Are you wondering if you can cool different rooms in your house or building without installing a window AC in every room? Then central air conditioning is right for you. But what if you don’t have a space for ducts or you just don’t like ducts?
Mini-split AC systems on Maui are becoming a popular choice. Commercial and residential ductless systems allow people to enjoy the cool air and evade the outdoor heat. These systems provide cool air to different parts of your house or establishment without the need for ductwork installation.
In fact, ductless, mini-split systems (mini splits) are quite common in houses with already existing non-ducted heating systems. They are suitable not only for small apartments but also for houses with extensions or room additions because the installation of additional ducts isn’t practical in such cases.
All conditioners have the same key components. The location of these components varies among different types of systems. Mini-splits are like central systems whose compressor and condenser are in the outdoor unit while the air handler is in the indoor unit. Both units are connected by a conduit, which encases the power cable, refrigerant tubing, condensate drain, among other things. But just like the other types of cooling systems, the ductless system comes with pros and cons that you need to know to guide you in making your choice.
What makes the mini-split system great?
Ask anyone who has chosen this type of air conditioning, and they will probably tell you that they chose this because of its small size. It doesn’t require a lot of space and doesn’t interfere with your daily life. You could almost forget it’s there.
It’s essentially a cross between a central air conditioner and a window type. Although it doesn’t give you the full benefits of centralized air conditioning, it allows you to have as many as four indoor air handlers, which you can place in four different rooms. All air handling units are connected to a single outdoor unit. Each air handler has its own thermostat, so you can make one room cooler or warmer without affecting the temperature in the other rooms. This is a great way to reduce cooling costs, especially if there’s no one in the other rooms or zones.
Mini-splits also allow you to put the indoor air handlers anywhere. You can have one suspended from the ceiling or attached to the wall. There are models with floor-standing indoor units, too.
Ductless mini-split systems on Maui are easier to install than either window units or central air conditioners. You don’t need a window for the unit. For most mini-splits, the conduit between the outdoor and indoor units can pass through a three-inch hole through the wall.
The conduit is an aspect of ductless systems that people find advantageous. Because conduits can be as long as 50 feet, you don’t need to install the indoor air handler and the outdoor unit close to each other. You can choose a better location outdoors for your compressor, for instance.
The absence of ducts makes the system more efficient. Ducts are an inevitable component of central air conditioning. On Maui, where daytime temperatures climb to the high 80s, ducts in unconditioned spaces absorb a lot of surrounding heat. Air traveling through these warm ducts loses some of its coolness. Heat transfer, in this case, accounts for the unfortunate loss of efficiency in your central air conditioning. In fact, heat absorption in ducts in unconditioned spaces may raise your air conditioning bill by as much as 30%. A ductless system doesn’t have this problem.
A window type AC is a potential entry point for burglars, who can gain access to your home by removing your unit. This isn’t a problem for a split system AC, considering you only have an inconspicuous hole in the wall.
What may keep you from choosing the ductless, mini-split system?
It’s no secret that mini-splits are more expensive than central systems. If you compare the prices of a window unit, a central AC, and a mini-split of similar capacities, the mini-split costs about twice as much as the first one and about 30% more than the second. So if budget is a problem, you may have to think your decision through.
Lack of qualified installers
It’s not easy to find HVAC contractors on Maui who is experienced with installing and maintaining ductless air conditioning systems. The wrong installer may calculate your load incorrectly or choose the wrong unit size for your home. Mini-splits can’t be treated like window units or central air conditioning. We’ve seen air handlers in the wrong corners of houses or ductless systems that are too big for a house. These mistakes also occur with other types of air conditioning, but installing technicians seem to make these mistakes more commonly with mini-split systems.
I asked people who didn’t prefer the mini-split system why they don’t like it, and it’s surprising to hear them say they don’t like how the indoor part of the system looks like. It’s an odd reason, considering window units look bulkier and are more obtrusive than the indoor units of mini splits. But some customers say that the ductless system is more like a central system with a few drawbacks.
Are ductless mini-split systems right for you?
A ductless cooling appliance is good for you if:
- Your home doesn’t have a central cooling system.
- You don’t have ductwork or don’t want ducts installed.
- You have an existing air conditioning system, but you did renovations or added another room or did house extension that needs cooling.
- A part of your home needs cooling but isn’t connected to an existing air conditioning system.
- You want to replace your aging air conditioners without having to worry about ducts.
- You live in a place where seasonal temperatures don’t fluctuate dramatically.
- You’re prone to allergies. Ductless cooling appliances have better air filtration capabilities.
Do you have questions regarding ductless mini-split air conditioners? At Pacific Air Conditioning, our contractors are ready to assist you and answer your questions regarding different types of air conditioning systems on Maui. Call us at 808-244-0161.