How do ductless cooling systems work and where are they a good fit?

Ductless systems are a popular alternative to traditional HVAC systems here in McComb, Mississippi. These systems combine versatility with better efficiency and comfort. But, just what are ductless systems and how do they work? In this article, we’ll review the benefits of upgrading to a ductless cooling system and what factors make your home a good fit for ductless.

A wall-mounted ductless cooling system in a home here in McComb, MS.How do ductless cooling systems work?

As you might have already guessed, “ductless” systems do not need ductwork to operate. This sets them apart from air conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces, and other centrally driven systems that use ducts to distribute cooled and heated air to each of the rooms of your home.

In contrast, ductless systems have at least two components:

  • An outdoor condenser
  • An indoor blower

The only thing connecting these two sides of the system is a refrigerant line. Ductless systems, like heat pumps, are in the business of transporting heat energy from one place to another. In the summer, that means that the refrigerant in the indoor blower unit absorbs heat before moving the heat energy outside to the condenser, where it’s released. This cooling cycle continues until enough heat energy has been removed from your home to lower the temperature to what you set your thermostat dial to. In the winter—again, just like a heat pump—the system reverses, using the same process to draw heat energy out of the air outside (it’s there, even on the coldest days here in Mississippi) and pump it into your home.

The indoor unit—typically wall-mounted, but also sometimes ceiling or floor-mounted—acts as the blower, sending the cooled (or heated) air into your home to make things comfortable. In a typical home, this happens through the ducts. Ductless systems cut out the middleman and deliver air straight into the room with you.

What is a “mini-split?”

Naturally, having just one indoor blower unit probably isn’t enough to cool down your entire home. Ductless systems are designed to be networked in a “mini-split” configuration. This means that multiple indoor blower units can be connected by refrigerant lines to a single outdoor condenser. Homeowners use mini-split ductless systems to put cooling / heating in each room of their home.

Zoned comfort makes a big difference

This “zoned” approach is impressive for several reasons. First and foremost, it’s energy-efficient. With a traditional HVAC system and ductwork, a surprising amount of cooling and heating is lost in the ducts on the way to the living spaces of your home. This means your air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace has to work harder (and expend more and more energy) to get the home’s temperature to where you want it and overcome those losses. While there are steps homeowners with ducts can take to improve their energy-efficiency (such as having their ducts professionally sealed—a lot of energy is lost through small cracks or pinholes), some of that energy loss is just inherent in the design.

Ductless is different. No ducts means no inherent energy loss through ductwork. By delivering heating and cooling right where it’s needed, ductless systems are able to operate more efficiently than normal HVAC systems.

A multi-split and zoned comfort approach take things even further. Imagine that you and your family are spending the evening in the kitchen of your two-story home, cooking dinner and putting together a puzzle. You can set the system to cool down the kitchen where you all are currently, but otherwise not have the other ductless indoor units in the living room and bedrooms running. This means incredible energy savings: you’re paying to cool down one room instead of several.

Is your home right for a ductless system?

We’ll go ahead and answer this one: yes. That’s because ductless systems can go in any type of home. Some homeowners with existing ductwork and other HVAC systems even have our team install a ductless mini-split to give added comfort in their homes.

If you have a home without existing ductwork, a ductless system is exactly what you want. Installing ducts can be expensive, incredibly invasive, or both. In many historic homes here in Mississippi, there are regulations against the major renovations needed to install ducts. Finally, there are some spaces—from garages to non-connected suites on your property—that just don’t make sense for ductwork.

Get a free in-home estimate from our team

At Southern Air, our mission is to bring comfort to the homeowners of McComb and surrounding communities. We want to help you find the best system for your home, whether that’s a ductless setup or a traditional air conditioner. That’s why the best place to start your search for comfort is by giving our team a call for a free in-home estimate. For this estimate, we’ll send out one of our experienced techs to meet with you and talk about your home comfort needs. We’ll also take the measurements needed to match you with the perfect system and give you an upfront, accurate quote.

If your home needs a new cooling or heating system, don’t forget to ask our team about our financing offers, available with approved credit.