When a house doesn’t have an existing ductwork system to distribute conditioned air, it can be expensive and problematic to install a conventional central air conditioning system. In the past, homeowners would have to make do with portable room air conditioners or deal with the difficulty and expense of trying to conceal newly installed ductwork.
A ductless air conditioning unit is a great option for homeowners who want the comfort and convenience of central air conditioning in a house that doesn’t have a ductwork system.
Today, ductless “mini-split” heat pumps provide homeowners and contractors with a permanent HVAC system option that is well-suited to retrofit applications.
Unlike a conventional forced-air system that relies on a network of ducts and a large, centrally located air handler, a ductless air conditioning system includes smaller air handlers that are permanently mounted on the wall or ceiling. Each air handler is supplied with electricity, a refrigerant line connected to an outdoor compressor, and a condensate drain line.
The unit typically has remote as well as console controls, and blows conditioned air into the room. Depending on its size, a single exterior compressor unit can supply one or more room-size air handlers, and each air handler can be controlled independently.
Most mini-split systems are designed as a heating and cooling system. As with other heat pumps, the heating mode doesn’t work efficiently when temperatures are below freezing.