should you install a ductless mini-split instead of central air conditioning?

December 27, 2023

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For a long time, homeowners in Calgary, AB, had only one viable choice to outfit their homes with an air conditioning system. That was to buy and have a central air conditioning system installed. For homes equipped with in-wall ductwork already, doing so was the simplest choice. Those that didn’t, however, put their owners in the unenviable position of tearing up their finished walls to have ductwork installed.

Today, however, there’s an alternative to traditional central air conditioning systems that’s gaining traction worldwide. It’s called a ductless mini-split AC system, and it offers some remarkable advantages over central air conditioning. Here are all of the reasons why a ductless mini-split makes a great alternative to a central air conditioning system.

EASE OF INSTALLATION

One of the biggest reasons that ductless mini-splits make a great alternative to a central air conditioning system is how easy they are to install. Unlike central air systems, the equipment involved in a ductless mini-split is smaller and lighter. Their outdoor condenser units tend to be slimmer and smaller than those of a central air system. And since they use a separate air handler for each room, there’s no bulky central indoor unit to worry about either.

The hardest part of installing a mini-split system is running the service lines between each air handler and the outdoor condenser. However, even that’s not much more than a matter of drilling a few small holes near each air handler.

ADDED EFFICIENCY

For decades, central air conditioning systems offered the most efficient way to cool your home. Their main competitor, window units, couldn’t hope to compete. Since you’d need a separate unit in each room, their energy needs added up to far more than a central AC system would require. However, window units did have an advantage in one specific way: a lack of ductwork.

One of the ways that central air conditioners lose efficiency is via the ductwork system. As the conditioned air travels from the central unit to the needed rooms, some may leak out of joints and seams in the ductwork. Also, ductwork can conduct heat, raising the temperature of the air before it reaches its destination. That means a central AC has to work harder to overcome those energy losses.

A ductless mini-split, as its name implies, has no such problem. They produce cold air inside an air handler in each room you’re trying to cool. As a result, they tend to boast efficiency rates that beat all but the best central air conditioning systems on the market.

ZONING BY DEFAULT

Another big advantage of ductless mini-split AC systems is that they provide zoned cooling by default because each air handler in a ductless mini-split system has its thermostat and controls. So, you can cool just the rooms you’re planning to use and even set different temperatures in each room according to the preferences of its occupant.

By contrast, most central AC systems operate as a single zone, so they’re either on or off in all rooms simultaneously according to the temperature around a single thermostat. And although it is possible to create multiple zones using a central AC system, it involves adding electronic dampers and control wiring in your home’s ducts. For that reason, you won’t find too many residential central air conditioning systems with more than two zones because any more than that would be impractical.

THE AVAILABILITY OF HEATING AND COOLING

Although not every ductless mini-split offers it, there are systems available that offer both cooling and heating functionality, so a ductless mini-split system could replace both your home’s air conditioning and its furnace or other heat sources. And if you choose a mini-split that relies on heat pump technology, you’ll also gain a heating system that’s likely many times more efficient than the one it’s replacing.

THE ELIMINATION OF HOT AND COLD SPOTS

One of the big drawbacks associated with central AC systems is their tendency to create hot and cold spots within a home. The reason for that is as simple as it is impossible to fix. The vents at the furthest ends of a ductwork run will have less airflow than the ones closest to the central blower unit. To combat that, air conditioning installers try to balance the airflow in a home’s ducts by altering damper settings at various points in each duct run. However, there’s no overcoming physics.

With a ductless mini-split system, each room has an air handler that’s designed to provide sufficient airflow for the room it’s in. There’s no balancing or sleight of hand involved in getting each room to stay at your desired temperature. That means your whole home has exactly the air conditioning power required to cool it at all times.

SIMPLIFIED MAINTENANCE

Another big reason that ductless mini-split systems make a great alternative to conventional central air conditioning is that they’re easy to maintain. A mini-split system is mechanically simple. Plus, since all of the mini-splits components are in easy-to-reach places, it’s easier to service them when they do have a problem.

For example, each air handler in a ductless mini-split has its air filter. Since they’re more easily accessible than the filter in a typical central air system, it’s easier for homeowners to clean them as frequently as they should. Plus, the filters in a mini-split are almost always washable. That means no more buying replacement disposable air filters like you’d have to with a conventional central air conditioning system.

GREAT LONGEVITY

One of the things that many homeowners worry about when choosing an air conditioning system for their home is how long their new system will last. That makes sense since a whole-house air conditioning system is always a major investment. Fortunately, ductless mini-split systems are just as reliable as conventional central AC systems and last for just as long. Today, you can expect the average ductless mini-split system to last between 10 and 30 years, depending on how well you maintain it.

WE’RE CALGARY’S MINI-SPLIT EXPERTS

Now that you know all the benefits of ductless mini-split AC systems, it should be obvious why they’re getting so popular. They offer an excellent alternative to conventional central AC systems without any real tradeoffs. As the leading purveyor of ductless mini-split AC systems in Calgary, AL, we’ve installed them in place of central air conditioning systems countless times.

We have 15 years of experience and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. On top of that, we offer comprehensive heating and cooling services, including installation, repair, and maintenance, as well as air quality testing. So, if you’re considering a new ductless mini-split AC for your Calgary, AB, home or just need some help with the central AC system you already have, call on the experts here at Alberta Mountain Air Heating and Air Conditioning today!

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