Tecnician working inside house

Should you choose ductless split systems?

Choosing a new HVAC system for your newly-constructed home can be bothersome and confusing.  There are numerous options available, almost all of which claim to be “the best”. Before choosing a system, there are certain benchmarks which you should consider before investing your time and money. “Simple is best” is the term often used to describe ductless heating/cooling systems, which is why they are an increasingly popular choice for Vancouver homes.

As the name indicates, ductless Split (or mini-split) HVAC systems are exceptionally easy to install and maintain.  If you are still reluctant about whether these small boxes will be worth your money or not, here are some of the benefits of a ductless Split system.

1. Thorough control of temperature

Unlike traditional central, ducted HVAC systems, ductless systems allow you to create different temperature zones inside your home/office. You can set a standard temperature for the master bedroom, living room or in the kitchen. In the kitchen, electric and especially gas stoves can produce unbearable levels of heat.  A ductless split system can easily be programmed to compensate for this extra heat. You can enjoy the comfort of the stable, pleasant temperature inside your kitchen without overcooling the rest of your house.

Similarly, if any of your rooms are colder than others you can increase the temperature of that room according to your comfort needs. In traditional HVAC systems, having different temperature zones in the same house used to be a troublesome, expensive process requiring the addition of dampers and evaporators.  Ductless split systems, being installed on a room by room (or zone by zone) basis, neatly avoid this predicament.

2. Flawless finishing

Ductless systems only require an installation crew to make one 2-3” round hole in the wall. Ducted systems require access to all walls and ceilings in order to run ductwork throughout the house.  In contrast, ductless HVAC systems give you full comfort coverage with only one indoor unit for each large area (no extra ducts required!).

If your home is small to medium-sized, a simple, ductless HVAC system could be best suited for you. You will enjoy the leisure of effective cooling/heating without worrying about duct leakage or sudden shutting down of the system because of incorrect or unbalanced temperature control.

3. Save energy (for better purposes)

Once installed, ductless split systems can reduce your energy cost up to 70%. The major factor behind this energy saving ability is the ability to tailor the placement of unit(s) to fit the floorplan of your home.  When combined with the efficiency of a heat pump (in the outside unit), Split systems offer tremendous savings over other types of HVAC.

Our HVAC experts collectively agree that ductless systems are significantly more cost-effective than central heating/cooling systems when properly used in most buildings.  With lower installation costs and immediate cost saving from lower power usage, Split systems deserve strong consideration for most homes.

4. Easy maintenance

The filter is what actually clean your home’s air, so it demands regular attention to keep everything operating smoothly and the air moving freely.  HVAC systems “condition” air continuously, so the condenser coils must be kept clean in order to exchange heat effectively. Heat, pollen, dirt, and moisture in the air can build up on the coils, which is why they require regular cleaning for peak performance.  If left unmaintained the system may suffer from corrosion, extra power usage and decreased lifespan.

If your ductless HVAC system is functional year-round, out ServiceXCEL experts advise our customers to clean or replace your indoor filter regularly.  A visual inspection of the filters every two months will let you see when the filters need to be cleaned/replaced. Even though these filters can usually do their duty for 12 months (or more), taking precautionary measures to keep filters clean is something we always suggest.

5. Fast Installation

Whether you are moving into a new house or renovating an old one, a major time-consuming factor is the installation process for traditional ductwork. With a Split system, the days when adding ducts used to take many weeks are long gone.  A Split HVAC system doesn’t require turning your house upside-down, tearing up ceilings or removing then replacing drywall.

Installation and Operation a Ductless Split system

A basic Split system has two components:  an indoor unit and an outdoor unit.

The indoor unit is mounted to a wall in the room or zone where the heating and cooling can be most efficiently distributed throughout the space.  When cooling, the indoor unit absorbs heat and moves it to the outdoor unit, where the condenser releases the heat. For heating, this process is carried out in reverse, with heat being extracted from the outside air and transferred to the indoor unit to be spread by the fan throughout the zone.

Traditional heat pumps carry out this heat transfer solely at the outside unit then use large ducts to move the heated/cooled air throughout the home.  In contrast, a Split system transfers heat energy to and from the outdoor unit to the indoor unit by means of the refrigerant itself. The insulated copper pipe which carries this refrigerant between the two units is much smaller than an air duct, and only requires a 2”-3” opening in the wall(s) between the units.  A small drainage pipe is run from the indoor unit to the outside in the same 2”-3” hole to allow condensed water to drain from the unit to the outside. This is necessary because all air conditioners are also dehumidifiers, so the water that condenses and collects on the cold inner unit drains away outside the home via gravity.

It’s worth noting that almost all mini-split indoor units are wall-mounted to give good air flow without taking up valuable floor space inside your home.

Operating and programming a Split unit is both easy and convenient.  Modern units have controls on the indoor units themselves, and also have apps which allow each unit to be individually controlled from a phone or tablet.  For homes with multiple indoor units, each unit can be set to a different comfort level, allowing each zone or room to be a different temperature level. Rather than heating or cooling the entire house at once, Split systems save energy and money by letting you customize your home’s comfort areas with varying temperatures in separate areas at different times throughout the day.

For your safety make sure that the HVAC contractor you are hiring is reliable and an expert in his field. ServiceXCEL is one of the top-rated HVAC contractors in British Columbia, and we are here to guide and help you. Give us a call at (250) 760 – 0898 and speak with one of our Customer Service Representatives who can dispatch one of our expert Technicians to help you.  Our goal is to be British Columbia’s best HVAC company and to turn every new customer into a lifelong customer.