Are Ductless Systems Really That Versatile?

Published on: October 15, 2013

With four decades of continued research and development behind them, ductless systems may be middle-aged, but they are more efficient and practical for a greater number of applications than other systems. Whether you are configuring a modular ductless multi-split for whole-house heating and cooling or need space-saving supplemental air conditioning for a retrofit, new addition or bonus room, versatile ductless heating and cooling delivers on all occasions better than ever before.

Versatile Design

Each component of ductless systems is designed with versatile installation, energy efficiency and/or practical uses for a wide range of applications. When compared to conventional forced-air systems and space heating and cooling with baseboard and window-A/C units, the line of ductless systems offered by Carrier and Bryant far exceed competing systems for efficiency, comfort, quiet operation and, in many instances, better aesthetics. Some of the advancements which drive versatility include:

  • Distance between the indoor air-handlers and outdoor cabinet has increased from approximately 15 feet to well over 200 feet for select models.
  • Electronic sensors monitor coil performance for more efficient refrigerant heat transfer, delivering smooth heating efficiency (up to 11 HSPF) during cold winter weather, and providing comfortable cooling efficiency (up to 23 SEER) and dehumidification during humid and hot days common throughout the Southeast region.
  • The introduction of the ductless multi-split system provides even more versatility by expanding the range from single-zoned air conditioning to cooling and heating multiple zones in a home or office with one outside compressor/condenser unit.

Configurable Installation

The sleek and compact components of ductless heating and cooling systems drive versatility, and are largely responsible for the popularity of ductless systems for single-zone air conditioning, in lieu of unattractive and unsafe window-A/C units, and modular configurations for multi-zone air conditioning, delivering the capability to heat and cool entire homes.

Sleek and compact ductless components don’t encroach upon living spaces, and they make installation a breeze, which is noteworthy compared to the time and expense of extending ductwork into new additions and remodels. These are the components of ductless systems:

  • Indoor air-handlers: Among the secrets of ductless versatility and energy efficiency are the innovative design options and the advanced components housed inside. The air-handlers may be installed as a popular high-wall mounting or ceiling mounting. Delivering greater options, a mini-duct system integrates a short duct run between two or more rooms or spaces, such as guest bedroom and bath, which channels heated and cool air from a single air-handling unit.

If you’re remodeling a room and installing a hang ceiling, the air-handler may be hung flush, which along with the mini-duct install, resembles the air-supply outlet of conventional forced-air systems. For easiest access to the indoor air quality (IAQ) components, a floor console installation also is available.

  • Outside cabinet: The compressor/condenser unit is housed in the outside cabinet. The cabinet may be mounted to the home’s wall or installed on a small concrete slab, both providing excellent stability which is required for efficient operation. Carrier and Bryant ductless systems are manufactured with durable and long-lasting materials, which resist corrosion from the elements of the climate in the Southeast region.
  • Piping: Refrigerant is pumped from the outside compressor/condenser to the indoor air handlers through refrigerant tubing housed inside a flexible conduit. The conduit also houses the condensate suction and power source. With a Carrier or Bryant ductless system, you’ll enjoy versatile installation locations for installing the outside cabinet and indoor air handlers due to the great lengths, over 100 feet, the conduit may extend.

The conduit needs only an inconspicuous hole in the home’s shell to connect the outside and indoor components. The conduit is installed out of sight; typically routed inside walls, crawl space or basements and/or attic space.

Multiple Applications

It’s difficult to name a heating and cooling application involving a home remodel, room addition, spot or supplemental air conditioning or retrofit by which ductless systems aren’t the most practical and efficient options. Moreover, new-home construction, designed for “green” high-efficiency residences, are implementing in growing numbers modular multi-split systems for whole-house heating and cooling.

Consider the following applications, for which ductless systems deliver the most advantageous solutions, when designing your home-improvement project or high-efficiency new home:

  • Supplemental: The ductless mini-split is an excellent choice for homeowners seeking supplemental or spot heating and cooling in bonus rooms, retrofitted attics, stuffy upstairs bedrooms, garage and/or basement spaces, media rooms and comfort management for home offices.
  • New additions: If you are adding new living space to your home, ductless heating and cooling should be at the top of your list. Extending air ducts into new additions is a sizable expense, and the cumbersome installation comes at the expense of the homeowner’s schedule.

Moreover, additional air ducts mean additional heating and cooling load placed on existing HVAC systems. Consider a single-zoned mini-split unit (or multi-split for large or multiple additions) as your solution for comfortable and efficient heating and cooling.

  • Multi-zoned systems: A multi-zoned ductless system gives you the flexibility to provide zoned heating and cooling into multiple floors and rooms throughout your home. With a multi-split system, you can keep a retrofitted attic bedroom cool in the summer, keep a rec room converted from unused basement space warm in the winter, regulate personalized temperatures in any other room and area in between and run a conduit underground to an outbuilding — all by using multiple air-handlers connected to the same outdoor compressor/condenser.
  • Whole-house systems: Perhaps no other heating and cooling application defines ductless versatility more thoroughly than a whole-house installation using two or more modular multi-zoned ductless systems. (Note: for smaller new-home design, a single 4-ton ductless multi-split system may be more than adequate.)

While whole-house ductless systems cost more than conventional whole-house forced-air systems, you can enjoy a quick return on investment with lower energy bills and lower maintenance costs with a whole-house ductless system. And, you’ll enjoy the unmatched home comfort of a genuine whole-house zoning system.

  • Outbuildings: Would you like to spend more time in your workshop? Is your pool or guest house in need of some TLC in the form of comfortable heating and cooling? Are you converting an outbuilding into a studio apartment, fitness room or any combination listed? Carrier and Bryant ductless systems offer affordable, energy-efficient and comfortable solutions for heating and cooling all of these applications.

High-Efficiency Features

The worldwide demand for energy-efficient heating and cooling for practically any interior space spearheaded ductless innovation and design from their inception four decades ago. High-efficiency components drive ductless performance and system versatility. These are some of the latest cutting-edge advancements in ductless design and manufacturing:

  • High-efficiency refrigerant: High-efficiency and ozone-friendly refrigerant has replaced the outmoded R22 refrigerant (also known as Freon) which was used in older, less-efficient ductless systems. The new R410A refrigerant performs under higher pressure with substantially greater super-heat and super-cool properties and heat transfer capabilities. R410A has helped ductless systems become more efficient and more commonplace in regions with days or weeks of sub-freezing temperatures.
  • Inverter compressor technology: Inverter-driven compressors use variable-speed technology to produce optimal heating and cooling output for less electricity consumption. Inverter-driven compressors operate more quietly than single-stage compressors, and last years longer with better design and less wear and tear.
  • Electronics: Computerized electronics continuously monitor system performance, including coil temperature and function, air filtration and purification components and even detect temperature variances from the floor to the ceiling inside the living spaces, and adjust airflow to compensate.
  • IAQ: You may choose a ductless system with advanced IAQ features which neutralize odors, help destroy bacteria and viruses and remove particulates and allergens from the home for optimum indoor air quality.
  • Custom-sized air-handlers: For multi-split and whole-house ductless systems, you may opt to mix and match the evaporator coils inside each air-handling unit to meet the heating and cooling load of any given room or space from the same compressor/condenser unit. Custom sizing truly makes ductless systems configurable and versatile to any requirements. 

If you have any questions on the versatility of ductless systems, contact us at AC Southeast® to find a contractor in your area of the Southeast United States for more detailed information.