Ductless mini-splits, or duct-free HVAC units can be a useful alternative to cool and heat homes and businesses. Coming in a variety of sizes, and with the capability of controlling the air temperature in individual zones of a building or home, they offer both economic and environmental advantages. They're perfect for residential and commercial consumers alike since they offer a unique way to save energy by only cooling areas that are presently being occupied.
Duct-free systems, as the name implies, have no ductwork, and consist of an outdoor condenser and an indoor air-handling unit. These are linked together with tubing that houses the power cable, refrigerant, and a drain for condensation. In many ways, they operate in a manner quite similar to a standard air conditioning system.
Duct-free systems can also help to keep your home safer because only a small hole is needed for the tubing to pass through the wall; whereas window-mounted and through-the-wall air conditioners, unfortunately, can provide an easy entrance for intruders.
Because of the unique installation and placement associated with ductless mini-splits, not all air conditioning contractors are able to properly install them. While many consumers still have reservations about leaving the world of traditional duct air conditioners behind, they offer a huge cost savings for those on a budget.
The cost savings can be significant in terms of installation and energy use.
Duct-free HVAC units can be a useful alternative to cool and heat homes and businesses. HVAC companies nationwide are installing them in multi-family housing units, renovated older single-family homes, and office spaces. Perfect for residential and commercial consumers alike, they:
Duct-free systems, as the name implies, have no ductwork, and consist of an outdoor condenser and an indoor air-handling unit. These are linked together with tubing that houses the power cable, refrigerant, and a drain for condensation. In many ways, they operate in a manner similar to a standard air conditioning system. Dave Harris, Service Manager at Russell's, says that the advantages of duct-free systems include the ease of installation, energy savings, and flexibility in terms of the system placement.
"The benefits are often overlooked by customers, but we like to point out that duct-free systems can be installed in places where conventional ducted systems simply can't go," he says. "Options for interior design include ceiling and wall mounted units, drop ceiling applications and even a picture gallery unit that allows the owner to customize the look of the space."
Most indoor units have profiles of about eight to eleven inches deep. Floor-standing models are also available. The aesthetic-designs fit into any home or office. All models offer a remote control to easily make adjustments to the system's air flow pattern or temperature. The remote can control the on and off button if the unit is positioned high on a wall or suspended from a ceiling.
"I would caution against using a company whose technicians are not proficient in duct-free unit installation, as each unit must be correctly sized and placed," says Dave. "An error here could result in wasted energy, improper temperature or humidity control, and greater long-term operational expenses."
We encourage home and business owners replacing existing systems, building new or remodeling, to consider duct-free systems. He says, "The cost savings can be significant in terms of installation and energy use without compromising the comfort level of the rooms or occupants."
Isabella Astwood has been very pleased with her household's decision to put in a Daikin L series reverse-cycle air conditioner in November 2015 after their two "ancient" gas heating units died. They've found it both a better heater and cheaper to run than the old gas furnaces.
The 5 kW unit does a great job of heating the front lounge room, two bedrooms, a hallway and a bathroom in the 1938 original weatherboard part of their home. They shut this part of the home off from the "thermally terrible" 1990s rear extension.
The timer turns the unit on from 6 am to 8.30 am and then they turn it back on around 4pm ("after school") for four hours until about 8 pm when the lads go to bed.
Isabella notes that the unit heats "astonishingly quickly"."If we close the lounge room doors, it heats that 20m² space in about five minutes." They generally have the double doors open so it blows out to the 9 m² hallway, which also heats up in about five minutes, and they open or close bedroom doors as required.
They use the boost function to quickly "take the chill off the air." Once it's at the set temperature they can run it on a low fan speed. They haven't found it noisy, though they note that other units like the Daikin Cora and US7 have lower decibel ratings.
On the low fan speed they mostly use, they don't really notice that it's present (and it's much quieter than their old gas system's "rocket talcing off" noise). Their heating costs have reduced considerably. After the gas units died, their winter gas bills dropped by $250 for an 8-week billing period.
Isabella estimates that their electricity bills have gone up by just $30 to $50 per quarter in winter. Of course, they had two (old and likely inefficient) gas heaters and they aren't yet heating the back area, but that is a compelling cost difference for them.
Armed with their own experience and information from Facebook group My Efficient Electric Home and the ATA, Isabella is planning thermal upgrades for the rear area and a new unit, possibly a 6 or 7kW Daikin Cora or US7.
Claiming that reliability and compactness make the Danfoss Optyma Slim Pack an excellent new alternative for cost-effective refrigeration, Danfoss Commercial Compressors has announced launching its new range of housed condensing units for medium temperature refrigeration applications.
The manufacturer lists the following product features and benefits:
Weighing up to 87 kilogrammes and designed to fit into a light and compact housing, it offers an easy-to-handle and easy to install solution.
Similar footprints of the two housings allow the use of a single standard bracket for wall mounting, optimising the number of parts it is necessary to keep in stock.
Its aesthetic design blends into its surroundings.
It is designed for indoor or outdoor conditions:
Boasting a sleek tempered glass frame, the LG ArtCool air-conditioner is both an efficient and stylish air-conditioner unit. With the help of a five-stage system, the ArtCool can reduce the spread of harmful airborne bacteria and viruses through its filtering, deodorising, eliminating, ionising and auto cleaning functions.
Featuring a built-in wireless control system. Samsung's 5 Ticks Wi-Fi series of air-conditioners can be operated with ease through compatible Android or IOS 7 smart devices. You can select your preferred temperature, fan speed or turn on the air purifying Virus Doctor function from anywhere at any time.
The CTKS25QVM is an inverter air-conditioning unit that is part of Daikin's SMILE series of air-conditioners that promises to be efficient and wallet-friendly. Additionally, the CTKS25GVM operates at a tow sound level ranging between 19db and 43db. which is comparable to the sound of a gentle breeze.
The Unico inverter is the first fixed air-conditioner without an outdoor unit featuring DC Inverter technology. The patented technological design combines the outdoor motor and wall split into a single compact unit with a heat pump reducing energy consumption by 30% when compared to traditional products, awarding this unit a Double Class A efficiency rating.
The Unico inverter is designed and produced in Italy by King & Miranda and is locally available from Voltas Technologies. Installation requires no external work, the only visible equipment are air diffusion grills.
The unit also boasts a multi-filter system i.e. an electrostatic filter (preventing allergic reactions to smoke particles, dust, pollen, pet hair) and activated carbon filter (preventing bad smells and harmful gases).
It'd be fair to say that Asela Weerasinghe's family doesn't like the cold. Thus, in their double-storey five-bedroom + study home in Melbourne, they have a small split system in each bedroom and the study, and two large split systems in the living area and kitchen.
When they purchased the house in 2016, it had gas ducted heating on the ground floor, but no heating on the first floor. Looking for heating and cooling for the first floor, they considered ducted gas and ducted, multi-head and split reverse-cycle systems.
Asela decided not to go with gas ducted heating: "I was aware of the benefits of getting off gas, and it wouldn't provide any cooling for summer." Ducted reverse-cycle and larger multi-head systems required 3-phase power which they didn't have.
A small multi-head system with five 2 kW units was quoted at $10,000. Therefore they decided to go with single split systems as it was cheaper and more efficient for their needs. They started by installing Panasonic 2.5/3.2 kW units in the upstairs rooms for $8612 in late 2016, and then added 5/6kW units in the living room and kitchen for $4250 in 2017.
Typically, they have the heating on in the lads' bedrooms 7-8.30 am at 28 °C and 7-9 pm at 25 °C; in the kitchen 5-6 am and 5-9 pm (plus ad hoc) at 25 °C; in the living room at 25 °C on an ad hoc basis on weekdays and on Saturdays 8 pm to midnight; and ad hoc in the study at 27 °C. They estimate their heating energy use is 15-20 kWh on the coldest winter days, but they are planning thermal upgrades to improve that.
Compared to the old gas ducted heating, Asela says they "notice more warmth and more consistency of heat in each room." They also like the flexibility to heat just the rooms needed rather than heating the whole house; for example when using the study late at night. One thing they don't like is that on very cold days, it can take a while for hot air flow to start-15 minutes for the 5kW systems and five minutes for the smaller ones.