How Ductless Mini Split AC Systems Work

When it comes to heating and cooling your home, the right solution makes all the difference. A ductless system offers a whole-home solution that’s more efficient than window AC units, but without the drawbacks of traditional ductwork. Whether your house has no ducts or you want to add a conditioned space, mini splits are an excellent choice. Here’s how they work.

Ductless Mini-Splits

A ductless air conditioner works Mini Split AC just like a central air conditioning system, but with no ducts. It has two main components: an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling unit that allows you to control temperature for each room. An indoor air-handling unit has evaporator coils, which pull heat from the air and send it to the outdoor unit via a conduit that houses power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tube, and condensate drain. An indoor air-handling unit is usually mounted on a wall, although it can be placed in a variety of places—in bookshelves, old radiator covers, inside stairwells, and more. A hole needs to be drilled into the wall, but it’s less invasive—and much less expensive—than installing or repairing ductwork.

The indoor unit can be a single head, or multiple heads can be added to the system for a multi-zone setup. Up to six indoor units can be connected to one outdoor unit using thin lines of power, refrigerant, and drainage. Wall-mounted units are the most common, but if you have an attic or converted garage, you could mount them on the wall or ceiling. Because of the thinner tubes, the indoor units can be placed closer to walls than a traditional ducted vent. You can even use LG’s Art Cool line, which lets you frame a picture or artwork with the indoor air-handling unit.

Because they don’t rely on ducts, ductless mini-splits are ideal for homes and spaces where adding or expanding ductwork would be expensive or impractical. This includes period houses, tiny homes, new construction additions, temperature controlled sheds or workshops, and garage conversions.

They’re also a great way to supplement heating and cooling in an older house, or if you’ve added an addition or finished basement that strains your existing ductwork. The system can be sized specifically for the space you’re cooling, so it doesn’t overwork or waste energy trying to heat and cool the rest of your home.

The system is more efficient than traditional ductwork because it delivers heated and cooled air directly to each room, rather than through a series of holes in your attic or crawlspace. It’s important to get a professional installation, though, to ensure that you have the right number of indoor air-handling units and that they’re properly placed for maximum efficiency. An HVAC expert will discuss your goals and the layout of your house to help you design a network that maximizes comfort while minimizing costs and energy waste. This is an investment that will pay off for years to come.