Is a duct-free air conditioner right for you?


Ductless mini-splits, or duct-free HVAC units, can be a useful alternative to cooling and heating homes and businesses. Coming in a variety of sizes capable of controlling the air temperature in the individual zones of a building or home, they offer both economic and environmental advantages. HVAC companies nationwide are installing duct-free systems in multi-family housing units, renovated older single-family homes, and office spaces. They are perfect for residential and commercial consumers alike, offering a unique way to save energy by only cooling areas that are being occupied.


Duct-free systems, as the name implies, have no duct work, and consist of an outdoor condenser and an indoor air handling unit. These are linked together with tubing that houses the power cable, refrigerant, as well as a drain for condensation. In many ways, they operate in a manner similar to a standard air conditioning system.


Going duct-free, however, provides several advantages, although consumers often overlook them. This includes ease of installation, energy savings and system placement flexibility. Duct-free systems can be installed in places where conventional ducted systems simply cannot go. Options for interior design include ceiling and wall mounted units, drop ceiling applications, and even a picture gallery that allows the homeowner to customize the look of the space. Most indoor units have profiles of about 8-11 inches deep, and have a range of designs suitable for any home or office. There are even floor-standing models available. All systems offer a remote control to easily make adjustments to air flow patterns or temperature.


Duct-free systems can also help to keep your home safer, only a small hole needed for the tubing to pass through the wall. In contrast, window-mounted and through-the-wall air conditioners can present an easy entrance for intruders.


While many consumers still have reservations about leaving the world of traditional air conditioners behind, Billy Swanson, president of Tri County Air, believes duct-free systems are starting to proliferate because they offer a huge cost savings, something the economy has forced all consumers to consider closely.


“In terms of the energy you’ll use, the installation costs, and required maintenance, duct-free systems offer people a big savings in the long run,” Billy says. “These things are built to last. And best of all, you won’t sacrifice any comfort if you choose to use one.”