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Is Ductless Heating and Cooling the Right Choice for Your Home?

Man next to ductless minisplit

Air ducts account for energy loss in excess of 30 percent in traditional ducted systems, so there are clear energy advantages to a ductless heating and cooling system. If you need a simple, flexible solution in your Florida home, then ductless mini-splits may be the perfect answer.

Primary Advantages to Ductless Systems

Ductless heat pump systems with mini-splits aren’t for everyone, but they’re an efficient and powerful choice for moderate heating and cooling needs. Some of the primary benefits include:

  • Flexible placement. With traditional heat pumps, the outdoor and indoor portions of the unit have to be placed near each other. This may mean unsightly units that are clearly visible, units being placed in full sun, and other undesirable issues. With ductless mini-splits, the indoor air handling units can be up to 50 feet away from the outdoor portion, allowing you to place it virtually anywhere.
  • Temperature zones. Instead of working from a central unit that supplies your entire house, ductless mini-splits work in individual rooms or temperature zones. Each of these zones can be set with their own thermostat for just the right temperature level. For instance, rooms that are rarely used during the day can be set for minimal heating or cooling, while your main living spaces stay at a comfortable level.
  • Excellent efficiency. Because ducts are the source of tremendous energy losses in most systems, a ductless system will automatically be more efficient. Combine that with the already impressive efficiency of a heat pump and the ability to place outdoor units in the most advantageous spot, and you can really save energy. Make sure to choose units that are compliant with the federal Energy Star program. Such units will be clearly marked. Your HVAC technician can also recommend units that are well-suited for your specific situation.
  • Design flexibility. Traditional vents and bulky air conditioners can create an interior eyesore that you simply have to tolerate. Ductless mini-splits, on the other hand, come in a variety of styles and can be placed anywhere. Hide it along the baseboards or near lighting fixtures, or place a free-standing unit where it adds to the decorative flow. Units are small and have sleek, modern contours that offer significantly better aesthetics than traditional ducted systems.
  • Enhanced security. Like it or not, your HVAC system can be a security risk. Portable in-window conditioners leave a clear opening for intruders, while built-in units may still require a large hole to the outside world. These units are often easier to get past than, say, a locked door that might have an attached security alarm. With ductless mini-splits, the hole is far too small to provide an entrance for anyone.

The installation of ductless mini-splits can be especially advantageous if you currently run space heaters or have ducted electrical or gas systems. Mini-splits are a top choice for new home additions if you currently have radiant panels or a hydronic system, or if you don’t have a good way to expand existing ductwork from your central air system.

Ductless Heating and Cooling System Drawbacks

No system is perfect, and there are a few drawbacks to a ductless heating and cooling system. Top drawbacks include:

  • High installation expense. Initial costs are higher than most HVAC options, especially if you’re adding mini-splits throughout your entire house. Over time, energy savings can offset this cost. It may also be eligible for a partial rebate or installation incentive, which can further offset the high cost.
  • Locating qualified installers. Every indoor unit has to be custom-sized to its zone and location. Oversized units present even more problems than undersized ones, so it’s critical that it’s done right. Not all HVAC technicians will know how to do this properly, so always ask specifically about their experience with ductless mini-splits.
  • Aesthetic issues. Though a ductless heating and cooling system looks a lot better than portable air conditioners, it’s still more visible than central air. This can be a problem for some interior design plans. Discuss the appearance of available units. It may be possible to find one that fits with current decor.

For more information on how a ductless heating and cooling system will work for you, contact us at Climatic Conditioning. We have extensive experience installing ductless mini-splits and can properly customize a new system for your needs. Services are available in Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood and the surrounding areas.

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