Ductless AC Units – An Alternative to Central Air
The Pros of a Ductless System
A ductless heat pump or air conditioner typically consists of a wall-mounted indoor unit combined with an outside compressor. Unlike window units, ductless units require only a very small hole to be drilled into the wall, making them less vulnerable to air leakage and security problems. Plus, they’re less visible and less noisy.
They’re also exceedingly energy-efficient! In the average house, you’re losing 25 percent or more of your energy to ductwork. Simply by removing the ducts, you end up with a more efficient system. Ductless models also have inverter-driven compressors, which speed up and slow down based on the needs of the system instead of shutting off entirely like traditional HVAC compressors. You consume a lot of energy during compressor start-up.
The Cons of a Ductless System
There are three strikes against ductless for most homeowners: up-front cost, regular maintenance and aesthetics.
For a single-room solution, ductless units cost several times more than comparable window units or baseboard heating units. And in whole-house terms, if you replace your existing central heating/cooling system with a complete ductless solution, you may pay two-to-three times the cost of simply replacing with another unit. You’ll get lower energy bills in return, but how long will it take to recoup the upfront cost?