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Question DetailsAsked on 1/6/2014

Has anyone had experience with Ductless HVAC systems?

Wanting to replace my old AC unit with ductless system. Cost seems comparable (ductless a bit expensive but within ball park from what I gathered). Want to know if anyone has installed ductless and what their opinion is.

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5 Answers


The ductless air conditioning systems I am familiar with are for one room or one area, such as, a conference room or residential open living area. How large is the area you are cooling?

Source: Experience

Answered 6 years ago by PoppyRoss


Ductless with multiple indoor units is usually more dollars, when you include the installation, which will be higher. However it provides "zoning" which allows you to keep different rooms/areas at a warmmer or cooler setting when not in use, if that applies for you.

Zoning can also be added to a ducted system, depending on access to the duct system, here in Florid that's usually easy.

Your current ducted system likely leaks heated and cooled area, which can easily be sealed with , ductless has no duct leakage due to the configeration.

Check out both ways and pick what's best for you.As always, find the best contractors on Angie's List!!


Answered 6 years ago by BayAreaAC


From designer/contractor side of the fence, not as a consumer:

By ductless I presume you mean a ductless mini-split, where the main compressor pumps cooling fluid to several evaporators in different rooms, which (with built-in fans) then cool those areas.

These tend to be more expensive than a normal system as a replacement because of the multiple evaporators (which are normally the better part of $1000 or more each installed). In a new installation sometimes the cost of the extra high pressure piping and evaporators can be offset, or at least partly offset, against the cost of having to put in duct work for a conventional system. As a retrofit to a house with conventional system, I find it hard to believe a comparably sized unit could be cheaper than a central air replacement - just does not make sense. Data I have seen indicates mini slpits are about 50-100% more expensive on replacements of central air.

Maintenance tends to be quite a bit higher just because of the added piping loops and fans and evaporators - more things to fail means more failures.

The biggest drawback, to many homeowners, is it is much like having a few window air conditioners in the house, where it is quite cold where the evaporator/fan unit is and quite a bit warmer elsewhere, so you get much more temperature variation throughout the house than with a forced-air system, and if all the evaporators are on the same piping loop (cheaper, not better) than the ones further downstream are running on warmed fluid so they tend to not be as effective, and can even in some cases end up feeling like they are heating rather than cooling the area.

Also, as opposed to central air you do not have the whole-house circulation of air, so odor buildups and mold issues tend to be more common that with central air. This can be quite dramatic with bathroom and kitchen smells, which do not dissipate anywhere as quickly even if all doors are left open in the house.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


In the right application, they work quite well. Mini-splits are perfect for additions and other applications where ductwork, duct runs, and logistics make expanding and balancing the current system less feasible.

Answered 6 years ago by WoWHomeSolutions


After reading WoWHomeSolutions response, I realized my response hit the negative points, and bypassed the positives he hit on.

As he said, as an add-on for an addition or an undercooled area (like maybe an attic or basemnt converted from unused or storage to living space) it can be much easier and cheaper than upgrading an existing ducted system, especially if it would mean replacing the compressor and main lines. Also VERY nice for old historic buildings where you cannot or do not want to be tearing into nice plaster or wood covered ceilings and walls to put in ducts, and for brick and concrete buildings that never had air installed originally, where ducts would have to be exposed but the small pressurized coolant lines can be much more easily concealed. Also nice for small homes, especially slab on grade ranch where you would have to run a lot of duct to serve just a couple of rooms, and ducting wouldhave to pass through a hot attic, wasting cooling energy.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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