Ductless split air conditioning units are the very best thing for some situations. Of course they can be installed in the place of most any central air unit. They also are a very good alternative to window air conditioning units. I will explore the use of these units more closely and look at how they can be used effectively.
One of the many problems encountered by the professional is when they are asked to install central air in an older home that was never designed with air conditioning as even a possibility. The walls may be very thick stone. Often they have very little or no insulation. The floor structures may be rough cut lumber. The joists spacing may be random.
Walls and ceilings are plaster and lathe. Basically everything is stacked against any type of ducted central air conditioning. Many log style homes also are not very easy to get any kind of ducted central air installed. The open ceilings and the bare log wall design does not allow for any kind of ducting. I’m sure there are other situations. These are the ones that I have come across most frequently.
If you have a home or building that falls into one of these categories you may want to investigate installing a ductless air conditioner. This type of air conditioner can be installed in almost any home or building. The small indoor unit can be attached to the wall with a few screws. Most of the units only require that a three inch hole be bored through the outside wall. In new installations the units can be placed on inside walls with some fore thought and planning. For installation in older homes or homes that are already built you will want to plan the units to be on the outside walls.
The outdoor condenser units can be placed up to one hundred feet away from the indoor units. One outdoor unit can be used for many indoor units. Up to four indoor units can be attached to the same outdoor condenser. Some very advanced electronics will control the operation of the condenser and compressor to supply the refrigerant to the indoor air handler units that are running at the time. With variable speed technology the compressor and the condenser fan will only run as fast as needed. This technology has become very efficient in the last few years. You do not have to give up any efficiency with these ductless split units.
Another advantage to these mini split air conditioners is that they can be controlled to run only in the rooms that you actually need air conditioning in. If you are not going to be in a room you can shut down the unit. The units also have timers that can be set to turn the air conditioning on or off at preset times. If you are not going to be home all day the air conditioning can be setback or turned off.
The timer will turn on the air conditioning so that you return to a cool house. Central air conditioning is very hard to zone effectively. Also with large central air conditioning systems the outdoor compressor will be running at full capacity even though only a few rooms may be calling for cooling. There are some central air conditioning systems that are do some staging and variable speed technology. These are not as efficient or as effective as the ductless split technology.
Ductless split heat pumps are another great idea to look at. For a few dollars more you can also very easily have heat from your air conditioning mini split. Then especially in the mild spring and fall weather you can have some very efficient heat with out starting up that big monster of a furnace or boiler in the basement. In southern climates the heat pump version of the ductless split system may provide enough heat year around.
Ductless split air conditioning is definitely something that can solve many problems for some homeowners. Add to that the many advantages of these units and you will find that they are worth every penny that you will invest into them. As with any project like this make sure that you screen your contractor. These units are not for do it yourself people. There are many things that need to be done correctly for these units to work properly and efficiently. A refrigeration license is also required to install these air conditioners.
By doing a little research and hiring the right person you will enjoy many years of trouble free service from your new ductless mini split system.
Floyd Kolb has worked in the Mechanical/Hvac industry for over 20 years, gaining a wealth of knowledge to share. I have provided solutions to over 20,000 problems at Fixya.com You can check out my solutions and read the many tips that I have wrote about HVAC and appliance related problems. http://www.fixya.com/users/heatman101