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Ductless air conditioning: how it works

air conditioningThe ductless mini-split air conditioner is a compact, energy efficient cooling system that is designed to cool a single room or zone without the use of air ducts. It is a popular option for older homes without ductwork, smaller homes, and add-ons where ductwork is not feasible.

How does ductless AC work?

The system consists of two components – an outdoor condenser unit and an indoor air handling unit that is usually mounted high on a wall. The two units are connected by thin copper refrigerant tubing and electrical lines that run through a small opening in the wall. The ductless air conditioning system works by using refrigerant to transfer heat between indoors and outdoors. It extracts the heat from inside your home and converts it to cool air, which is then distributed back into your home via the air handling unit.

Many ductless systems are reversible – they can provide cooling in the summer and heat during the winter months.

The system also functions as a heating unit in the winter!

The ductless AC system consists of:

  1. A condenser unit outside that is either on the ground or mounted on an outside wall
  2. An air handling unit inside that is mounted high on a wall
  3. Refrigerant and electrical lines that connect the two units through a small opening in the wall


Easy installation. The ductless mini-split system does not require ductwork

Superior efficency. No ductwork means you lose less than 5% cooling vs. losing up to 40% for traditional central cooling systems with ductwork. With increased efficiencies of up to 27.2-SEER, you can expect to pay less on utility bills.Some ductless air conditioning models have the highest efficiency ratings of any type of air conditioning system.

Aesthetically pleasing. Ductless air conditioning units are mounted high on a wall, away from the window, providing you with improved security and an unobstructed view, unlike window air conditioning units.

Heating and cooling double duty. Some ductless models can provide home heating in the winter.

Practically Silent Operation. The ductless mini-split runs almost silently since the the noisy compressor and condenser is located outside the home. They can even run quieter than many central air conditioning systems.