Ductless AC units, also known as ductless mini splits, are growing in popularity as a cooling option in homes across the South. When considering this type of system as a cooling option, the big question homeowners wonder is whether ductless mini splits help save money? Energy Savers answers this important question and shares more about how this technology works to help you become more familiar with your HVAC equipment options.
How Do Ductless Mini Splits Work?
Ductless mini splits and central air conditioners do the same job, just in a different way. While a central air conditioning system uses ductwork to distribute conditioned air throughout the home, a ductless air conditioning system does not. Instead of using ducts, cool, conditioned air is fed directly into living spaces via dedicated air handling units installed in each space.
Much like a central air conditioning system, a ductless mini split utilizes both indoor and outdoor components. There is an outdoor condenser unit, which is linked to indoor components. Instead of just one air handler, as there is with a central cooling system, a ductless system can service multiple air handlers, which are installed throughout the home in areas in need of cooling – each area can be controlled independently of the others. Ductless units that use a heat pump are able to deliver heating, too.
Do Ductless Air Conditioning Systems Save Money?
Now that you understand how ductless mini splits work, we tackle the important questions regarding savings. Due to their design, ductless systems can help homeowners generate cost savings when it comes to their heating and cooling bills.
Because the system does not use ductwork to distribute conditioned air, they can generate savings of up to 30 percent right off the bat! How? Most home’s duct systems lose 20 to 30 percent of conditioned air through duct leaks, forcing the HVAC system to work harder to replace lost heating and cooling. Without ductwork, these air leaks do not exist in a ductless system.
Ductless mini splits are highly efficient, but the amount of energy they help homes save depends on the HVAC systems they are replacing. When replacing older, inefficient central heaters and air conditioners, the savings depends on the (in)efficiency of the old units. Mini splits are also installed to replace inefficient room heating and cooling options such as window ACs and electric baseboard heaters. The average ductless system consumes 40 percent less energy than a window air conditioner and 25 to 40 percent less energy than electric baseboard heating systems.
Ductless mini splits have one great advantage that central AC systems do not – the capability to zone cooling comfort. Zoning means that each area of the home has its own thermostat and is controlled separately from the rest of the home. The needs of each zone do not impact comfort levels throughout the rest of the home.
In a central AC system, one thermostat controls settings across the entire house. If you need more cooling in the living room, you turn down the air – but the bedrooms may be comfortable as is, and now they’re going to be too cold because the central air conditioner unit works the same way across the whole home. With a ductless system, changing temperatures impacts only that zone, not others. There’s no energy waste from providing cooling to the entire home when just one area is in need.
A major advantage of choosing ductless mini splits is their flexibility and ability to be installed in areas where it is cost-prohibitive to install central cooling. Ductless systems are great for installation in areas such as home additions, garages, newly finished basements or attics and other areas of the home where an existing central air conditioning system does not extend.
When you build a home addition or finish out a new area of your home, you must consider how to heat and cool this space. Extending your home’s existing heating and cooling system to serve this area may come at a cost that just isn’t worth it for you. Duct systems need to be installed, and there may not be enough space to do so without losing valuable living space. Or the current HVAC equipment may not have the capacity to heat and cool the new area and would have to be upgraded.
In these situations, mini splits are often the perfect fit. These systems can be installed in the new addition to offer zoned comfort, without impacting the rest of the home or requiring upgrades to the main central HVAC system. With its own comfort system, the new living space is not taking heating and cooling away from existing areas, which can cause discomfort throughout the home. Simply adjust the needs of the new area independent of the rest of your living spaces.
Go Ductless with Energy Savers
Homeowners throughout our Georgia and Alabama service area have already gone ductless and are reaping the savings these systems provide. Are you ready to join them or discuss whether a ductless system is right for you? Request a free estimate for installation of a ductless mini split system for your home today!