air conditioners is that they are smaller, more efficient and more flexible when it comes to mounting and placement. Mini-splits allow homeowners to selectively heat and cool individual rooms according to their occupants’ desires by connecting a single outdoor unit to multiple indoor air controllers.
If you’re considering installing a mini-split air conditioner, you can expect to enjoy the following advantages:
• Increased Efficiency—According to , up to 30 percent of air conditioning energy loss is due to air seeping through imperfect ductwork. This ductless air conditioners bypass ducts entirely, there is no subsequent energy loss, making these devices robust energy savers.
• Easy Installation—Although ductless mini-split systems may seem complex to install, they are actually simpler than most packaged air conditioner systems. For example, installing the EMI Iverter by ECR International requires only a single three-inch hole be drilled into the wall. Since air conduits can be easily extended, the outdoor unit can be mounted anywhere for convenience.
Ductless air conditioners come with remote controls so that tenants and guests can adjust air flow and temperature without having to physically access the device. This means that both the indoor and outdoor units can be effectively hidden from view, which is very valuable and comfortable from a design perspective.
Although this technology offers sufficient benefits to merit investment on any homeowner’s behalf, the units themselves can be more expensive than window units or evaporative coolers. In structures that don’t already have extensive ductwork installed, however, they are a much cheaper and more reliable option than installing a central air unit.
This price difference can be covered through energy savings over the estimated 12-15 years of an air conditioner’s service life, however, since even the best ductwork still produces energy loss. In some conditions, the fact that the outdoor unit produces water through condensation can be troublesome, but proper installation and placement takes care of that issue conveniently.
For more information on comparing mini-split ductless air conditioners with central air units, window units and evaporators, consult this useful infographic made by Energy.gov.
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