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What is a Ductless Air Conditioner and How Does it Work?

What is a Ductless Air Conditioner and How Does it Work?

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ductless - Mini Splits Indoor Unit - room with orange wall white couch and air conditioner on wall

Ductless systems (also known as mini-split systems) are a good option for homeowners who want to use their central unit for heating and cooling while they still have access to their attic or basement. 

They are also popular in commercial buildings because they provide more efficient cooling systems than traditional HVAC systems.

A ductless air conditioner is a type of air-conditioning device that does not require ducts. This means it is installed in a window or wall. Furthermore, it consists of outdoor and indoor units with a refrigerant line to cool the room.

The mini-split indoor units have a compressor, condenser, evaporator coil, and blower motor. Similarly, the mini-split air conditioner outdoor unit has the same components and an expansion valve.

How Do Ductless Air Conditioners Work?

ductless - How Do Ductless Air Conditioners Work - room under construction air conditioner mounted above door frames

Ductless air conditioners or mini-split systems are gaining more ground in the market because of their energy efficiency and affordability. 

They are also smaller and easier to install. The basic components of ductless AC units include an indoor evaporator coil, condenser coil, fan, compressor, and blower motor. 

The evaporator coil is the part that cools or heats the air in the room. It is typically made from copper tubing coated with refrigerant lines and fluid (Freon). Finally, the condenser coil is where hot or cold outside air is cooled or heated before entering your home through the return grill on your roof.

Central air conditioning use one centrally located indoor unit. It establishes a heating and cooling system via ducts and vents. A ductless AC blows cool air directly into the living space without vents. 

A ductless air conditioner works in conjunction with an outdoor compressor, condenser, and evaporator. The compressor compresses the refrigerant tubing, which is passed through the condenser and into the evaporator. 

The liquid refrigerant gradually turns into a gas, and the humidity is eliminated through the indoor air that blows across the coil. Finally, it sends cooler and less humid air back into the living room. These three components work together to ensure your home is cool all summer.

Additionally, the ductless mini-split system can reverse the heating process within the indoor space. Unlike traditional ducted systems, they don’t pull external air. Instead, ductless AC systems recycle surrounding air like an HVAC ducted system.

Benefits of Ductless Mini-Split Systems

ductless - How Do Ductless Air Conditioners Work - air conditioner mounted on wall

These systems offer energy efficiency and easy installation in a few hours. In addition, they don’t lose air through duct leaks like other traditional HVAC systems, as no duct is required. It has been estimated that 20 to 30 percent of energy is lost through the ducts.

Installation is quick, easy, and hassle-free, so you won’t have to worry about patching or painting your walls when it’s done. 

Ductless heating and cooling systems have low operating costs, making them attractive for commercial buildings with high energy costs. They also offer heat energy technology that warms living spaces.

Moreover, ductless wall-mounted AC units have a low-profile design that doesn’t require additional construction. Thus, it doesn’t interfere with interior wall décor. A ductless AC system offers better air quality, cooling capacity, and increased comfort levels.

Zones and Speeds

  • Ductless ACs offer integrated zoning and variable speed options as you get full control of every room’s temperature. It offers a customizable experience with a remote control facility. You can change how much cooling power you want from your central air system by adjusting your settings. 
  • The best part is that its inverter compressor adjusts the Air conditioning requirements instead of shutting them down. 
  • Fortunately, ductless air conditioning units are unnoticeable and maintain a peaceful or quiet atmosphere. In addition, the quiet operation of ductless air conditioning helps you sleep better at night since you won’t hear the noise from the compressor or fan blades like with central HVAC systems.



  • Ductless systems don’t have filters so that they won’t trap allergens like dust or pollen in your entire home. Hence, you’ll be able to avoid allergens or unwanted particles that cause respiratory problems. 
  • People also prefer using ductless mini-split systems as they don’t produce carbon monoxide. That means they have fewer footprints as compared to traditional central systems.

Are Ductless HVAC Systems Worth It?

Some people believe that ductless ACs can be an excellent investment because they are more efficient than traditional central air conditioning units. They also use less electricity than standard central air conditioning units and have a smaller environmental impact.

But there is also some evidence that ductless ACs don’t save you money in the long run because they can be more expensive than traditional central air conditioning units over time due to repair and maintenance.

Conclusion: Should You Get an Indoor Unit?

If you want to prevent indoor wiring, save energy, and preserve the integrity of historic houses, the energy star certified model of a ductless air conditioner is the best choice. 

Also, remember that ductless air conditioners don’t require service calls as often as other types of systems do. However, ductless AC systems are costly and complex to install. 

Looking for more information on air conditioners? Be sure to check out our list of related articles below for more tips and advice.

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