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Residential Heating and Air Conditioning Blog

How Does a Ductless System Work?


If you haven’t looked into using a ductless system before, and you’re considering replacing your air conditioner and/or heating system, then now can be the perfect time to consider the installation of a ductless system. Ductless systems are great options for multi-story homes, houses with a lot of rooms, or houses that are being added on to. We’ll get into that more below.

In the meantime, how does a ductless system actually work? This is a common question we receive. Also referred to as ductless mini-splits, these systems don’t use ductwork (as their name implies). But they are forced-air heating and cooling systems. So how is all of this possible?

They Operate on Heat Pump Technology

The first thing you should know about a ductless system is that it operates on heat pump technology. Heat pumps are essentially air conditioning systems that can alter the direction of the refrigerant flow to either provide you with effective cooling or efficient heating. When the heat pump operates as an air conditioning system, it’s absorbing the heat from inside your home and moving it outdoors.

When it’s operating as a heating system, heat is absorbed from the air outside and brought indoors. Whether in cooling or in heating mode, there is a blower fan that allows air to be distributed to each room in your home via a series of ductwork. But ductless systems don’t have that ductwork!

Individual Air Handlers

Instead, ductless systems have individual air handlers that can be mounted high up on the wall in each of the rooms that you need one in. These air handlers each have their own thermostat so you can customize the temperature in each room to that room’s use or occupants at the time. A single ductless system outdoor unit can be connected to up to eight indoor air handlers.

Behind each air handler is a conduit that contains a power cord, condensate line, and refrigerant line. And inside each air handler is a blower fan, so that the system can effectively and efficiently heat and cool without the use of ductwork. Alternative to wall-mounting, the air handlers can be floor-mounted. Most people choose wall-mounting for the summertime since heat rises and the air conditioner can work more efficiently the higher up it is. That said, since we have such a chilly climate in the winter, you may decide on floor-mounted air handlers. Our technicians will be happy to talk through your options with you!

Efficiency and Convenience

Ductless systems are highly efficient, mostly because you don’t have to keep your entire home at one temperature when you actually don’t need to do so. Instead, you can have air conditioning coming into a room like your warm kitchen while you’re cooking, without turning the bedrooms of your home into ice boxes.

This is also really convenient, especially if you have a household of occupants all with different heating and cooling preferences, which is typical in large households. Think about it: no more arguments over where to set the thermostat! Instead, you can cool or heat some rooms while leaving others untouched, or setting a more reasonable temperature to save energy, and subsequently save money on energy costs.

Contact Residential Heating and Air Conditioning today for professional ductless system service in Minneapolis, MN.

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