Keeping Cool Without Central Air
Summer is supposed to be the most enjoyable time of the year. If you don’t have central air conditioning, however, chances are you don’t feel that way. You shouldn’t have to spend your whole summer trying increasingly creative (or desperate) things to stay cool. There’s another way… a better way!
If you don’t have the requisite ductwork in your home, you’ve probably given up on the dream of having reliable, permanent air conditioning because of the daunting price of having central AC built in. But what if you didn’t need ductwork for air conditioning? Here’s everything you should know about ductless AC, including who should use it, how it works, and why it’s such a good idea. It’s not too late to enjoy your summer!
What Ductless AC is
Ductless AC units, or “mini-split systems,” are compact, highly-efficient AC units that make permanent, high-quality air conditioning possible in spaces where installing ducts would be impossible or impractical. Conventional air systems require ductwork because they use a single fan, blower, and evaporator coil (usually housed in a large condenser unit outside the building being cooled). The ducts distribute the air cooled by this unit throughout the home.
Ductless units work similarly, but on a smaller scale. They still include outdoor and indoor components, but each unit contains its own fan, blower, condenser, compressor, and evaporator coil. The system cools outdoor air and blows it directly into the room. Not only is ductless AC simpler, it’s a more direct and efficient way to get cool.
How Ductless AC Works
Ductless air conditioning systems use the same refrigeration cycle to cool air as conventional central air systems. AC takes advantage of the fact that when something changes from liquid to gas, it absorbs heat, and when it changes from gas to liquid, it releases heat. This natural process is “phase conversion”. An AC unit repeatedly cycles its refrigerant between liquid and gas to rapidly cool the air that enters the unit.
First, the evaporator coil transforms refrigerant into gas. The change absorbs the heat in the air around it, making it cold. The fan blows this cold air into the building. Then, the compressor transforms refrigerant back into liquid. This process repeats for as long as the AC unit is active. All of this still happens in a ductless unit, but the system blows cool air directly into the room where the unit is located, rather than circulating it through a duct system.
When to Use Ductless AC
Just about any building that doesn’t have central air could use a Ductless AC system. In fact, even buildings with central AC may consider augmenting their system with a ductless unit to get more direct and efficient cooling for particular rooms. Ductless AC is an especially good idea for basements, apartments, or new home additions. Professionals can install units on the walls or ceiling for areas with limited space, and they’re quieter than conventional AC if that’s an important consideration.
A mini-split ductless AC unit is great for effectively cooling an individual room. You could have several mini-splits installed to provide targeted tandem cooling for the entire building. You could also use a “multi-split” ductless AC unit. A multi-split connects multiple indoor air handlers to one outdoor condenser. Similar to zone heating and cooling, each ductless AC unit has its own thermostat. You can set each thermostat to exactly the temperature you want for each room.
Why Ductless AC is a Good Idea
There are several advantages to investing in ductless AC, whether you have central air or not. First, it’s easy to install. You don’t need to worry about teams of construction workers ripping apart your home to install ductwork. A Blue Ox technician can install a ductless AC unit in a couple hours. Ductless AC units are also smaller, quieter, and less intrusive to use than conventional systems. You just put one in a space you want cooled, turn it on, and enjoy.
Ductless AC even often makes financial sense, because it allows for greater temperature control and more efficient cooling than conventional systems. Instead of cooling the entire house, you only cool the areas you need cooled–saving energy and money. Ductless AC units tend to cool more constantly and consistently than conventional units, too, because they’re only monitoring the space you need them to monitor.
Ductless AC might not be the answer for everyone, but if you’re looking for a way to stay cool for the rest of this summer, and all the summers to come, ductless AC might be the answer for you. It’s simple, easy to use, and–best of all–effective.
If you think you might be interested in a ductless AC system, or if you need help with any other heating or cooling concern, give Blue Ox a call today. We’ll do everything we can to ensure you keep cool.