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5 Pros of Ductless Air Conditioning: Our Experts Explain

rooms that are too cold in winter and too hot in summer

For years, air conditioning was considered a nice feature to have in your home here in the Pacific Northwest, but it wasn’t considered a necessity. However, following the heat waves over the past several summers, air conditioning has changed from a nice-to-have to a must-have. Check out this New York Times article about the wilting aversion to air conditioners in the PNW (hint: we’re mentioned!).

There isn’t just one way to cool your home. There are many types of AC to consider, and more and more homeowners in the PNW and beyond are turning to ductless options. Here we’ll discuss the numerous benefits of ductless HVAC systems. Keep reading to discover 5 advantages you could gain from choosing ductless AC.

Being Proactive Pays Off

Thinking about installing an air conditioner in your home or apartment to make those hot summer days more comfortable? Now’s a perfect time to start the process. All too often, homeowners wait until the next heatwave hits before they start considering installing a cooling system. Unfortunately, HVAC installers are often overloaded with requests during heatwaves, and customers can end up waiting days (and sometimes weeks, depending on the scope of the project) to get their system installed. With that said, it pays to be proactive!

Weigh Your Options

If you’re in the market for an air conditioner, you’re probably wondering which type is best. There are lots of different types out there, from temporary window air conditioners to central air conditioning to ductless systems. Each type has its own unique set of benefits. So what is ductless AC and why should it be considered for your home or office?

Related: Ductless Mini Split vs Central Air: A Quick Comparison

Pros of Ductless

Though central air conditioning is the go-to option for many homeowners, ductless heat pump systems represent a rising star among the available home-cooling options, due to their ability to meet a multitude of climate control scenarios. Below, we’ll take you through a few of the many benefits of ductless systems.

According to our in-house experts, there are countless advantages to using ductless technology. It wasn’t an easy task, but we’ve asked them to narrow it down to the top 5. Here’s what they said.

Benefit #1: Zoning

One of the primary advantages of ductless mini split systems is the added control they offer. Since each indoor unit can be controlled separately, you can decide which areas or “zones” get cooled and which areas don’t. 

Non-ductless cooling systems cool the entire home, which can be inefficient – and even wasteful at times. You can end up cooling areas that don’t need to be cooled, wasting resources and hiking up your energy bill. Why not go ductless and save on both? Zoning allows you to program and control the indoor air temperature for each area separately, depending on your home and specific needs, which ultimately improves comfortability and efficiency.

Benefit #2: Inverter Technology

With a ductless mini split system, you’re getting both a heating and a cooling system. This allows you to control the temperature in your home year-round, maximizing the benefits of your purchase; it’s a 2-in-1 upgrade. 

One major benefit of ductless mini splits is the use of inverter technology. With ductless systems, you don’t need any backup heat strips, as you would with a regular heat pump. Ductless pumps can operate at very low temperatures without the need for backup components. With inverter technology, you’re also able to achieve the desired temperature much more quickly, with minimal temperature fluctuations. By minimizing these spikes in voltage, you can extend the lifetime of your system’s parts and make it less vulnerable to breakdowns.

Benefit #3: Extra Quiet

Ever had to turn on the AC and then couldn’t hear that movie you were watching? Yep; air conditioners are notoriously noisy and distracting. However, with a ductless system, the major parts of the unit are placed in the exterior of your home, and air comes out of the side of the outdoor unit, rather than the top. This makes ductless air conditioning extra quiet. That means you can easily run your AC while you work or during a phone call, and you don’t have to pause that movie.

Benefit #4: No Ductwork Necessary!

Two of the reasons homeowners hold off on adding AC are 1) the cost and 2) the complexity of installation. When you opt for a ductless HVAC system, you don’t need any ductwork under or through the house to cool your home, which can save you valuable time and money.

Because there’s no ducting involved, the installation of a ductless system is faster and less disruptive. No demolition or tearing down walls means less upheaval and a quicker path to comfort. Additionally, installing ductwork under the house can lead to excess moisture or smells. With ductless, you don’t have to worry about any of that baggage.

Benefit #5: Flexible Placement

With a ductless system, as compared to traditional air conditioners, you have a lot more options in terms of placement. For example, you can attach the unit to the second story of the house, if you’d like. 

You can also place indoor units strategically, to get the highest efficiency and optimize comfort. For example, if you spend most of your day in your home office, you can install an indoor unit in that area of your home and keep just that one unit running while you work. This way, you don’t have to incur the cost of cooling your whole home if you’re not using it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a ductless air conditioner cost?

The cost of installation is a major consideration for many homeowners when choosing an air conditioning system. Ductless systems start at around $5,500 and can go up from there depending on the size of your home and the number of indoor units. While ductless systems are more expensive on installation than standard AC, you can actually save money on your utility bill over time due to their efficiency.

Are ductless AC units more efficient?

Ductless AC units are far more energy-efficient than a traditional HVAC system. The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating system is used to measure energy efficiency. Generally speaking, ductless units have a higher SEER rating than other options. Because of the benefits of zoning, ductless systems won’t waste energy cooling areas of the home that aren’t being used. This conserves energy over time. Additionally, ductwork also comes with the risk of damage such as cracks, leaks, and rusting, which leads to the system having to waste energy by working harder to cool your home. 

Are ductless air conditioners worth it?

There are pros and cons associated with every type of AC. The right system for you and your home can depend on any number of factors, including the size of your home, your lifestyle and preferences, whether you have existing ductwork, and more. Since ductless HVAC systems tend to cost more to install but save you money over the years, they’re generally a good investment for individuals and families who plan to stay in their current homes for the foreseeable future.

How many square feet can a ductless air conditioner cool?

The number of square feet your ductless AC can cool depends on its size and BTU rating. Choosing the right AC size for your home is extremely important. Because sizing depends on factors like the type of flooring and insulation in your home, your ceiling height, windows and doors, and your ideal temperature for comfort, choosing the perfect size can be a tricky task and requires an expert to take exact measurements.

Is ductless cheaper than central air?

Ductless systems are more expensive than central air upon installation. However, due to their energy efficiency, they actually save you money in the long run. Because ductless systems allow you the option of zoning, you have more control over how much energy is spent cooling each room. This can significantly lower your utility bill over time compared to central AC units.

How Can We Help?

If you’d like to set up a time to chat about your heating and cooling needs, we’re just a phone call away! Reach out to us to schedule a consultation and installation. We’re here to answer all your questions and help you make the right choice for your home and family.

About the Author

Amanda Jacobs portrait

Amanda Jacobs, Internal Project Manager

Amanda Jacobs is an Internal Projects Manager and 3rd generation member of Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning. She received her MBA from Seattle University and has worked for a leading HVAC training and consulting firm. When not talking HVAC on the Jacobs Blog, you can find her on the golf course or whipping up her famous vegan chili.