How Do Ductless Air Conditioners Work?

image of a homeowner with a ductless air conditioner

Ductless air conditioning systems do not need ducts like central, or forced-air air conditioners. They work the same way central ACs do, cooling an area by pulling in warm air, eliminating the water and heat from the air, and disposing of the moisture and heat outside. As they do not utilize ducts, ductless air conditioners deliver the cold air directly into the targeted area. On the other hand, central air conditioners use ductwork to distribute the cold air throughout different areas in your home. However, many homeowners still wonder “How do ductless air conditioners work?”.

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How Do Ductless Air Conditioners Work?


Read on to find out everything you need to know about ductless air conditioners.

Components Of A Ductless AC Unit

ductles air conditioner outside compressor and condenser unit

A ductless air conditioner has three main parts. These are:

  • Evaporator/Blower Unit – This component is located inside the room the cooling system serves. They are usually thin and are three inches in height. It is responsible for sucking in the warm air and moisture from the room it is in. It also channels the cold air into the room while dumping the heat and humidity outside via the conduit at the same time.
  • Conduit – The conduit is what connects the indoor unit to the outdoor unit of your ductless system. It is a long and thin cable consisting of a condensation drain, refrigerant tubing, and an electrical cable. This component powers both the indoor and outdoor components. It is also where the heat and moisture travel from your home’s interior to the condenser, where they are then released outside.
  • Condenser – This is the component placed outside of your home. Its job is to take the heat from your house and release it outside.
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Single-Zone Mini-Split Vs. Multi-Zone Ductless Setups

Ductless air conditioners are an effective way to cool a single room/zone and multi-zones. Therefore, you can install this type of cooling system in various settings depending on your needs.

Single-Zone Ductless Mini-Split

This mini-split consists of one evaporator or blower unit and an outdoor condenser. It is typically used to cool a single room or zone. If you have ample outdoor space to accommodate several condensers, you can set up more ductless air conditioners that will work together to keep your entire house cool. This allows you to customize the temperatures in each room depending on your needs. It also means that if one system breaks down, the rest remains unaffected and will continue to work as they should. Typically, 8 indoor units can attach to one condenser.

Multi-Zone Ductless HVAC

This type of mini-split comes in two configurations. The first one has multiple indoor units connected to a single outdoor condenser (as mentioned above). Each indoor evaporator or blower unit has a thermostat. All units are switched simultaneously when cooling is needed. This makes it a more cost-effective option. It is the ideal setup for buildings wherein each zone or room has different cooling needs.

The second configuration has detached compressor circuits connected with each evaporator unit. This way, you have a customizable system that can achieve true HVAC zoning. The occupants can control the temperature settings in each zone according to their preferences and needs.

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Do Ductless Air Conditioners Have Adequate Cooling Power?

Individual units might seem small, but that is only because they are meant to cool a single room. This allows for easier cooling. However, you need to ensure that the BTU capacity of the system matches the room size so that the unit works effectively. The general rule of thumb is that bigger rooms need higher BTU ratings. Consult a reliable HVAC technician to find the cooling load for your specific needs. They will calculate it using various factors to see what will work best for you.

If it is too small for the area it is cooling, the system will strain to maintain the set temperature. The components will wear out faster, and your unit will need repairs often. On the other hand, short cycling will happen if you have a system that is too large. Frequently turning on and off will lead to a shortened lifespan. Some of the common sizes a ductless air conditioner comes in are:

  • If you have a 400 to 650 square feet room, you need to have a ductless air conditioner that provides 12,000 BTUs per hour.
  • Rooms that measure between 600 and 1000 square feet need an 18,000 BTUs per hour unit.
  • For large areas sized somewhere between 800 and 13,000 square feet, you require a piece of ductless equipment that provides 24,000 BTUs per hour.

Contact your local, trusted HVAC technician to know more about ductless air conditioning systems and the right cooling system for your home.

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Advantages And Disadvantages Of Ductless Air Conditioners

image depicting pros and cons of ductless air conditioners

Some of the pros and cons of having a ductless cooling system are listed below:

Pros Of Ductless Cooling Systems

  • Ductless air conditioning systems have built-in zoning. This allows you to control the unit in each room, depending on your preferred settings.
  • This type of AC is highly energy efficient. states that 20 to 30 percent of conditioned air is wasted because of duct leaks. This is eliminated when you have a ductless cooling system.
  • If you have no ductwork installed at home, ductwork systems are the ideal system to have. It is less costly and will not affect the structural integrity of your home. There is no need to cut through walls, ceilings, or floors for ductwork installation. You also do not have to worry if you have the space required to make it work. Therefore, you avoid having to go through a lengthy and expensive process.
  • Ductless units are highly versatile. They can be placed in various locations around your house, such as the floor, ceiling, or walls. This way, you can fit it according to your home’s configuration.


Cons Of Ductless Air Conditioning Systems

Ductless systems are typically more expensive at the onset. However, they are more energy-efficient and customizable. Keep in mind that if you do not have any ducts, the cost of a central AC installation will significantly increase because you need to have ductwork installed as well. This will make central air conditioners costlier than a similarly sized ductless unit.

Central air conditioners can be hidden in the attic, closer, or basement, while ductless air conditioners are usually mounted on the ceiling, walls, or floor. Therefore, ductless units are more difficult to hide and can affect your aesthetic. However, they are less intrusive and sleeker than a window air conditioner.

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Ductless air conditioning systems are highly versatile, customizable, and energy-efficient. They also remove the need to install a network of ducts to distribute conditioned air, meaning they are generally less costly to install and maintain than a central air conditioner. Call Tower Energy today to explore more on ductless air conditioner benefits.

Call Tower Energy For All Of Your HVAC Requirements

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For all your heating and cooling services needs in Hartford County, Connecticut, contact Tower Energy. We have the best professionally certified and highly trained technicians to conduct excellent HVAC services, including ductless installation, AC repairs, boiler maintenance, and furnace replacements. All our friendly techs have the skills, knowledge, and experience to ensure correct HVAC services at all times.

We have one of the most affordable HVAC service rates in the area. Our HVAC technicians can increase your comfort, energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and indoor air quality with our maintenance services. We can also recommend the best budget-friendly make and model when you need an HVAC replacement. We back all our work with a guarantee. Book your next service appointment with Tower Energy for a free, in-home estimate.

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