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Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners: How Do They Do What They Do?

Ductless mini-split air conditioners are attractive options for homeowners searching for a practical cooling solution for room additions, remodeled spaces, supplemental space cooling and much more. Learn how ductless cooling works, and how the latest technological advancements drive performance beyond the reach of many conventional air conditioners while providing homeowners sensible installation options.

What are Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioners?

Ductless mini-split air conditioners deliver cooling to the living spaces by using the same refrigeration principles as conventional ducted air conditioners, but these compact systems offer homeowners several distinct advantages with space-saving design, quiet and energy-efficient operation and numerous installation options.

Like a conventional air conditioner, there is a condenser/compressor unit located outside the home, though the ductless unit is significantly smaller and more discreet for aesthetics. A ductless mini-split air conditioner also saves space on the inside of the home by utilizing sleek air handlers installed directly inside the living spaces, instead of a large space-hog air handler and cooling coil connected to bulky ductwork.

These are the components and basic operation of ductless mini-split air conditioners:

  • Indoor air handlers are mounted high on walls or hung flush in drop ceilings.
  • A flexible thin conduit connects the air handlers to the outdoor condenser/compressor unit.
  • The conduit contains all necessary refrigerant tubing, power supply and drain line.
  • The conduit may span through the attic, crawl space, inside walls and other discreet areas for quick and convenient installation and aesthetics.
  • A small hole of three to four inches is all that's needed in a wall or ceiling to connect the conduit to the air handlers.
  • Another small hole in the outer wall of your home is needed to connect the conduit to the condenser/compressor (no bulky ducts are needed).
  • When activated, the cooling coil inside the air handler extracts heat from the living spaces and releases the heat outside your home at the condenser (the same as a conventional ducted air conditioner).

Comfort, convenience and efficiency

Home comfort, convenient installation and energy efficiency are three birds of a feather with ductless mini-split air conditioners. For instance:

  • Comfortable and quiet operation are credited to energy-efficient inverter technology.
  • Smooth and even cooling is delivered from sophisticated and energy-efficient adjustable fans.
  • Inverter technology regulates precise refrigerant flow and heat exchange for high-efficiency cooling comfort.
  • Simple same-day installation is due to the fact that ductwork doesn't need to be extended, installed or modified to utilize new ductless mini-split air conditioners.
  • Do-it-yourself maintenance is as easy as removing the small filter from the air handler, rinsing it and wiping components clean with a soft cloth.
  • Need additional space cooling in the future? Add another air handler to the same condenser/compressor unit in a fraction of the time and expense of extending ducts with a conventional air conditioner.
  • Do you need to cool rooms to different temperatures? A ductless mini-split system is a zoning system in itself, with separate temperature controls and settings for the air handlers. This maximizes comfort for multiple occupants and saves energy by cooling living spaces only as needed -- not cooling the entire home like conventional air conditioners.
  • With adjustable airflow, improved coil design and refrigerant efficiency, new ductless cooling systems remove more water vapor (humidity) from indoor air on those hot and humid summer days. This saves energy on cooling bills and boosts comfort.
  • In lieu of extending ducts, ductless cooling is ideal for your room addition, retrofitted area and cooling in difficult spaces, or other practical uses such as cooling a sun room or home office.

Advanced technologies

Ductless mini-split air conditioners have always been extremely energy-efficient comfort systems. However, with the latest engineering advances, inverter technology allows compressors to operate at near unlimited speeds. This is significant in that the compressor controls the flow and efficiency of refrigerant, on which refrigeration principles of heat exchange are based. High-efficiency compressors utilizing inverter technology deliver high-efficiency cooling at up to 26 SEER (seasonal energy-efficiency ratio) -- easily topping conventional air conditioners for performance and reducing cooling bills.

Another advancement in ductless cooling technology is the air-filtration system. The air-filtration systems of new ductless mini-split air conditioners is quite sophisticated, offering multiple air-filtration technologies in one package. Homeowners may select models with carbon activated filters, electrostatic filters and anti-bacterial filters. This is significant for maintaining good indoor air quality, which is especially a blessing for occupants suffering from respiratory ailments.

To learn more about ductless mini-split air conditioners for your home or business, visit our website to locate a certified Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Contractor near you. Mitsubishi Electric has been a leader in ductless technology for decades.


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