ADDING HEAT AND AIR CONDITIONING TO A NEW ADDITION OR RENOVATION
If you heat your home with radiant heat, it is likely your home was not designed with ductwork. If you add central air you will need ducts to carry the chilled air to the rooms or zones you want to cool.
If you have a sunroom it is unlikely the room was designed with ductwork. If you want to turn your sunroom into an all-season room, you have to figure out a way to get cooling and heating to the room.
If you put an addition on your home or want additional heating and cooling in your garage or basement, your current HVAC system is not designed to cool or heat those new spaces.
INSTALLING DUCTWORK IS DESTRUCTIVE AND UNSIGHTLY
There are two ways an HVAC contractor can install new ductwork.
Your contractor can hang the metal ducts on your ceiling and run them up and along your walls, then box them in with drywall.
You wind up with an unsightly box taking up space in your room and disrupting the flow of your architecture, not to mention the mess involved in sheetrocking, spackling, sanding and painting.
Or your contractor can rip out your ceilings and walls to install the new ductwork behind them. This is certainly the preferable of these two options, but you still have to go through the mess, time and expense of reconstruction.
All of the above is not only expensive but very disruptive to home life.
DUCTLESS MINI-SPLITS - A CLEAN, LESS DISRUPTIVE INSTALLATION
A Ductless Mini-Split air conditioner, on the other hand, requires one single three-inch hole be drilled in your wall. The indoor unit mounts directly to a bracket that is secured to the wall and completely hidden once the unit is installed high up on your wall, usually out of your normal line of sight.
Refrigerant lines and power can be run behind your walls if necessary, through existing joists, returns, and crawl spaces.
Often the line set is run straight through the wall behind the indoor unit to the outside of the home where the lineset is encased in elegant "line hide" matching your home's exterior color scheme.
The lines run along the wall to your sleek outdoor heat pump, mounted on a raised stand to protect it from the elements.
Applications of ductless systems:
Many homes add on an extra room that is beyond the original design of the home and the new room does not have either heating or cooling which can make the room very uncomfortable. Typical examples of this would be a basement conversion, an attic conversion, a room added over the garage, or converting the garage to a room. An obvious option would be to expand the existing heating and cooling system to cover the new room. However this can be very complex as running extra ductwork through the home to deliver cooling and expanding the heating system can mean that the in place heating / cooling solution is unable to keep up, and the install can be very disruptive to home life. A much more simple solution can be a simple one outdoor one indoor ductless system that provides the precise needs of the room independently, without impacting the existing heating cooling infrastructure of the home. Furthermore the relative simplicity of the install is much less disruptive to home life and can be more cost effective.
One of the challenges for traditional heating and cooling systems is how to condition a sunroom. Sunrooms represent significant challenges to comfort systems as they have their own unique "climate" - can be very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter due to all the glass. Installing a dedicated system for the room can turn the sunroom into a room that can be used 365 days of the year with the ductless heat pump system maintaining a comfortable temperature year round - cooling in the summer and heating in the winter.
Many older heating and cooling systems can become prohibitively costly to run, especially if the heating system is an oil system. A ductless system with its unique high efficiency technology can help save the homeowner significant reduce their energy bills. Carrier have the highest rated efficiency in the heating and cooling world with a 42 Seer Infiniti system. To put this in context a high efficiency traditional ducted system might be 18 or 19 Seer - so the saving potential can be tremendously high, particularly if you are replacing an old system that is running very inefficiently. Additionally with a heating and cooling head in each room - that is only called on or off when needed, and can be set to run minimally, if at all - means that the ductless systems only heats and cools the rooms that are needed at that time of occupancy - which can be a significant saving, compared to heating and cooling all of the home, all the time.
Ductless has become very popular with homeowners who have become empty nesters and are still in the family home. In this case many of the rooms - mainly bedrooms are used very infrequently. Installing a solution that only heats the rooms that are being used is much more cost effective than maintaining all the rooms with one system. As with the cost reduction need, the high heat capabilities that are now available with heat pump solutions means that your ductless system can provide both heating and cooling for the home.
Many homes still do not have a dedicated cooling system for the home, and rely on a combination of window units and fans which are not particularly effective and can very expensive to run. Installing a ductless system to run with the heating system can significantly increase the comfort of the home. With the scalable architecture the system can be installed in as many of the rooms as required - and be turned on / off as and when the room is occupied and needed. Furthermore because the systems are so efficient they can also be used to provide supplemental heat to rooms - reducing the run times of the less efficient heating system in the home.
More and more people are becoming concerned about their carbon footprint - and one of the most effective ways to reduce a families footprint is to install a high efficiency heating and cooling ductless system. Not only are these systems significantly more efficient than traditional systems, they suffer from much less heat / cooling loss than traditional systems. Traditional systems lose significant heat / cooling through the ductwork / pipes before it is delivered to the room. Some have estimated this loss to be nearly 30% to non-living areas where the pipes ductwork run. With ductless the line sets that carry the heating / cooling liquid to the indoor head are heavily insulated and lose very little of their temperature and thus reduce the loss of heating / cooling to the room. An additional efficiency advantage is that the system will only condition the rooms you need to condition, and can quickly recover an unoccupied room if it is suddenly occupied. There is no greater efficiency than on or off!