As the average square footage of American homes continues to rise (currently nearing 3,000 square feet), the cost of heating and cooling them is also rising.  For example, the cost of heating and cooling a home in Atlanta, Georgia can run from $2,100 to $3,000 per year; Washington, DC – $2,900 to $4,100 per year; Boston, Massachusetts $3,500 to $4,500 per year.

With such a significant investment in utilities, it’s not surprising that homeowners across the country are investigating and investing in more efficient heating and cooling technologies such as ductless HVAC systems.

Ductless HVAC Systems for Residential and Businesses

Ductless HVAC systems (also referred to as mini-split-system heat pumps or mini splits) are a becoming increasingly popular with homeowners due to their convenience and flexibility.  They are easy to retrofit in houses with “non-ducted” heating systems (e.g. hot water heat, radiant panels, etc.), and can also be an excellent choice for room additions where installing or extending existing ductwork isn’t feasible.

Ductless Heating and Air

Basically, ductless systems are reversible, 2-way heat pumps that transfer heat between indoor and outdoor spaces.  They do this by using electricity to compress and expand refrigerant.  Their two main components, an indoor air handler and an outdoor compressor/condenser are linked together through a conduit housing power, refrigerant and drainage.

Advantages of Ductless HVAC Systems

There are several incredible advantages to a ductless HVAC system.

First, ductless systems are smaller and easier to install than many other heating and cooling systems.  The indoor-outdoor conduit only requires a small 3″ hole in the wall, and the units can be placed up to 50 feet from the location of the indoor unit.  This means a cleaner appearance and increased security (wall and window room air-conditioners provide an easy target for intruders).

Second, ductless systems allow for greater interior design options. The indoor air handlers are only about 7″ thick and can be flush mounted to or suspended from a ceiling, or hung on a wall. They also come in floor-standing models.

Third, a ductless system offers the unique ability to create independent comfort “zones” inside the home.  In fact, these pint-sized HVAC systems allow homeowners to create as many as 4 indoor comfort zones with a single unit.  Each of these areas can have their own thermostat and maintain different temperatures.

Finally, ductless systems are significantly more energy efficient.  Because there are no ducts, there is no energy loss (duct losses are responsible for more than 30% of the energy consumption of a traditional duct-based forced air system).

Ultimately, ductless systems distribute warm and/or cool air to a home better than their traditional HVAC options, helping to make each living area more comfortable.