Thanks to their simple installation process, ductless air conditioning systems are a popular way to add air conditioning to a home that lacks it, or to a new addition. With their unique designs and lack of energy-wasting ductwork, they are also extremely efficient. Here is how ductless air conditioning systems save energy and reduce your cooling costs.
Lack of Air Ducts
Typical central air conditioning systems use a series of independent air ducts to distribute the cooled air to each room. Even the most efficiently designed, well-insulated ducts will allow the conditioned air to warm slightly before it reaches its destination. As ductwork ages, it loses even more efficiency, with joints that leak conditioned air and insulation that becomes less effective or deteriorates over time. In the average air conditioning system, 30 to 40 percent of the energy used for cooling is wasted as air travels through the ductwork and either warms up or leaks out.
Ductless air conditioning systems feature an interior air handler consisting of an evaporator coil, fan and air filter, which is mounted directly in the room that requires cooling. Mounted outside, the other half features a condenser and compressor in one enclosure, and the two halves are connected through a small opening in the wall that carries the refrigerant lines, electrical cables and other components. By eliminating the ductwork, ductless air conditioners use 30 to 40 percent less energy than a traditional air conditioning system.
With ductless air conditioning systems, one or more air handlers can be added to a single compressor unit, with one air handler in each room that requires a cooling system. The temperature can be adjusted independently at each air handler, allowing some rooms to be cooler than others, or enabling you to completely shut off the cooling system in an unoccupied room. Compared to cooling systems with a single zone, this can save a significant amount of energy.
To learn more about how ductless air conditioning systems save energy, talk to our cooling experts at Conditioned Air. We serve Southwest Florida, including Ft. Myers, Naples, Cape Coral, Sarasota & Bradenton.
Conventional air conditioning systems waste up to 40 percent of the energy they use through losses in the air duct system. By eliminating ducts, mini split air conditioners offer a more efficient alternative that’s easy to install in existing homes, new homes or additions. If you’re considering mini split air conditioners for your home, here are a few things you should know beforehand.
Mini split air conditioners are installed in two sections, an outdoor condenser unit and one or more interior air handlers that can be wall- or ceiling-mounted. The two halves are connected by refrigerant lines and electrical cables through a 4- to 6-inch opening, allowing a flexible installation in nearly any room with very little construction required. There are no ducts or vents to add, and the cool air is delivered directly where it’s needed.
Because mini split systems eliminate the ductwork, they’re typically 30 to 40 percent more efficient than standard systems, resulting in significantly lower cooling costs.
Mini split systems tend to cost up to 30 percent more than traditional air conditioning solutions, though the higher initial price can easily be earned back through long-term energy savings. They are also one of the most cost-effective ways to add cooling to an addition or to a home without air ducts, such as those heated by electric, hot water or steam systems.
Mini split air conditioners are available as single-zone systems, with a condenser unit and a single air handler, or as multiple-zone systems, with a condenser unit and several interior air handlers. With a multiple-zone system, an entire house can be cooled, with each zone having independent temperature controls. Cooling costs can then be reduced by keeping some areas at higher temperatures than frequently used rooms.
To learn more about mini split air conditioners, talk to our HVAC professionals at Conditioned Air, serving Southwest Florida.
Now that the main cooling season is over in Southwest Florida, it’s a good time to do some routine maintenance to your air conditioning system to prepare it for next year. It’s best to have a professional inspect and maintain the system, especially if it was not done at the beginning of the season, but there are several air conditioner maintenance tasks that you can do yourself to prepare the system for winter.
Clean the Condenser Coils
Over the fall and winter months, grass, leaves and dirt can find their way into the condenser coils, preventing proper airflow when the system is running and trapping moisture that can lead to corrosion when the system is idle. Once every 6 months or so, it’s a good idea to shut off power to the air conditioner and remove any debris that’s stuck in the coils, the system fan or around the compressor. Once the large debris has been removed, spray away smaller debris with a garden hose, using a commercial coil cleaning solution if necessary. Remove any large objects that are within two feet of the condenser unit, and trim any grass, bushes or other vegetation within the area to promote proper airflow when the system is running.
Change the Air Filter
Changing the air filter regularly is one of the most important air conditioner maintenance tasks, because it not only protects the system from harmful particles in the air, it also helps improve air quality. Before retiring the system for the cooler weather, make sure to install a new air filter or clean the reusable filter.
Clean the Condensate Drain
Any moisture that is removed from the air as the air conditioner operates is collected in a drip tray and disposed of through the condensate drain, which can easily become clogged with dirt or algae. Carefully clean the condensate drain and make sure that there is no residual moisture.
For more air conditioner maintenance tips, talk to our team at Conditioned Air, serving the Southwest Florida region.