Ductless Air Conditioners

How does it work?

There is nothing more frustrating then finding that your air conditioner isn’t working during a hot summer’s day. As I write this article it’s a few days before Memorial Day and it’s already starting to get hot here in Kansas City. For those of you who don’t know, it can get damn hot here in Kansas during the summer. I’m talking one-hundred plus degrees. If and when your air conditioner stops working it can be even more perplexing when you go out to check on your air conditioner only to find ice all over the machine.

To a lot of folks this just makes things more confusing. The air conditioner is obviously working… as there is ice all over the machine, but why isn’t that cold air moving to your home and why is the machine iced over? That folks is what we are going to tackle in this article. A frozen air conditioner is actually one of the most common questions that HVAC technicians receive and in most cases it can be resolved rather quickly and painlessly.

Ice Ice Baby

Frozen Air Conditioner
Frozen Air Conditioner

Yes, yes… I know. It’s a horrible song and it also shows my age. First thing is first, when it comes to ice on your air conditioner it doesn’t matter if it your traditional split system air conditioner, a ductless system, or even a window air conditioner. All of these different types of air conditioners work in the same way and they all be corrected in the same fashion. When your air conditioner does freeze you will notice frost, and maybe even chunks of ice, on the copper lines leading to your outdoor unit. You may also see that frost and ice transition over to your outside system as well. That being said, please also note that some slight frosting on the copper tubing that carries the refrigerant from the inside to the outside system is common and usual. It is when you notice heavy frosting or even ice accumulation that you need to start figuring out what is going wrong.

Troubleshooting/Correcting

The first step in trying to troubleshoot your frozen air conditioner is turning the system off. If your air conditioner is still running while frozen then the ice and frost are only going to build up. If the ice is really bad you may even turn your thermostat to heat in an effort to speed up the thawing process. Some folks even take a battery powered hair dryer to thaw the ice. It is very important to note here that the ice should not be forcibly chipped off the copper lines and the air conditioner itself. Using tools could harm the lines and the air conditioner itself and end up costing you a whole lot more money then you need to. In some cases you can use water to slowly pour over the copper lines to help speed up melting. Do NOT pour water on the air conditioning unit itself as you could run into water damage and do not dump boiling hot water on the frozen lines. It is best to be patient and wait for the ice to melt.

While you are waiting for the ice to melt it is best to find the condensation drainage pipe and make sure that it isn’t blocked this is one of the main reasons why air conditioners freeze over. If the drainage pipe is blocked then you could have quite a bit of water with nowhere to go. This has happened to me in the past where my basement got slightly flooded due to the condensation line being clogged. Once I cleaned the pipe the water problem went away. When dealing with a window air conditioner it is best to tilt the unit slightly backwards so that the melting ice can drain safely out and away from the unit. Also, if you feel that water/ice had formed inside the ducts near your air conditioner you may consider opening these up and suctioning out water with a shop vacuum. (You would only need to review the central most ducts near your indoor air conditioner.)

Once the ice has melted and the water problem is gone you can try turning on your air conditioner again. In most cases you will find that the air conditioner will fire back on and began running without issues. In other instances, there could be a legitimate problem with your air conditioner and you may end up with iced lines again.

The Why

While your air conditioner may be running again after you cleared the ice there is most likely an underlying problem that will need to be addressed. There can be multiple causes as to why your air conditioner froze. I will try to cover them all here but if I missed something please do not hesitate to reach out to me. Let’s take a look at the most common reasons:

  • Air Filters – Hopefully this was the cause of your frozen air conditioner as this is the easiest and cheapest one to fix. I’ll admit that I am completely guilty of forgetting to change my air conditioner filter. There was a time I went nearly six months. Not changing this filter regularly will result in poor airflow due to all of the dirt and grime that gets stuck to the filter. This poor air flow will restrict the amount of hot air that your evaporator coils receive. Without the needed hot air your evaporator can freeze. By either cleaning or replacing your filter with a new one you may be able to prevent this from happening again and only be twenty or thirty dollars. Lately, I’ve taken to ordering my air filters online through Amazon as it’s much easier and I can even set on a reoccurring purchase that occurs every few months. When the new filter comes in the mail I know it’s time to swap them out.
  • Low Refrigerant – Each air conditioner has as specific amount of refrigerant that it is optimized for. If the system has a lower then needed amount of refrigerant the evaporator can end up running too cold. Please note that correcting this isn’t just as simple as adding new refrigerant. The air conditioning system is an endless closed cycle. In a perfect system refrigerant should not escape. If you are low on refrigerant that means that you have a leak somewhere in your system. This leak will need to be repaired before you put more refrigerant in. If not, then you are just throwing money down the drain and you will run into the same problem down the road. Depending on the type of air conditioner you have this could be a somewhat expensive repair to an extremely expensive one. The newer air conditioners (Since 2010) use a refrigerant known as R-410A. This isn’t too expensive, but it will still cost you to refill your entire system. Now, if your air conditioner is from before 2010 then chances are it is using a refrigerant known as HCFC R-22. This refrigerant is currently phased out and can be extremely expensive to refill your system.
  • Closed Vents – A lot of homeowners like to close vents in rooms they are not using. This is seen as a way to save money. This is all true, but if you close too many vents in your home then that cold air has nowhere to go and could end up freezing some of your lines or your air conditioner itself. Try opening up all of your vents when you turn on your air conditioner again. Watch to see if the problem occurs again. If it doesn’t, then try closing one or two vents, then watch your system again. Rinse and repeat until you determine what the ‘perfect’ number of closed vents is for your home.
  • Thermostat – There could also be a problem with your thermostat. If it is not reading the temperature in your home correctly then this could result in your air conditioner running all day and night. Not only is this going to cost you quite a bit on your power bill but it could also result in your air conditioner freezing. An overworked air conditioner could result in a freezing system.
  • Drainage – Your air conditioner’s primary job is to remove heat. It doesn’t necessarily create cold air but instead just removes the heat from the home. During the hot summer days the heat is removed as well as the humidity. When humidity is removed from the air water is formed. This is called condensation. I’m sure you’ve seen this before as this is where the water comes from that drains into the vent in your basement. If the drainage line is blocked then the water will either flood your basement or it will end up freezing as it’s stuck in the air conditioner. This frozen water will freeze in the drainage pipe and then work it’s way all the way back up to your evaporator coil. If you don’t see any water coming from your drainage pipe, especially in the hottest parts of the summer, then that very well may be your problem. This problem occurs in more humid climates like the south or like in Kansas where I live at.
  • Blower Motor / Fan Speed – For those of you who do not know, the cold air from your air conditioner comes from the fan or blower motor blowing air against the cold evaporator coils. (The evaporator coil is the inside part of your air conditioner that sits above your furnace.) The blowing air then becomes quite cold, but if the fan is not strong enough some of the coldness on the evaporator coils remains and could result in a frozen system. This can be solved by either increasing the speed of your blower motor or by installing a new more powerful blower motor. A new motor can get expensive, so I would try the other solutions here before you get to this step.
  • Ductwork – While this isn’t as common as the other possible reasons we mentioned above it is a possibility. If you have gone through your home and opened all of your closed vents and are still having an issue with freezing then it may be worth looking at the interior of your ducts. Do they look overtly dirty? Is there accumulation? It may make sense to have your ducts professionally cleaned. Along with looking at dirty ducts you may also inspect all of the routing of your ducts to ensure they are in working order. Ensure that they do not have any punctures, holes, or gaps. In most homes you can inspect vents via the attic. If you do end up going into the attic please take care and ensure that you are walking correctly through your attic. There is nothing worse then causing a whole other problem when trying to fix an existing one!
  • Window Unit Tilting – When you install a window air conditioner you need to ensure that the unit is slightly tilted. The tilt should be that indoor portion is slightly higher then the outdoor section. This will allow the water from condensation to drip out. If it is not tilted then you can end up with the same problem that we discussed earlier. The water will freeze and clog your drainage line. The good news is that troubleshooting a window air conditioner is much easier then a traditional split system air conditioner.

Conclusion

If after going through all of these possible reasons you are still having problems with an air conditioner that is accumulating frost or ice then it may be time to contact a professional. Remember, that a continuing freezing air conditioner can permanently damage your air conditioner. If the problem persists then it is worth contacting a local HVAC contractor to look over your system. Hopefully, the problem is not severe and your technician can resolve the issue, but in more extreme cases you may end up needing an entirely new air conditioner.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

When I write articles I pull information from my gained experience but I also consult with various other websites to ensure that the information I am giving you is accurate and factual. That being said, here are the sources that I used to write this article. These are all great websites and I would especially like to point out my first source, ASM-Air.com. This site has a whole host of information, pictures, and videos on anything and everything air conditioning.

Some of us absolutely love summer, because it means more pool time and tanning by the beach. However, when we’re back home, it’s our HVAC system that’s the real hero. Keeping your home’s temperature comfortable is what it does best, but this might also mean increasing energy bills. And yes, these bills can burn quite a hole in your wallet if it goes unchecked.

The primary objective of maintaining an HVAC system properly is to ensure that it’s functioning at its peak of efficiency. This also increases its lifespan. When you get your system checked, you’re bound to find a few faults that need fixing. However, there are some simple steps you can also take to keep your unit in good condition.

Let’s look at some of these:

AC
AC
  1. Cleaning the dehumidifier

The dehumidifier is quite an essential component of your HVAC system. Especially during hotter seasons, it tends to work overtime. So, to clean it, you can remove the outer casing and allow it to air dry for a few hours. Once it’s dry, you can use a dry cloth, a brush cleaner or even a handheld vacuum cleaner to remove the dirt and dust that has settled in it. When the dehumidifier goes unchecked and uncleaned, it can cause clogging over a prolonged period of time.

  1. Check the drainage hole

Did you know about the ring drainage hole in your HVAC system? It’s located right below the fins used for evaporation. It’s quite easy for dust to clog up in this small space, and can inevitably affect the efficiency of your unit. Keeping that in mind, you can locate the drainage hole and use a small object to clean it out. Ideally, a cotton bud or hairpin should do the trick. However, you must be careful not to puncture or crack anything in this hole, since it’s one of the more delicate parts of the unit.

  1. Filter replacement

Find out if your filter is a permanent or a temporary one. Ideally, a temporary filter needs to be replaced every once in two months. You can either do this manually or seek the help of a professional. For a permanent filter, replacement is necessary only once in 6 months, but regular cleaning is an absolute must. If you read the user’s guide carefully, there will be steps on how to carefully remove the filters and clean it. The main aim here, again, is to avoid any clogging of debris in the filter. Clean filters can really contribute to reducing your energy bill as well.

  1. Clear surroundings

Most HVAC systems have their exhaust units outside your home. This means that there’s direct exposure to sunlight, vegetation, rain/snowfall, and other such external factors. Of course, all of this can and will affect the efficiency of your system, which is why you need to be doubly cautious about protecting it. Firstly, it’s necessary to keep it at least a few feet above the ground. Secondly, ensure that there are no objects damaging the unit in any way. Finally, do a regular clean up to remove any debris that might be stuck in or on it. If necessary, you can also protect the unit with an outer covering.

  1. Opt for smart solutions

A lot of things available today are “smart,” so to speak, and it’s a good idea to make the most of that. There are smart thermostats available that indicate the optimal functioning temperature for your HVAC system. This temperature is set based on the current season and also the environment within your home. There are also settings which change the temperature when you’re at home and when you’re not, which helps with reducing the load on the unit and saves energy as well.

  1. Say yes to expert help

As many tips as you might follow by yourself, seeking the assistance of professionals is always a must. They always have the best advice on maintaining your HVAC unit properly and can address whatever air conditioning and service needs you might have. The best option is to schedule periodic service check-ups with your consulting HVAC company, and stay in touch with them for immediate assistance whenever required. In fact, spending on regular services costs a lot lesser than not maintaining your unit the right way, which can lead to heavier expenses in the future.

Final Thoughts

Summertime maintenance of your HVAC system cannot be more crucial than you think. Even your service provider will suggest taking better care of your unit when the climate gets hot. So, with these useful tips in mind, your next power bill won’t be giving your sleepless nights, and your HVAC system should work and feel as good as new!

How Much Does It Cost?

Depending on where you live in the United States air conditioners may be a nice to have feature for your home or they may be a lifesaver. I’m originally from Michigan and the further north you go up in that State the less likely you are find air conditioners and if you do find them they are usually an older window unit that is rarely used. Most of the time it just doesn’t get cold enough up there. On the other side of the coin, if you’re in Miami then an air conditioner has to be a necessity to escape the constant heat and humidity.

The question on how much air conditioners cost can be a tricky one as there are a lot of factors that can go into it. It’s not as easy to say that all air conditioners are two-thousand dollars. No, there are many questions that we need to ask you first before we can give you an educated estimate on what to expect.

What Kind of Air Conditioner Are You Looking For?

The biggest question is what kind of air conditioner are you looking for? There are four main kinds of air conditioners and each one has it’s own set of Pros and Cons. Let’s take a look at each one now and you can then determine what you are looking for.

Window Air Conditioners

  • Window air conditioners are right up there with central systems as one of the most common air conditioners on the market. These are the units you see hanging from high rise apartment buildings and from older farmhouses. Window units provide a great alternative air conditioner for those that cannot afford a large central system. Most of the time these window units are a tenth the cost of a central system and they are also much easier to install. Nearly anyone can install one of these whereas with a central system you will need a trained professional.
  • The downside with these are the visual appeal and also the power. Most of the time a window unit just doesn’t look the best hanging out of a home. You also end up losing access to one of your windows.
  • Along with that, window units are not meant to cool entire homes. Instead, they are more focused for specific rooms or living areas. While some the larger models can cool up to one-thousand square feet you will find that most models cool between one-hundred to five-hundred square feet.

Portable Air Conditioners

  • Portable air conditioners are very similar to window units. They both have a very easy install process. With window units all you have to do is mount the unit, secure it, and there you go. Portables are only slightly different. Instead of mounting the unit all you have to do is route an exhaust pipe through one of your windows. The pipe comes with sealers as well so that you can block the entire window to prevent hot/cold air from getting in/escaping.
  • Portables again are again about the a tenth the cost of traditional central air systems. They can be a bit more expensive then window units, but not by much.
  • These units are great if you want to cool your home room by room, or if you want to cool your living room during the day and your bedroom at night. The portability makes it easy to changes rooms.

Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioners

  • I am a big fan of ductless air conditioners. They offer a great alternative for those of you who want the power of a central system but not the expense. Along with that, they give you that extra step up from a window or portable air conditioner.
  • Ductless Mini Splits are quite a bit more expensive then a window or portable unit. They are about a third or half the price of a central system.
  • Please note that when buying these systems you will most likely need professional installation before you can operate. This will result in additional install expenses. I would not recommend installing one of these yourself unless you know what you are doing.
  • Ductless systems have much more power than a window or portable unit and they also look much better. A window system is hanging out your window and it looks unattractive. A portable unit takes up floor space and has to have the exhaust routed across your floor and out your window. Ductless systems actually mount to your wall and only need a two to three inch hole through the wall for the refrigerant tubing. Most people barely even notice it’s in the room.
  • A lot of ductless systems also come with a built in heat-pump and electric heating coils. That means along with an air conditioner you also get heating. This is a great feature and works amazingly well for detached recreational rooms. We have a garage I’m thinking about finishing the loft in. A ductless system would be a great solution for climate control.

Central Air Conditioners

  • These are the most common air conditioners and the ones that you are most likely familiar with already. These are the large central systems that you see on the outside of homes. They intake the warm air in your home through various intake vents throughout your home and then disperse the cold air back through your home through the output vents.
  • While these are the most common air conditioners they are also the most expensive. Be prepared when quoting these systems out and be ready to pay quite a bit.
  • Also note that with central systems you are going to need a professional HVAC technician to install. While the actual unit can be quite expensive you also have to pay for the install which can add up quite a bit to the total cost of the system.
  • The good news is that central systems can last a long time. Most units end up lasting around fifteen years, some even up to twenty years.

Conclusion

You may have noticed that there was a link above on each type of air conditioner. Those links will take you to the cost break down for each type of air conditioner. So, instead of writing one gigantic large article for you to read through you can make the decision on what kind of system you need, click the link, and get the answer you need.

I hope this article was able to give you the answers you need and if you have any further questions on the matter please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

How Much Does It Cost?

Ductless, or mini-split, air conditioners can be a great alternative for those of you who are afraid to bite the bullet and purchase a traditional central air conditioner. Or, maybe your home or garage isn’t routed with duct-work and a central system is out of the question for you. Or, maybe you want to take the next step up from the unsightly window or portable air conditioners that are out there.

Whatever your reason is, a ductless air conditioner will provide you with a quality product that will cool and heat your home, garage, or office. The question now though, is how much do these mini-split systems cost? What can you expect when you begin shopping for one?

BTUs

First thing’s first, before you purchase or even look at the cost of a portable unit you first need to understand what size unit that you need. If you have already started looking at different products then you may have noticed that each product has what’s called a BTU rating.

BTUs, or British Thermal Units, are the traditional measurement of heat. The more BTUs your air conditioner has the more power it has. Don’t fall into the trap though that bigger is always better. It is always best to find the right sized unit for your needs. If you end up purchasing a product that is much too large for your desired cooling area then you are going to run into unneeded higher energy bills as well as potential hot and cold spots throughout your room due to humidification issues. On the flip side of that, if you purchase a product that is much too small for your room then the system will be running constantly causing you more energy cost at the end of the month. Along with that, you will never truly reach your desired temperature, or if you do, it won’t stay there for long.

In order to find that perfect sized unit you need to figure out how many square feet that you are going to be cooling. This is done rather easily just by measuring the width and length of your room. When you have those numbers you simply multiply them together to get your square footage. Now, there are always considerations that need to be taken into account such as closet space, vaulted ceilings, if the unit will be near the kitchen, etc. Use your best judgement here and if you feel you need to go up a few thousand BTUs then do it.

When you have your square footage you can then calculate the needed BTUs. Most people use the rule of thumb of thirty BTUs per square footage. So, if you have a three-hundred square foot room you will need a nine-thousand BTU system. (300 SF * 30 BTU = 9,000)

Cost

Alright folks, so now that we know what size of air conditioner that you need we can begin to give you an estimate on the price you will pay when purchasing a ductless system. As a broad range ductless systems will cost you between five-hundred to fifteen-hundred dollars. Yes, I realize that is a very wide range of price but as we mentioned above, the size of the unit has a big part of that.

One point to mention is that with ductless systems your cost doesn’t end at purchasing the unit. Most likely, you are not a trained HVAC professional and since you are not you will need to pay an installation fee as well. Ductless systems aren’t as easy to install like a window or a portable air conditioner. No, with a ductless mini system you have to mount your air handler into the interior of your home, mount the condenser to the outside of your home, route the refrigerant copper tubing, test for leaks, vacuum out the nitrogen filler, and then charge your system with refrigerant. All of this can get rather complicated and it is best to pay a trained technician to install. Please keep in mind this extra cost when purchasing.

Here at RefrigerantHQ our top product pick is from the Pioneer brand. This brand on Amazon.com offers you models in all different sizes ranging from nine-thousand BTUs upwards to thirty-six thousand BTUs. That means this unit can cool rooms at three-hundred square feet all the way up to twelve-hundred square feet. That’s an impressive range. (Remember to buy the right size BTU for your needs.) Along with that you get the heat pump and electric heater coil option. This is by far the best ductless pick out there right now.

Amazon also offers a professional installation service on this product. You can see this service when you click on the product page, it’s just below the BTU/Sizing models. This is a great service as Amazon will contract out the work to a local professional and they will then contact you to arrange the install. It’s a great way to give some local business some of your money when buying online.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

VERSUS RefrigerantHQ

When people think air conditioners they either think of the traditional split system that you find in most homes or they think of the window air conditioners that you see mounted in apartment buildings, in older homes that do not have duct work routed in them, or in homes in the northern part of the country that normally don’t have a need for air conditioners.

Most people do not think about portable units, let alone ductless units when considering a new air conditioner for their home. Their go to is usually the window unit. In this article we’re going to do a quick look at the benefits and cons portable and ductless mini split air conditioners as well as what type of system is going to be the best for you.

BTUs

First thing’s first. Before we get into what the differences between these two types of air conditioners it is best to understand the sizes that air conditioners come in. If you’ve already done some research on your own then you may have noticed that air conditioners come with a BTU rating. BTUs, or British Thermal Units, are a measurement of the air conditioner’s ability to remove heat. The higher the number the more power your unit will have.

Global Air 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
Global Air 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

Don’t fall into the trap though that bigger is always better. If you get an air conditioner that is too big then you will be paying extra expense on energy cost as well as the possibility of ending up with hot and cold spots throughout the room due to dehumidification issues. On the inverse of this, if you purchase a unit that is much smaller then you need then the air conditioner will be running constantly causing you to pay more in energy bills. On top of that your room will never fully reach the desired temperature.

The typical rule of thumb when determining the right BTU size for your room is thirty BTUs per square foot of space to be cooled. Finding out the square footage of your room is relatively easy. All you have to do is measure the width and length of the room and multiply the numbers together. So, as an example let’s say we have a twenty by twenty room. If we do the math we have a four-hundred square foot room. In this example we would need a twelve-thousand BTU air conditioner.

Portable Air Conditioners

Ok, so now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s really look at these systems. We’re going to start out with portable systems. Portable air conditioners are just that, portable. What that means is that they can be moved from one room to the other. This makes these units very easy to move with you across the house. If you are looking to cool different rooms throughout the day then this would be the unit for you.

The setup and install is very easy. All you need to do is select the area you that you want cooled, place your unit, and then route the exhaust pipe to the nearest window. When the pipe is routed you will then fit your window with the seal to ensure no hot/cold air escapes. Once this is done all you have to do is turn it on and set the desired temperature.

Portable air conditioners are an ideal system for those that need an air conditioner every once and a while. I’m originally from Michigan and if you go far enough north in Michigan you’ll find many houses that don’t even have air conditioning installed. Most of the time they just have a furnace or a wood burning stove. There are times however where the summer gets exceptionally hot for a few days or a week out of the year. This is where a portable system would be ideal.The setup is quick and easy and before you know it you have your room being cooled off.

The price on portable air conditioners usually aren’t too bad. Depending on the size of the model you purchase you could spend a few hundred dollars all the way up to one-thousand. It’s up to you if you think you need that larger unit or if you want a system with a lot of bells and whistles.

Now there are a few downsides of portable systems as well. The first is that they can get in the way. The unit will be in your room along with the exhaust hose running to your window. This can annoy some people and depending on where you have it positioned it may not look the most appealing.

Another thing to to consider is that the sizing of portable units are typically smaller than that of a multi-split system. I see portable units more orientated to cooling a room or two, but not an entire home. Portables are a temporary measure and shouldn’t be used as a full time air conditioner all the time. If you are looking for something like this then you may want to go the mini split route.

A portable system will most likely not last as long as a ductless system. As I mentioned earlier, I see portable units as a temporary system or a gap fill during a really hot month. If you are looking for longevity in a system then you’ll want to go the ductless mini split route.

Ductless Mini Splits

The ductless, or mini split systems, can be a great addition to your home. I like to think of these types of products as an in between. You have your standard and traditional split systems that you see in most homes and then you have your window or portable air conditioners as well. The ductless systems give you that in between that allows you to get a powerful air conditioner without having to spend several thousands on a traditional split system.

PIONEER Ductless Air Conditioner
PIONEER Ductless Air Conditioner

With a ductless system you can get much more power or BTUs then you would with a standard portable air conditioner. Most portable units began to taper off around fifteen thousand to eighteen thousand BTUs. A reputable ductless system can go as high as thirty-six thousand BTUs. That is nearly double the power of a portable or even a window unit.

Along with the extra power of a mini-split system you also get a much more efficient system. Air conditioner efficiency is measured by what’s known as Energy Efficiency Ratio or it can also be measured by Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. These two numbers provide a measurement on how efficient your air conditioner is. When looking at portable air conditioners the typical SEER you’ll see is around ten to twelve. Ductless mini split systems are whole other story with a SEER number coming in around fifteen to twenty, and in some cases even as high as twenty-five. That means that a ductless system is significantly more efficient then your standard portable air conditioner which will result in you saving energy costs month after month of use.

The last Pro that I’ll mention on ductless systems before we move on to the Cons is that most of these systems come with a built in heat pump and electric heater. That means that not only will you have your air conditioner throughout the summer but you’ll also have a heating supplement throughout the winter. If it gets too cold outside for the heat pump then the electric coils will kick on and you’ll be just as toasty.

There are two big downsides to ductless mini split systems. The first is the cost. We mentioned earlier that portable systems can be a couple hundred up to a thousand dollars. A mini split system will usually START at around five-hundred dollars and can top out at around fifteen-hundred dollars, sometimes even more. This price can scare a lot of folks away from purchasing a ductless system, but there is still more expense after that.

Along with the high price point of ductless systems the installation can be quite difficult. So difficult in fact, that it is recommended to hire a professional HVAC technician to come to your home and install the system. A mini split system comes with three main parts that you will have to install. The first is what’s known as the air handler. The air handler is what is mounted on the inside of your home either on your wall, floor, or ceiling. This is the unit that intakes the hot air and releases the cold air into your home. The second part is known as the condenser. The condenser is the largest of the parts and has to be mounted on the outside of your home. Some users opt for a concrete platform while others opt for mounting brackets drilled into the side of their home.

Here is where things begin to get a bit tricky. The third component of your ductless system is the copper refrigerant tubing. This is the pipeline that the refrigerant will flow through back and forth between the condenser and the air handler. Remember folks, that air conditioning is an endless cycle of the refrigerant flowing back and forth and changing states from liquid to vapor and vapor to liquid. Installing the tubing can be difficult as you have to ensure that you do not bend or break any of the copper tubing. If you do so then your system will be leaking refrigerant and will not be able to cool your home. On top of that, you will have to drill a two to three inch hole in your wall for the refrigerant pipe to be routed to the condenser. You will then have to secure the pipe to the condenser and the air handler and make sure that there is no possible leakage.

We’re still not done yet though folks. Most ductless systems come pre-charged with nitrogen instead of refrigerant. The nitrogen will have to be vacuumed out of the system and then replaced with the refrigerant. Before that is done though, it is best to check your lines and connection points for any leaks. The most common practice here is to take soapy water in a spray bottle and spray it against the connection points. If you see any bubbles then you have a leak. Otherwise, you’re good.

Now it comes time to vacuum out the nitrogen and replace it with the appropriate refrigerant. If the wrong refrigerant is used then you can permanently damage your air conditioner. Also, as of January 1st, 2018 HFC refrigerants are now highly regulated and you will need to be 608 certified in order to purchase.

See why we need a professional HVAC technician? A professional install will end up costing you even more on top of the cost of the ductless system. You could be looking at a few hundred dollars, or something much higher depending on who you have come out to install.

Conclusion

So folks, what will it be? What do you believe is the best fit for your home? Are you looking for just something to get you through a few hot weeks? Then I would suggest the portable. Or, are you looking for something that will get you through the summer and even provide some heat during the winter? If that’s the case then I suggest you purchase a ductless model. Check out our recommended products below:

Our preferred portable air conditioners are:

  1. Honeywell MN10CESBB 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
  2. Black & Decker Portable Air Conditioner in Various BTU Sizes
  3. Honeywell MN12CES 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

Our preferred ductless mini split air conditioners are:

  1. Pioneer Ductless Wall Mount in Various BTU Sizes
  2. Senville Ductless Wall Mount in Various BTU Sizes

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

VERSUS RefrigerantHQ

Most everyone has heard of and seen window air conditioners. For years they have been the end all be all for consumers who want relief from the heat but either can’t afford a traditional split system air conditioner, or perhaps their home just doesn’t have the duct work installed to route the central air. Window air conditioners also offered a relatively low price as well as an easy install. In most cases the install could be done in around a half-hour. All there is to it is setting up the mounting bracket, mounting the air conditioner, securing it, and then extending the curtains to block the rest of the window. With the smaller window units this can be done with one person, but with the larger BTU sizes you may need a second person to help while you secure the air conditioner.

A mini-split system, or a ductless air conditioner, are quite a bit different then your window units. With a mini split you get a mix between the window unit and a traditional split system. I like to think of these systems as the in-between or the compromise. With the mini split you get quite a bit more power then you would find in a window air conditioner. In some cases the split systems can go as high as thirty-six thousand BTUs. (That’s enough cooling power to cool around twelve-hundred square feet.)

Along with the extra power of a mini-split system you also get a much more efficient system. Air conditioner efficiency is measured by what’s known as Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) or it can also be measured by Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). These two numbers provide a measurement on how efficient your air conditioner is. When looking at window air conditioners the typical SEER you’ll see is around ten to twelve. Ductless mini split systems are whole other story with a SEER number coming in around fifteen to twenty, and in some cases even as high as twenty-five. That means that a ductless system is significantly more efficient then your standard window air conditioner which will result in you saving energy costs month after month of use.

There are two big downsides to ductless mini split systems. The first is the cost. A window air conditioner can be as cheap as one-hundred dollars or as expensive as five-hundred dollars. A mini split system will usually START at around five-hundred dollars and can top out at around fifteen-hundred dollars. This price can scare a lot of folks away from purchasing a ductless system, but there is still more expense after that.

Along with the high price point of ductless systems the installation can be quite difficult. So difficult in fact, that it is recommended to hire a professional HVAC technician to come to your home and install the system. A mini split system comes with three main parts that you will have to install. The first is what’s known as the air handler. The air handler is what is mounted on the inside of your home either on your wall, floor, or ceiling. This is the unit that intakes the hot air and releases the cold air into your home. The second part is known as the condenser. The condenser is the largest of the parts and has to be mounted on the outside of your home. Some users opt for a concrete platform while others opt for mounting brackets drilled into the side of their home.

Here is where things begin to get a bit tricky. The third component of your ductless system is the copper refrigerant tubing. This is the pipeline that the refrigerant will flow through back and forth between the condenser and the air handler. (Remember folks, that air conditioning is an endless cycle of the refrigerant flowing back and forth and changing states from liquid to vapor and vapor to liquid.) Installing the tubing can be difficult as you have to ensure that you do not bend or break any of the copper tubing. If you do so then your system will be leaking refrigerant and will not be able to cool your home. Along with all of that, you will have to drill a two to three inch hole in your wall for the refrigerant pipe to be routed to the condenser. You will then have to secure the pipe to the condenser and the air handler and make sure that there is no possible leakage.

We’re still not done yet though folks. Most ductless systems come pre-charged with nitrogen instead of refrigerant. The nitrogen will have to be vacuumed out of the system and then replaced with the refrigerant. Before that is done though, it is best to check your lines and connection points for any leaks. The most common practice here is to take soapy water in a spray bottle and spray it against the connection points. If you see any bubbles then you have a leak. Otherwise, you’re good.

Now it comes time to vacuum out the nitrogen and replace it with the appropriate refrigerant. If the wrong refrigerant is used then you can permanently damage your air conditioner. Also, as of January 1st, 2018 HFC refrigerants are now highly regulated and you will need to be 608 certified in order to purchase. Technically, you can still purchase single pound or two pound cans of refrigerant without a license, but even then you have to make sure you know what you are doing before vacuuming and charging your system.

See why we need a professional HVAC technician? A professional install will end up costing you even more on top of the cost of the ductless system, but it will ensure that your system is setup correctly and will provide cooling and heating for your home for years to come. You could be looking at a few hundred dollars for an install, or something much higher depending on who you have come out to install.

So, Window or Ductless?

That is the question, and the answer is going to depend on a few things. The first thing I’m going to ask you is what do you want out of your new air conditioner? Are you looking for relief from the heat while you are sleeping? Do you want something that’s not going to be too expensive and will let you sleep through the night? If so, then a window unit is most likely the best bet for you. Today you can go on Amazon.com and choose between various five-thousand BTU models that will keep your room cool through the night. Most of these range between one-hundred to two-hundred dollars. This will give you that restful night’s sleep all the while not spending too much on a new system. Here at RefrigerantHQ we recommend Frigidaire’s FFRA0511R1.

Now let’s look at another scenario. Let’s say your home has a traditional split system installed but for whatever reason the air flow just isn’t providing enough cool air to the upstairs of your home. My family and I had a similar problem with our large bedroom over our garage. The bedroom was rather large as it covered the entirety of our three car garage so a standard five-thousand BTU unit would not be good enough. We either had to go with a much larger window unit or we could go with a ductless system. In this scenario we ended up going the window route (Frigidaire FFRE1233S1), but a ductless would have been a great fit as well… perhaps even a better fit. I like to think of window air conditioners as a temporary solution that will have to replaced every few years, whereas ductless system is a more permanent solution to cool and heat your home. So, if we had gone the ductless route I may not have had to replace window after only four years. As an example, the Pioneer WYS012GMFI17RL would have been a great alternative that would have lasted more then four years.

The last option that I want to bring up is cooling your whole home. Let’s say you have a thirteen-hundred square foot home that you are looking to cool and for whatever reason the traditional split system air conditioner is not an option. It could be price or it could simply be that your home is older and doesn’t even have duct work installed. There were quite a few farm houses I visited that had absolutely no duct work. A lot of people in these situations end up going the window air conditioner route. I would argue against this. As you get into the larger square footage the ductless mini split systems become more and more optimal. Yes, you’re going to pay more, but you are getting more power, more efficiency, and more longevity then your typical window unit. In this same example of a thirteen-hundred square foot home I would recommend Pioneer’s WYS036GMFI17RL. Also, if you do decide to purchase a ductless unit don’t forget that Amazon actually offers a professional install service that contracts out a fully trained professional to come to your home and do the install. The install link is on the same page that I linked above.  This is great for those of you who are intimidated by a ductless install.

Conclusion

Well folks, what do you think? What will you end up getting? I hope this article was able to steer you in the right direction and to also give you some pros and cons of each type of air conditioner. Regardless of which one you decide with the end result will be the same.  Your room or home will be cooled. It’s just a matter of preference and what you want out of your air conditioner.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another product review from RefrigerantHQ. Today we are going to be focusing on a ductless air conditioner, also known as a mini-split system. These air conditioners provide a great alternative to those of you who want something a bit nicer then a window or a portable unit but also don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on getting a traditional split system installed.

In this review we will be taking a look at the various sizes and models that are offered from Senville. Now, please be cognizant that this will be an all encompassing review and that we will be covering different models all from Seville. (The only real difference between these models is their size, so not much is going to change between each unit.) At the end of this article we’ll do a quick breakdown for you of each model number and what they have to offer.

Before You Buy

First thing’s first, before we look at all of the details of this product and what it has to offer I want to make sure that you understand what all goes into a ductless air conditioner. They can be a great solution for your home or office, but they can also be a huge headache when it comes to installing. Let’s take a moment here and dive in to what you should consider before purchasing.

Senville SENL Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner
Senville SENL Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner

The first point that I’m going to mention, and probably the most important, is what sized unit that you need. You may have noticed by now that when looking for an air conditioner that they all come with a BTU number. BTUs, also known as British Thermal Units, are a measurement of the cooling capacity of your air conditioner. The higher the number the larger the space the unit can cool. Don’t fall for the trap though that bigger is always better though. It is always best practice to find the closest fit unit for your needs. If you end up purchasing a unit that is too big for your area then you will be wasting energy and you may even end up with hot and cold spots due to dehudmification issues. On the inverse, if you purchase a unit that is too small for your area then the system will be running constantly trying to keep up and you will never get to that desired temperature.

So, what size BTU unit should you get? Before you make that decision it is best to know the square footage of your room. This is a simple equation that can be done just by taking the length and width of your room and multiplying them together. Once you have that number you can begin to see the amount of BTUs that you need. The standard rule of thumb is thirty BTUS per square foot of the room. So, let’s say you have an eight-hundred square foot area you want to cool. Eight-hundred times thirty BTUs equals out to twenty-four thousand BTUs. Now the Senville ductless system comes with a variety of sizes. It is up to you to determine what the perfect size is for your needs. Your options are below and by clicking on these links you’ll be taken to the Amazon page where you can do further research.

I want to mention one more thing before we get into the actual product features. Yes, yes I know, this isn’t the fun part but it is necessary so that you understand what you’re getting into before you purchase. Mini-split systems are not easy to install, especially if you are a laymen when it comes to air conditioning work. Ductless systems like these aren’t as simple as a window unit where you can mount and forget it. No, with a system like this you have to mount the interior air handler in your room, drill a two-three inch hole, route the copper refrigerant tubing/draining pipe through the hole, install and mount the condenser on the outside of your home, connect the tubing (Flaring the tube if needed), check for any possible leaks, and even after all that we’re still not done. You will need to wire the unit, setup an electrical outlet box on the outside of your home, vacuum out the pre-filled nitrogen from you system, and then input the actual refrigerant.

This is a huge undertaking, especially if it’s your first time doing something like this. A lot of people who purchase mini-split systems like these buy online from stores like Amazon.com to save the mark-up they would see from their local HVAC contractors. Then, once they have their unit in hand they call the technician to come out and install. This is what I would advise. I would not advise you try this on your own unless you know exactly what you are doing. Otherwise, you risk damaging the unit by installing it correctly, or it could be something as simple as the tubes weren’t fitted right and the unit is leaking refrigerant. There are so many variables when it comes to this that it is best to hire an expert.

Product Features

Alright folks, have I bored you enough yet with all of this installation talk? Well, let’s move on to the fun stuff now. Let’s take a look at the actual product features and what you will be able to do if you purchase the Senville air conditioning unit.

Senville Air Conditioner Remote
Senville Air Conditioner Remote

There are a whole host of features to be aware of and I may end up missing some here and there but here is what I have found throughout my research on the product. The first, and biggest selling point to me, is that this product comes with a heat pump as well as an air conditioner. Along with that, most air conditioners that come with heat pumps do not have a matching BTU. Typically, you’ll see the heat pump attachment having a few thousand BTUs lower then the air conditioning system. That is NOT the case with this Senville brand ductless system. In fact, your heat pump BTU is right in line with the air conditioning BTU no matter what size you choose.

One thing to mention is that this unit comes with a heat pump. A heat pump is only effective up until a certain temperature. If it begins to get too cold then your heat pump will no longer be as efficient. Now, depending on who you ask, this temperature range can vary. Most people say around forty degrees is when the peak performance begins to drop. Instead of the unit taking heat from outside of your home and transferring to the inside of your home, you will now have electric heating coils activate to give your home heat. The difference here is that these coils are not as efficient as the standard process. This will result in two things: The first is that the BTU heating capacity of your air conditioner will fall slightly. Secondly, you will end up paying more in energy when you begin to use electric coils. Now, Senville claims that their product will heat rooms fully with outside temperatures as low as five degrees Fahrenheit, but again, you are relying on the electric coils in these situations. If you live in an area that gets rather extreme winters then you may consider buying an infrared unit as well to heat the room. (I prefer the infrared fireplaces.)

Speaking of heating and air conditioning, the Senville system comes with an automatic switch mode that allows the unit to switch between cooling, heating, and dry. Having this feature enabled allows you to have the most efficiently run air conditioner.  When the machine senses the temperatures rising or falling it turns on accordingly. Another setting this comes with is a timer. The timer can be great for programming your air conditioner to turn off and on during set times of the day. A lot of people use this to shut their unit off during night hours and have it kick back on again during the morning. This saves some energy and only has to be programmed once. To control all of these functions you get a remote control. (Pictured to the right.)

The last two feature points that I want to make is that the unit comes with multi-directional air vents which allows you to change the direction the air is blowing and that this product comes with what’s called ‘Whisper’ technology. What this means is that the unit runs extremely quiet. Much much quieter then a standard window or portable air conditioner. This product would be great for a bedroom or other area where people are sleeping.

Many of you may not care about this, but the refrigerant that this unit takes is R-410A, or Puron. 410A is now the most common used refrigerant in the United States when it comes to home or commercial air conditioners and it is readily available in case you need a recharge down the road. The refrigerant line set measures in at sixteen feet which should give you plenty of space to route the piping through your home and out to the condenser.

Last thing I’m going to mention on this product is the weight. A lot of you may be expecting this to be heavy, but I want to alert you anyways. Depending on the model you purchase these units can weigh between one-hundred and fifteen pounds up to three-hundred pounds. Please be sure that you have help when you begin to setup the unit. Remember, safety first… and I’d hate for you to drop it accidentally and damage the unit.

Pros

The biggest Pro we have here with these ductless systems it that it gives the homeowners an in-between alternative to a traditional split system air conditioner or a window mounted system. Along with that, it gives you a nice clean looking mounted system that blends in with your room. Many people aren’t happy with the look a window air conditioner gives a room and a ductless system will give you that second option. Lastly, ductless systems give you the option to install air conditioning in your house even if you don’t have ducts routed throughout your home.

Senville Energy Guide
Senville Energy Guide

The next big point on these mini-split systems is their energy efficiency. Air conditioner efficiency is measured by two numbers. The first is known as their Energy Efficiency Ratio, or EER. The second number is known as Season Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER. The only difference between these two numbers is that EER looks at performance based on one solid outside temperature whereas SEER looks at the wide varying range of seasonal temperatures. The higher EER or SEER number the more efficient your system is. A typical window air conditioner will have an EER rating between ten to twelve. Now, the EER/SEER rating on this Senville brand is 10.0 EER and 15 SEER. That puts us right in line for the standard efficiency level that is expected with window and portable air conditioners.

A quick Pro on these Senville systems is that they run VERY quiet. I mentioned this above in the product features, but I wanted to bring it up again as it’s a big deal to a lot of people. If I am going to have this product installed in my living room I am going to want as quiet as possible. Remember, you get that ‘Whisper’ technology. If you are currently using a window unit in your room then you know how distracting a noisy machine can be. Nothing to worry about with the Senville ductless unit.

The last Pro that I want to bring up before we move on to the Cons is the warranty. These Senville units come with a two year limited parts warranty and a five year limited compressor warranty. Their limited warranty policy can be read about by clicking here.

Cons

I mentioned install in our ‘Before You Buy,’ section but I’m going to bring it up here again as well. It’s a big deal. If you don’t know what you’re doing then you are going to need to hire a professional. The worst thing you can do is to guess your way through this. Some homeowners have gone through and mounted the air handler and condenser. They also drilled the appropriate hole, but ultimately they left the electrical work and the refrigerant work to the professional. Remember, you may need to end up flaring the refrigerant piping for a perfect fit, you will need to vacuum the system out, charge it with refrigerant, and lastly you will need to route a electrical box to the exterior of your home. (Most likely a two-hundred volt outlet.)

This next con is going to relate to instillation, but I’m going to bring it up anyways. Many users have complained that the unit was leaking refrigerant and that the unit would not cool their home. Ninety percent of the time their unit was leaking due to improper installation. If during the install you bend one of the copper refrigerant lines or you do not attach the line correctly to the air handler/condenser then you are going to have a refrigerant leak. The other ten percent of the time it may be an actual defect in the air handler or the condenser. If this is the case then the Senville warranty should cover you.

The next common complaint I read about was the heat pump not working correctly. Remember earlier in our ‘Product Features,’ where we mentioned that heat pumps are only designed for warmer winter areas? Well, some people do not realize that. One reviewer said, “The unit isn’t meant for Michigan winters.” Well, yes… of course it’s not! It’s a heat pump. It’s going to work up until that forty degree mark and then it will begin to supplement it’s heat with electrical heating coils, but in very cold winters it may not be enough. Again, I would recommend purchasing an infrared fireplace. These things work great, keep your room warm, and can be put away in storage once the winter is over.

When you purchase something online there is always the risk of it arriving to your home damaged. That risk increases with the bigger and heavier the package. On top of that, the risk increases even more when dealing with a machine like an air conditioner. Now, I’m not going to lie to you here. The chances of your unit arriving damaged is rare, but there is a chance folks. The good news though is that if this does happen you can always file a claim with Amazon.com and they will take care of the return process. Something that you’ll notice is that some of the ‘bad reviews,’ on this product are a direct result of the product arriving damaged to the consumer’s home. This is not Senville’ fault and frankly shouldn’t be attributed to them.

Conclusion

Well folks, what do you think? Will you be getting a ductless unit? Or, are you going to end up going the window air conditioner route? If you have decided to go the ductless route then I can honestly say that you will NOT be disappointed with the Senville brand name and the options that they have to offer.

While the installation may be difficult it is worth it once you have it up and running and have a nice cool home to come home to. Again, as I mentioned earlier, this product comes in a variety of sizes. If you are interested in purchasing then I suggest you click on the appropriate size below.

However, if you find that you want to go the window air conditioner or the portable air conditioner route then check out our best of buying guides:

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome to RefrigerantHQ! Today we are going to be doing a product review on a ductless air conditioner. Ductless air conditioners, also known as mini-split systems, are a great overall compromise for the consumer who wants the efficiency and power of a traditional split system air conditioner but also wants to save the money on routing duct work and buying a whole new air conditioner. On the inverse of that, mini-split systems are also a great solution for those of you who are wanting to take a step up from window or portable air conditioners. The ductless system gives you more power then a window unit while also looking aesthetically pleasing in your home.

Today we will be looking at the Pioneer ductless mini-split air conditioner. Now, this is going to be an all encompassing review as the actual Pioneer product comes in a variety of sizes depending on the room or home that you wish to cool. Also, at the end of this article we’ll do a quick breakdown of each model number, what they offer, and which one you should choose.

Pioneer

Now before I ever make a big purchase I always like to take the time and consider the brand and the company behind the product. I do this especially on something I haven’t dealt with before. As an example, I’m a Toyota guy, and when I buy a Toyota I know what to expect, quality. That is their brand and they have earned the recognition that comes with it. The question is what and who is Pioneer? Are they a reputable brand? Let’s take a look.

The Pioneer brand and company has been around for nearly twenty-five years. The brand is owned by a company called ‘Parker Davis.’ (Their website can be found by clicking here.) They specialize in HVAC equipment, especially in ductless mini systems. Their products can be found throughout the US as well as numerous other countries throughout the globe. Over the decades they have been innovating and improving their ductless designs so that with today’s model you get one of the most efficient and effective design available.

Pioneer Mini-Split Ductless Air Conditioner
Pioneer Mini-Split Ductless Air Conditioner

If I was going to be buying a new ductless system I would want to purchase from a company that is dedicated to HVAC, or even moreso, dedicated JUST to ductless systems. That is what you get with Pioneer. Other companies may manufacture ductless units but it is just another product that they sell. The dedication just isn’t there. Pioneer’s mission statement is “To provide you with top quality HVAC equipment at affordable prices and with instant availability.” They are a secure and always improving brand that I would have no problem spending my money on.

Before You Buy

Ok folks, so now that we’ve gone over the company behind the product let’s take some time now and take a look at what this product has to offer to you the consumer.

The first point that I’m going to mention, and probably the most important, is what sized unit that you need. You may have noticed by now that when looking for an air conditioner that they all come with a BTU number. BTUs, also known as British Thermal Units, are a measurement of the cooling capacity of your air conditioner. The higher the number the larger the space the unit can cool. Don’t fall for the trap though that bigger is always better though. It is always best practice to find the closest fit unit for your needs. If you end up purchasing a unit that is too big for your area then you will be wasting energy and you may even end up with hot and cold spots due to dehudmification issues. On the inverse, if you purchase a unit that is too small for your area then the system will be running constantly trying to keep up and you will never get to that desired temperature.

So, what size BTU unit should you get? Before you make that decision it is best to know the square footage of your room. This is a simple equation that can be done just by taking the length and width of your room and multiplying them together. Once you have that number you can begin to see the amount of BTUs that you need. The standard rule of thumb is thirty BTUS per square foot of the room. So, let’s say you have an eight-hundred square foot area you want to cool. Eight-hundred times thirty BTUs equals out to twenty-four thousand BTUs. Now the Pioneer ductless system comes with a variety of sizes. It is up to you to determine what the perfect size is for your needs. Your options are below and by clicking on these links you’ll be taken to the Amazon page where you can do further research.

Now, something you may have noticed is that when clicking on one of the above links is that there are two options for the smaller BTU systems. The only difference between these two is that one requires a standard one-hundred and twenty volt outlet and the other ones require a two-hundred and thirty volt outlet. This option only exists on the smaller units but even if you were going with a nine-thousand BTU system I would still recommend the two-hundred and thirty volt option just due to the increased efficiency.

I want to mention one more thing before we get into the actual product features. Yes, yes I know, this isn’t the fun part but it is necessary so that you understand what you’re getting into before you purchase. Mini-split systems are not easy to install, especially if you are a laymen when it comes to air conditioning work. Ductless systems like these aren’t as simple as a window unit where you can mount and forget it. No, with a system like this you have to mount the interior air handler in your room, drill a two-three inch hole, route the copper refrigerant tubing/draining pipe through the hole, install and mount the condenser on the outside of your home, connect the tubing (Flaring the tube if needed), check for any possible leaks, and even after all that we’re still not done. You will need to wire the unit, setup an electrical outlet box on the outside of your home, vacuum out the pre-filled nitrogen from you system, and then input the actual refrigerant.

This is a huge undertaking, especially if it’s your first time doing something like this. A lot of people who purchase mini-split systems like these buy online from stores like Amazon.com to save the mark-up they would see from their local HVAC contractors. Then, once they have their unit in hand they call the technician to come out and install. This is what I would advise. I would not advise you try this on your own unless you know exactly what you are doing. Otherwise, you risk damaging the unit by installing it correctly, or it could be something as simple as the tubes weren’t fitted right and the unit is leaking refrigerant. There are so many variables when it comes to this that it is best to hire an expert.

Speaking of experts, Amazon has a great feature I just discovered where you can actually add professional installation when you are purchasing the unit. As an example, let’s look at the thirty-six thousand BTU Pioneer unit by clicking here. As you can see just under the sizing there is a box to select for professional instillation. This works just like how it would if you were to go to a Home Depot or Lowes and pay for installation. Amazon contracts this out to a local professional and they then co-ordinate everything with you. It’s a great feature that a lot of people just don’t know about. My family recently used this feature for a new garbage disposal we bought. It was quick and painless and didn’t cost much more to have the project done professionally.

Product Features

Pioneer Air Handler
Pioneer Air Handler

Ok folks, so now that I’ve bored you with the sizing, electrical, and installation options let’s take a look at the actual product features you’ll be getting if you purchase this unit. There are a whole host of features to be aware of and I may end up missing some here and there but here is what I have found throughout my research on the product. The first, and biggest selling point to me, is that this product comes with a heat pump as well as an air conditioner. Along with that, most air conditioners that come with heat pumps do not have a matching BTU. Typically, you’ll see the heat pump attachment having a few thousand BTUs lower then the air conditioning system. That is NOT the case with this Pioneer brand ductless system. In fact, your heat pump BTU is right in line with the air conditioning BTU no matter what size you choose.

One thing to mention is that this unit comes with a heat pump. A heat pump is only effective up until a certain temperature. If it begins to get too cold then your heat pump will no longer be as efficient. Now, depending on who you ask, this temperature range can vary. Most people say around forty degrees is when the peak performance begins to drop. Instead of the unit taking heat from outside of your home and transferring to the inside of your home, you will now have electric heating coils activate to give your home heat. The difference here is that these coils are not as efficient as the standard process. This will result in two things: The first is that the BTU heating capacity of your air conditioner will fall slightly. Secondly, you will end up paying more in energy when you begin to use electric coils. If you live in an area that gets rather extreme winters then you may consider buying an infrared unit as well to heat the room. (I prefer the infrared fireplaces.)

Speaking of heating and air conditioning, the Pioneer system comes with an automatic switch mode that allows the unit to switch between cooling, heating, dehumidifier, and ventilating. Having this feature enabled allows you to have the most efficiently run air conditioner. You also get what’s known as an auto-restart function. What this does is simple, it remembers the settings that you have on the unit and then, if the power goes out and comes back on, your unit will power back up with the exact same settings that you had before. Now if only my alarm clock could do that.

Another setting this comes with is a timer. The timer can be great for programming your air conditioner to turn off and on during set times of the day. A lot of people use this to shut their unit off during night hours and have it kick back on again during the morning. This saves some energy and only has to be programmed once. On the indoor air handler you get an LED display showing you the temperature and any other readings you would like to see. You also get automatically swinging louvers that allow the air flow to be optimized. (They move up and down directing the air flow to the appropriate parts of the room.) The air handler itself runs VERY quiet, so quiet in fact that most people don’t notice it. This is a big selling point when comparing to a window or portable air conditioner as a lot of people complain about the noise level from them. Along with all of that you get a wireless remote control that will allow you control your settings.

Many of you may not care about this, but the refrigerant that this unit takes is R-410A, or Puron. 410A is now the most common used refrigerant in the United States when it comes to home or commercial air conditioners and it is readily available in case you need a recharge down the road. The refrigerant line set ranges between ten feet upwards to twenty-five feet depending on the model you buy. What’s neat about this unit is that if your system develops a refrigerant leak you will see a ‘EC’ error code be displayed on the system and the unit will not run until the hole is patched. (Remember, refrigerant flows an endless cycle and you should never have a leak.)

Pioneer Ductless System Remote
Pioneer Ductless System Remote

Last thing I’m going to mention on this product is the weight. A lot of you may expecting this to be heavy, but I want to alert you anyways. Depending on the model you purchase these units can weight between one-hundred and twenty pounds up to three-hundred and fifteen pounds. Please be sure that you have help when you begin to setup the unit. Remember, safety first… and I’d hate for you to drop it accidentally and damage the unit.

Pros

The biggest Pro we have here with these ductless systems it that it gives the homeowners an in-between alternative to a traditional split system air conditioner or a window mounted system. Along with that, it gives you a nice clean looking mounted system that blends in with your room. Many people aren’t happy with the look a window air conditioner gives a room and a ductless system will give you that second option. Lastly, ductless systems give you the option to install air conditioning in your house even if you don’t have ducts routed throughout your home.

The next big point on these mini-split systems is their energy efficiency. Air conditioner efficiency is measured by two numbers. The first is known as their Energy Efficiency Ratio, or EER. The second number is known as Season Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER. The only difference between these two numbers is that EER looks at performance based on one solid outside temperature whereas SEER looks at the wide varying range of seasonal temperatures. The higher EER or SEER number the more efficient your system is. A typical window air conditioner will have an EER rating between ten to twelve. Now, the average EER/SEER rating on this Pioneer branded unit is between sixteen and eighteen. That is quite the difference and that heightened number means more money saved in your pocket month to month.

A quick Pro on these Pioneer systems is that they run VERY quiet. I mentioned this above in the product features, but I wanted to bring it up again as it’s a big deal to a lot of people. If I am going to have this product installed in my living room I am going to want as quiet as possible.

The last Pro that I want to bring up before we move on to the Cons is the warranty. These Pioneer units come with a two year limited parts warranty and a five year limited compressor warranty. Their limited warranty policy can be read about by clicking here.

Cons

I mentioned install in our ‘Before You Buy,’ section but I’m going to bring it up here again as well. It’s a big deal. If you don’t know what you’re doing then you are going to need to hire a professional. The worst thing you can do is to guess your way through this. Some homeowners have gone through and mounted the air handler and condenser. They also drilled the appropriate hole, but ultimately they left the electrical work and the refrigerant work to the professional. Remember, you may need to end up flaring the refrigerant piping for a perfect fit, you will need to vacuum the system out, charge it with refrigerant, and lastly you will need to route a electrical box to the exterior of your home. (Most likely a two-hundred volt outlet.)

This next con is going to relate to instillation, but I’m going to bring it up anyways. Many users have complained that the unit was leaking refrigerant and that the unit would not cool their home. Ninety percent of the time their unit was leaking due to improper installation. If during the install you bend one of the copper refrigerant lines or you do not attach the line correctly to the air handler/condenser then you are going to have a refrigerant leak. The other ten percent of the time it may be an actual defect in the air handler or the condenser. If this is the case then the Pioneer warranty should cover you.

The next common complaint I read about was the heat pump not working correctly. Remember earlier in our ‘Product Features,’ where we mentioned that heat pumps are only designed for warmer winter areas? Well, some people do not realize that. One reviewer said, “The unit isn’t meant for Michigan winters.” Well, yes… of course it’s not! It’s a heat pump. It’s going to work up until that forty degree mark and then it will begin to supplement it’s heat with electrical heating coils, but in very cold winters it may not be enough. Again, I would recommend purchasing an infrared fireplace. These things work great, keep your room warm, and can be put away in storage once the winter is over.

When you purchase something online there is always the risk of it arriving to your home damaged. That risk increases with the bigger and heavier the package. On top of that, the risk increases even more when dealing with a machine like an air conditioner. Now, I’m not going to lie to you here. The chances of your unit arriving damaged is rare, but there is a chance folks. The good news though is that if this does happen you can always file a claim with Amazon.com and they will take care of the return process. Something that you’ll notice is that some of the ‘bad reviews,’ on this product are a direct result of the product arriving damaged to the consumer’s home. This is not Pioneer’s fault and frankly shouldn’t be attributed to them.

Conclusion

Well folks, what do you think? Will you be getting a ductless unit? Or, are you going to end up going the window air conditioner route? If you have decided to go the ductless route then I can honestly say that you will NOT be disappointed with the Pioneer brand name and the options that they have to offer. While the installation may be difficult it is worth it once you have it up and running and have a nice cool home to come home to. Again, as I mentioned earlier, this product comes in a variety of sizes. If you are interested in purchasing then I suggest you click on the appropriate size below. Also, if you’re looking for help for installation don’t forget that Amazon offers their own professional install as well.

However, if you find that you want to go the window air conditioner or the portable air conditioner route then check out our best of buying guides:

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

What Is It?

A ductless system is another variation of all the varying kinds of air conditioners. You have your window air conditioners, your portable air conditioners, your traditional split systems, and then your ductless or mini-split systems. Now, each one of these types of units have their own Pros and Cons.

The ductless system comes with two main components: The air handler and the condenser/compressor. The air handler is mounted inside your home either higher up on the wall, on the ceiling, or even on the floor. The condenser unit is installed outside either on a concrete pad or mounted on the side of your home. Along with these two components you also receive a copper tubing line that will connect the handler and the condenser to each other. This tubing is where the refrigerant will flow back and forth between the two units.

Pioneer Mini-Split Ductless Air Conditioner
Pioneer Mini-Split Ductless Air Conditioner

Remember folks, that refrigerant flows in an endless cycle. Air conditioners work by intaking heat from the room and removing it. This is done by the refrigerant in the system. The refrigerant goes through a series of state changes moving from vapor, to liquid, to vapor, to liquid, again and again. These state changes allow the refrigerant to absorb and remove the heat. It’s not about creating cold air, but instead about removing the heat.

I am a big fan of ductless air conditioners. These air conditioners provide an alternative solution to the homeowner who has a house that isn’t routed with duct work. Here in Kansas we have quite a few old farmhouses from over one-hundred years ago and the thought of leaving space in the walls for duct work never occurred to the builders.

Most people in this situation end up going with the a standard window air conditioner or perhaps a portable unit. While window air conditioners work they have a lot of downsides. I won’t go through everyone here, but a few of them are:

  • Visual Appeal – Many people see window air conditioners as an eyesore. In fact, a lot of homeowner’s associations won’t even allow them nowadays. On top of that you also lose the use of a perfectly good window.
  • Noise – Window air conditioners can in fact be quite loud when compared to a traditional or mini-split air conditioning system.
  • Air Flow – A window unit usually only works best with one or two rooms. After that the air flow starts to become restricted as there is only so far the fan can move the cold air.

So, is a ductless air conditioner the right solution for you? Well, before you decide let’s take a look at some of the Pros and Cons of these types of air conditioners. I will say this upfront though folks, while ductless air conditioners work great they can be difficult to install and may require the help of a certified HVAC technician.

Pros

The first point to mention here is that these ductless air conditioners are just that, ductless. That means that you will not have to route ducts throughout your home. On the inverse of that, you won’t have to make a large hole in your wall either to accommodate a mini-split system. There are some window units out there that require you to create a large hole in your wall for the unit to mount in. With a ductless system all you need a small hole around two to three inches in diameter.

I’m going to get into the install requirements in the Cons section but before I do I did want to point out that while these units are a difficult install they ARE easier then a traditional split system. Speaking of split systems these units are quite a bit cheaper then the traditional units. With those you typically end up paying anywhere from two to four-thousand dollars. Most ductless units will be around five-hundred to twelve-hundred dollars.

When comparing a mini-split system to a window air conditioner we have three main benefits. The first is the visual appeal. Ductless systems are smooth and sleek looking. Most people don’t even notice them in the room. Window units on the other hand are noticed right away. Along with that, ductless units run MUCH quieter then a standard window unit. This makes the room that much more enjoyable. Air conditioners are measured by their Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). The higher this number the more efficient your unit is. Most window units hover between nine and twelve for their EER. A ductless system is MUCH more efficient and when shopping you will easily find units EERs as high as twenty or even twenty-five.

The last Pro that I’ll mention is that mini split systems can actually be setup to cool multiple areas of the house. Depending on the unit you purchase you could have two to three air handlers in varying rooms that all route back to two or three condensers/compressors you have installed outside. If the install is done correctly then it will look seamless and provide your home with reliable air conditioning for the foreseeable future.

Cons

Mini split systems aren’t the end all be all for air conditioners. There are reasons to buy one and there are reasons to go with an alternative. The first and largest point to make about these units is the installation. When dealing with a window air conditioner or even a portable air conditioner the install is relatively easy. Most of the time all it involves is setting up a mounting bracket, positioning the unit, routing the drainage, and sealing off the rest of the window. Along with that, these window and portable units come precharged with refrigerant so that when you are done installing all you have to do is flip it on and your room will be instantly colder.

Mini splits, or ductless systems, are much different. Instead of just having one unit to pop into your window you now have two separate unique parts to your air conditioner. We mentioned this already but I’ll go into it a bit here as well. The part that is mounted inside your home that takes in the hot air and blows out the cold is known as the air handler. This is mounted either on your wall, floor, or ceiling. Along with the handler you get a set of copper refrigerant pipes and a drainage pipe that have to be routed outside your home. Typically, a two to three inch hole drilled through the wall will allow enough space. This leads us to the next part of your mini-split system, the condenser/compressor. This section is seated outside and is where the unit rids the heat from your home. This is where things get tricky. You have to route the copper refrigerant pipe from your air handler, through your wall, and connect it to your condenser. Along with that, you need to ensure that the connection is a perfect fit and that you are not having any leaks. In some cases you may need a flaring tool to flare out the pipe for a perfect fit.

If that’s not enough to scare you away from installing one of these then this might. Some of these units come precharged with refrigerant, but not all of them do. If you purchase one that is filled with nitrogen instead (Nitrogen is used as a filler.) then you will need to vacuum the nitrogen out of your system and then replace it with the appropriate refrigerant. This is where having a professional HVAC technician comes in handy. They do this day in and day out and know exactly what to expect. Lastly, when installing one of these units the chances are you are going to need route power for it to the outside of your home. (Most of them take a two-hundred and twenty volt and the outlet has to be routed directly to your circuit breaker.) Again, your HVAC tech can help you with this.

Another point to make with these units is the cost. While they are significantly cheaper then a traditional split system air conditioner, you will find that the mini-split systems are much more expensive then your window or portable units. This is due to their efficiency and overall power when compared to window or portable units. The mini-split systems are meant to cool larger areas. If you have a small room or office that you want to cool then I would suggest you go with a window or a portable air conditioner. However, if you are looking to cool your entire home or a large space then the ductless mini split may just be the fit for you.

Conclusion

What do you think? Do mini-split systems seem to be the right solution for you? They can offer a lot of benefits, you just have to get past that first bump of installing. If you are interested in learning more about mini split systems feel free to check out some of our articles on them:

However, if you find that you are leaning towards window or portable units then check out our best of articles below:

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Greetings ladies and gentlemen and welcome to RefrigerantHQ. Today we will be showcasing our top five ductless air conditioner picks. This list is an aim to help you identify the best units out there and save you the time of having to research and navigate back and forth trying to find that perfect unit. We’ve got you taken care of!

Now, we’re basing our “top 5” on Amazon customer reviews, score, and through our own individual research. If you’re in the market for a mini split system, you might as well start with the most popular products! Let’s take a look.

5) INNOVA Mini Split Air Conditioner and Heater

This is ductless air conditioner you’d consider if you have a strict budget. It costs just under $700 total. (Prices can change at any time.) This unit has twelve-thousand BTUs, which means it can cool a room between four-hundred and fifty to five-hundred and fifty square feet in size. Keep in mind that a standard bedroom is around one-hundred square feet. That means this mini split system will be able to cool bedrooms, living rooms, and home office spaces. Here are some benefits to this unit:

  • Features silent operation mode for quiet use indoors
  • Comes with a heater as well as an air conditioner
  • Triples as a dehumidifier in addition to cooling and heating
  • Includes a hidden LED panel so you have covert functionality

Ductless air conditioners can be quite loud; however, the INNOVA Mini Split is different. You might use this unit for a home office. If that’s the case, you’ll want it to be as quiet as possible. Or, you might be a light sleeper. Either way, the silent operation feature of this unit is perfect for situations that need a system which is quieter.

Does your room get humid? The INNOVA Mini Split will mitigate that. It functions as a dehumidifier! You don’t need to buy separate air conditioners, heaters, and dehumidifiers. With this unit, they are all included. That also has the added benefit of taking up less space in your room.

LED panels are great because they provide valuable information. On the INNOVA Mini Split, the LED tells you the current temperature of the room. Here’s the cool (no pun intended) part: the LED temperature is displayed only when the unit is on.

This ductless air conditioner weighs ninety-five pounds during shipment. So make sure you have something like a dolly to be able to move the box around before installing the system.

4) Ductless Aire Mini Split Air Conditioner and Heat Pump

This mini split system has three price and power options. The highest power is about double the price and power of the last one. It clocks in at around $1,600 (Prices can change at any time.)with a BTU of twenty-four thousand. If you wanted to do a more proper comparison with the prior, this ductless air conditioner has a twelve-thousand BTU option for around $1,099. (Prices can change at any time.)

DuctlessAire Air Conditioner
DuctlessAire Air Conditioner

No matter which option you choose, each of them has the same features! The only difference is the power level (BTU) so it depends upon the square footage of the room you want to cool. Let’s take a look at the features and benefits of this unit. They include:

  • “Whisper-quiet” operation allows it to run in the background
  • Comes with the heat pump addition as well as the air conditioner
  • 3 fan speeds mean you can choose your cooling power level
  • Washable air filters will keep your air quality fresh and healthy

“Whisper-quiet” operation is ideal for any major system or appliance in your home. This is especially true if the ductless air conditioner is going to be installed in your bedroom. No matter which room it’s in, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing the mini split system won’t bother you with too much noise. Maybe you want to catch a game on TV, or talk on the phone, or sleep. Either way, you’ll be able to those with no problem.

Having an option for three different speeds is powerful for a few reasons. One of them is related to your wallet. You can choose to run this ductless air conditioner on the lowest setting. This will use less energy, which in turn translates to a lower monthly electric bill. Or, on hot days, you can toggle the unit to blast air on its highest setting. This choice will cool the room the fastest. If you aren’t sure which to choose, you can always meet in the middle and use the standard cooling option. It’ll still get the job done.

Some ductless air conditioners come with washable filters. This means that you don’t have to keep buying new ones if you want clean air. You can just take the washable filter out and clean it! It’ll probably consist of running it below a water faucet. Just to be sure, check the maintenance manual for specifically how to clean it.

3) MRCOOL DIY Mini Split Air Conditioner with Heat Pump

MRCOOL is the perfect name for an air conditioning company. And they won’t let you down with their quality mini split system Their product description on Amazon says it all. “Is the only ductless mini-split system on the market explicitly designed for amateur installation. You don’t need special tools or training to install this high efficiency heat pump. The line sets recharged with R-410A refrigerant, the quick hook-up electrical connections, and the quality engineering mean just about anyone can install a MRCOOL DIY in their home with no problem at all in only a few short hours. If you want great air comfort without paying an arm and a leg for installation, you want an easy-to-use MRCOOL DIY Series ductless heat pump.”

I would argue this is one of the main features of the MRCOOL Mini Split. You’re going to save hundreds of dollars by installing it yourself! And if there’s a ductless air conditioner for beginners, it’s this one. No special tools and the ability to have it up and running in a few hours is a major plus.

Another feature of this mini split is that it doubles as a heater! That means you won’t have to buy a separate system for when it gets cold in the winter. Simply press the heating mode on the remote control and you’re on your way to a comfortable room temperature.

This ductless air conditioner (and heat pump) runs at twenty-four thousand BTUs. That means it’s powerful enough to cool (or heat) large bedrooms, living rooms, and office rooms.

2) Senville Mini Split Air Conditioner and Heat Pump

The two words that come to mind when considering the Senville Mini Split are options and quality. This ductless air conditioner has four different power level options. They are nine-thousand, twelve-thousand, eighteen-thousand, and twenty-four thousand BTU levels. Customize your unit to just the right size for you! To make matters even better, this air conditioner doubles as a heat pump! Like the last choice, you don’t have to buy a separate heater for when it gets cold outside. There are some great features to this air conditioner. They are:

  • Features quiet operation to work in the background
  • Includes an infrared remote control for accurate temperature
  • Weights only sixty-six pounds, being one of the lightest mini split systems

The higher up we get on our list of favorites the more often you’re seeing quiet operation mode. It makes sense since quiet operation is a key benefit to the ductless air conditioners people love. And people do love this one. As a matter of fact, as of this writing, the Senville Mini Split has nearly four and a half stars, out of five on Amazon.

This ductless air conditioner comes with an infrared remote control. Infrared is an area of the light spectrum that people cannot see; however, some animals can see it. This infrared remote control senses electromagnetic waves, which allows it to show a better estimate of the temperature of the room. Therefore, you’ll be able to program your air conditioner to exactly the temperature you want.

These systems can be quite heavy. It’s a breath of fresh air knowing that this one weighs only sixty-six pounds. You probably won’t be installing this mini split system; however, if you were, it would be easier than other mini split systems due to its lighter weight. The product description page on Amazon notes that this product should be installed by a professional.

1) PIONEER Ductless Air Conditioner and Heat Pump

You can’t go wrong with this “Amazon’s Choice” product. It’s not only Amazon’s choice. It’s ours as well! There are eight different power levels (and price) to choose from. The PIONEER ductless air conditioner offers the ultimate when it comes to power customization.

PIONEER Air Conditioner
PIONEER Air Conditioner

Let’s take a look at why this mini split system is so popular. Some of its features are:

  • This products weights only nineteen pounds
  • Includes installation, troubleshooting, and support hotline.
  • Quiet operation so you can concentrate on other things
  • Doubles as a heat pump, which warms you in the winter

The fact that this system weighs only nineteen pounds should come as a surprise to many people. After all, many ductless air conditioners can weigh up to seventy or eighty pounds, or even higher. Nineteen pounds is easy for most people to pick up; therefore, this ductless air conditioner should be easy to transport around.

On the Amazon page, PIONEER advertises “Unsurpassed support hotline covering installation, use, troubleshooting, warranty and parts issues.” That’s a big deal to a lot of people. Have you ever called a company, only to find yourself speaking with a robot on the other end of the phone? It sounds like that won’t be the case when you contact PIONEER for assistance. This is a huge help, especially during installation.

We’ve mentioned that many of the higher-tier models come with some type of quiet operation. And this product is no different. Check out the reviews on Amazon. People who have bought this mini split system are satisfied with how quiet it is. And that makes a big difference throughout the day or night.

Also, like some other quality mini split systems, the PIONEER ductless air conditioner has a heating ability. It makes a big difference when you’re able to use the same system for heating or cooling depending on how the weather is outside.

A couple other things to note are the reviews and “questioned answered” on the Amazon page.  PIONEER ductless air conditioner has over one-thousand answered questions. That’s a massive number! In addition, this product has nearly five-hundred product reviews! For that many reviews, and the product to score so high, it just goes to show how popular it is. After all, it’s “Amazon’s Choice” as the ductless air conditioner to buy. And, as we learned earlier, there are models and power levels for any budget.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it, folks! I hope that I was able to answer your question and also shed a bit of light on ductless air conditioners in general. If you find yourself wanting to read and learn more about ductless air conditioners then I highly suggest you take the time and read our in-depth buyer’s guide which can be found by clicking here.

Remember though folks, that ductless units aren’t your only option. After reading this article if you find that you are leaning towards an alternative air conditioner such as a portable or window unit consider checking out our best of guides on these. Click here for our best window air conditioner article and click here for our best portable air conditioners. There are many ways to stay cool nowadays, the question is which one will you choose?

If you have any further questions about ductless air conditioners you can contact us. Also, if you want more guides and articles like this, make sure you subscribe to our email list. As always, thanks for reading! And make sure to return in a few days for a new article from RefrigerantHQ.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

There are many mini split systems to choose from. Which one is the best for you? In this section, our goal is to give you the tools you need to find the right ductless air conditioner. Everyone’s situation is different and there are unique types of mini split systems for different situations. Let’s take a look at what some might be. The major factors are:

  • Cost of the mini split system
  • Size of the room you want to cool
  • Features of the ductless air conditioner
  • Durability and warranty information

The Price of the Mini Split System

Cost, or price range, will probably be the first factor you consider when shopping around. Are you willing to spend in the three-to-four thousand dollars range? Are you willing to spend in the one-to-two thousand dollars range? Depending upon the range you’re in, there will still be numerous options for you to choose from.

Here’s something for you to consider: a more energy efficient model might be just out of your price range. But when you do the math, considering monthly energy bill payments, which option will eventually be more cost-effective? For example, let’s say there are two models, one for two thousand dollars and another for two thousand five hundred dollars. What if the more expensive one will save you fifty dollars each month on the energy bill? Well, within a year, the more expensive option would actually be the less expensive option. Sometimes it pays to do the calculation and see how many months it will take to get your return on investment.

The Size of the Room Matters

Mini split systems are not equal when it comes to cooling power or the ability to cool rooms of different sizes. How many square feet do you want to cool? Take a look at the ductless air conditioners on Amazon. You’ll notice that they either display the square footage or the “BTU”, which stands for British Thermal Units. To learn more about BTUs, read our article “What are Air Conditioner BTUs?. Reading that article will give you the tools you need to know what BTU number is right for you.

Along with price, the strength of the ductless air conditioner is going to be one of the more important factors you’ll use to choose. You don’t want to buy, install, and find out the mini split system isn’t strong enough for the room. That’s too late! If you end up with a unit that’s too large for your room then you’re going to be wasting energy as well as ending up with hot or cold spots throughout the room. On the inverse of that if you purchase a unit that is too small for your room then the air conditioner will be running constantly causing your energy bills to go up and up. On top of that your room will never fully be cooled. So please ensure you do the proper research before you buy your mini split system.

Senville SENL-12CD Ductless Air Conditioner
Senville SENL-12CD Ductless Air Conditioner

Features of the Mini Split System

Some people only need it the air conditioner to turn on and cool the room. Others prefer their unit to have a timer, include a remote control, or have additional features such as heating mode. Like anything, you’ll probably get what you pay for. So if you’re a fan of “bells and whistles”, it might be a good idea to spend a few hundred dollars more. You never know, the higher priced model might be more energy efficient. And, like we learned earlier, you might even be saving money over time in the form of lower monthly energy bills.

How Long the Ductless Air Conditioner Will Last?

This is very important! How long will the mini split system last, on average? You’ll want to review different pieces of information here. Chief among them is to know both the warranty details and what other people are saying about the mini split system you’re considering. Both can be found on the Amazon product page.

Normally, a warranty will be for two or three years. I would recommend going against buying a mini split system that has a warranty of only one year. What good is the air conditioner if it breaks after one year of use? You’d have to buy the unit every year! Some people, as you’ll read, buy the extended warranty. This might be a smart option, especially if you’re going to buy a more expensive mini split system.

Speaking of the “right” ductless air conditioner, let’s take a look at the last section: our favorite products.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it, folks! I hope that I was able to answer your question and also shed a bit of light on ductless air conditioners in general. If you find yourself wanting to read and learn more about ductless air conditioners then I highly suggest you take the time and read our in-depth buyer’s guide which can be found by clicking here.

Remember though folks, that ductless units aren’t your only option. After reading this article if you find that you are leaning towards an alternative air conditioner such as a portable or window unit consider checking out our best of guides on these. Click here for our best window air conditioner article and click here for our best portable air conditioners. There are many ways to stay cool nowadays, the question is which one will you choose?

If you have any further questions about ductless air conditioners you can contact us. Also, if you want more guides and articles like this, make sure you subscribe to our email list. As always, thanks for reading! And make sure to return in a few days for a new article from RefrigerantHQ.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Everything breaks down over time. We all know this. Maintenance is one of the ugly necessities of life. I don’t enjoy getting my car serviced every six months, but I do it because I want to take care of my investment. Ductless air conditioners are no different. They, like other air conditioning solutions such as traditional split HVAC systems, have plenty of moving parts. These parts—the lifeblood of mini split systems—have different maintenance needs. Let’s take a look at what some ways to you extend the life of your air conditioner. They are:

  • Keep it clean
  • Replace air filters
  • Check for ice or leaks
  • Get professional service

Keeping the Unit Clean

There are numerous parts to keep clean so the mini split system runs at optimal performance. Clean dust and debris on the outside of both units, indoors and outdoors. An accumulation of debris and make its way into the unit and cause backups and stoppages. If left unchecked, it could cause a complete system failure.

Replace the Air Filters

What happens when you fail to replace an air filter in your car or furnace? It doesn’t work as it should! If the air filter gets caked with debris over time, the mini duct system won’t get enough air. At that point, there might be some type of system failure. Replacing air filters is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to keep your system running healthy not to mention keeping the air flow quality!

Check for Ice or Leaks

It’s important, especially in the winter, to check for any ice buildups. Ice can cause a multitude of problems including covering where the air should be entering or exiting the system. Leaks are another hazard to watch out for. This is especially true when you look at the piping of the mini split system. A quick check of the pipes can potentially save the unit from future failure if any problems are spotted early on. 

If you find that you have a leak please remember that the last thing that you want to do is dump more refrigerant into the system. Refrigerant is the lifeblood of your air conditioner and if it is leaking out then you have a problem. Simply ‘recharging,’ the unit without fixing the leak will not solve the problem. Instead, you’ll be back to where you were in only a few days or weeks depending on the size of the leak. The correct approach here is to identify where the leak is and then fix the leak. For help on identifying leaks and where to find them check out our ‘What’s the Best Way to Find a Refrigerant Leak,‘ guide.

Get Professional Service

If you aren’t familiar with maintaining a mini split system, you’re in luck. You don’t have to maintain it if you don’t want to! Well, the maintenance still needs to happen; however, but you can hire a local technician and they will come to your home to do the job. Most of the time this is your best option as you never want to guess your way through something like this as you have already invested a significant amount of money into the machine. It would be terrible if you did something to break the air conditioner accidentally because you didn’t know exactly what you were doing.

There are a number of reasons why hiring a professional technician is a good idea. First and foremost, the answer is in the word “professional”. They know exactly what they’re doing and probably have years of experience working on air conditioning systems. It’s their job! Another reason is that that might know tips and tricks that are in addition to what’s available in the instruction manual.

The HVAC technician industry exists for a reason: most people t either don’t want or know how to maintain their systems. Some people might be interested but just don’t have the time. At the end of the day, the important thing is that your ductless air conditioner gets the maintenance that it needs.  If you’re going to pay money, and sometimes good money, for a major appliance or system, you might as well do everything you can to extend its lifespan as much as you can. And proper, regular maintenance is just the trick to doing that.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it, folks! I hope that I was able to answer your question and also shed a bit of light on ductless air conditioners in general. If you find yourself wanting to read and learn more about ductless air conditioners then I highly suggest you take the time and read our in-depth buyer’s guide which can be found by clicking here.

Remember though folks, that ductless units aren’t your only option. After reading this article if you find that you are leaning towards an alternative air conditioner such as a portable or window unit consider checking out our best of guides on these. Click here for our best window air conditioner article and click here for our best portable air conditioners. There are many ways to stay cool nowadays, the question is which one will you choose?

If you have any further questions about ductless air conditioners you can contact us. Also, if you want more guides and articles like this, make sure you subscribe to our email list. As always, thanks for reading! And make sure to return in a few days for a new article from RefrigerantHQ.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

How does it work?

Depending on your knowledge level installing a ductless air conditioner can be a simple task, or it can be a momentousness one. Please be aware that if you purchase a ductless air conditioner that you do NOT have to install the unit yourself. This is very important to know as many consumers assume that since they bought the product online or in a store that they cannot get a technician out to their home for an install.

Ductless Air Conditioner Layout
Ductless Air Conditioner Layout – Courtesy of thefavorite.info

Do you have a local HVAC company? I’m sure you have dozens to choose from. Here’s an idea, you can have one of their technicians come out and install it for you. The best part is that the price might be negotiable. And you won’t know unless you ask!

The ductless air conditioner will come with instructions. After all, is a major system. What major system or appliance doesn’t come with an instruction manual? There are many types of mini splits or ductless air conditioners on the market. Therefore, it would be difficult to write about a one size fits all type of section here. However, we can give you an overview of what to expect when installing a mini split system.

Disclaimer: The steps below do not constitute advice. You should not perform these steps unless you coordinate with a professional electrician or ductless air conditioning installer under their supervision. There are seven general steps to installing a ductless air conditioner. In order, they are:

  1. Buy Required Tools
  2. Assemble the Wall Bracket
  3. Mount the Indoors Unit
  4. Drill a Hole and Feed Refrigerant Piping
  5. Mount the Outdoors Unit
  6. Connect Piping to Electrical Unit
  7. Testing the system and setting up the WiFi

Disclaimer: The steps above do not constitute advice. You should not perform these steps unless you coordinate with a professional electrician or ductless air conditioning installer under their supervision. Let’s get specific and expand on these of these in the list

Buy Required Tools

What good is your installation attempt if you don’t have the proper tools? Start off on the right foot by having everything you need. If you do, you won’t have to run to the hardware store in the middle of your install. You can have your tools on hand even before your mini duct system arrives. Just search online for installation manual of the ductless air conditioner you are ordering. It’ll list the required tools and anything else you might need.

Assemble the Wall Bracket

A wall bracket helps the indoors unit stay attached to the wall. As you read in the instructions, the bracket should be installed higher up on the wall. Make sure the outdoor unit will be closeby on the other side of the wall. This will mean you’ll have to use less pipe to connect the two units.

Mount the Indoors Unit

Now that the wall bracket is in place, it’s time to attach the indoor unit. These units aren’t light, so you want to make sure you secure it tightly. This will mitigate any possible falls of the unit, which would cause an accident.

PIONEER Air Conditioner Piping
PIONEER Air Conditioner Piping

Drill a Hole and  Feed Refrigerant Piping

If the indoors and outdoors units are directly on opposing sides of the wall, you won’t have to use lengthy piping. Try to keep the piping and drain hose as close to the wall as possible. You can even secure it in place by using metal brackets.

Mount the Outdoors Unit

You’ll mount the outdoors unit in a similar way you mounted the indoors unit. Remeber, these steps are a general overview and each ductless air conditioner is different; therefore, you’ll need to refer to your specific instruction manual. The outdoors condenser unit will probably include a support piece, cross support piece, and many screws, bolts, and brackets. The outdoors unit is the heavier of the two!

Connect Piping to Electrical Unit

This is the step where is most important to defer to a licensed electrician or other professional if you’re not used to electric work. The electrical components will need to be connected to the outdoors unit, indoors unit, and, most importantly, the electric power supply or electrical box.

Testing the System and Setting up WiFi 

Finally, all you need to do at this point is press the power button! Does it work? If so, you’re going to have a very enjoyable environment and atmosphere in the room it’s installed in. Conduct a comprehensive check of the remote control and the system for full functionality.

Another note, and an honorary mention, is that you can set up WiFi in some units. You’ll be able to operate the ductless air conditioner from your smart phone. Let’s say you turn your mini split system off during the day while you’re at work. Before you get home, you can remotely turn the air conditioner on and the room will be nice and chilly by the time you get home! Technology is amazing. And we want to make sure your ductless air conditioner lasts as long as possible. That’s why routine maintenance is required. Let’s take a look at what that entails.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it, folks! I hope that I was able to answer your question and also shed a bit of light on ductless air conditioners in general. If you find yourself wanting to read and learn more about ductless air conditioners then I highly suggest you take the time and read our in-depth buyer’s guide which can be found by clicking here.

Remember though folks, that ductless units aren’t your only option. After reading this article if you find that you are leaning towards an alternative air conditioner such as a portable or window unit consider checking out our best of guides on these. Click here for our best window air conditioner article and click here for our best portable air conditioners. There are many ways to stay cool nowadays, the question is which one will you choose?

If you have any further questions about ductless air conditioners you can contact us. Also, if you want more guides and articles like this, make sure you subscribe to our email list. As always, thanks for reading! And make sure to return in a few days for a new article from RefrigerantHQ.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

How does it work?

Before I get into the details of how these products work I want to first remind that you air conditioners more or less all work the same way. There is a cycle of refrigerant changing states from liquid to gas. This change of state allows heat to be dissipated. When the heat is removed the blower motor or fan then blows the now cold air back into your room. For a more in-depth explanation please check out our ‘How do Refrigerants Work,’ article which dives deep into the mechanics of refrigeration and air conditioning.

All that being said, if you are looking for a short overview then by all means continue reading. This part of our guide is divided into a few different sections.  They are:

  • The different parts of a ductless air conditioner
  • How the parts of the ductless air conditioner interact

It makes sense to know what the parts are before you can understand how they interact with each other. I already gave a top-down view of mini split systems when I said one unit is indoor and the other is outdoors. This is very important! And you’ll know why once I get to how it works. But first, let’s take a look at the different moving pieces of this amazing air conditioning system.

The Different Parts of a Ductless Air Conditioner

The ductless mini split is two separate parts; however, they are connected. The outdoor unit includes an inverter-driven variable speed compressor, a condensing coil, and an expansion valve and a fan which cools the condenser coil. The indoor unit includes the quiet oscillating fan and an evaporator.

In addition to the indoor and outdoor units, they need to be connected somewhere. That’s where the refrigerant line-set comes into play. It’s made of insulated copper tubing, which protects the liquid/vapor. The insulated copper tubing is enclosed in a conduit next to both a power cable and a condensation drain.

You could technically include a remote control (which is often included) as one of the parts do ductless air conditioners. They need no special introduction other than what they do: turn on and off the ductless air conditioner. The remote control sometimes has additional features, however. We’ll talk about those later when we talk about the best mini split products on the market.

So we have the compressor, condensing coils, expansion valves, insulated copper tubing, and more! I hope you like mechanical systems because you’re about to find out how these different parts work with one another (if you don’t know already).

How Mini Split Systems Work

I suppose many people will press the “on” button, feel the cool air, and move on about their day. There’s nothing wrong with that! For those who want to know the how, keep reading. It comes down to a matter of science, actually. You also need to know the refrigeration cycle. The moment you press the on button, the gears start spinning.

Mitsubishi has a great explanation of how ductless systems work. Yes, that Mitsubishi. Let’s first take a look at the refrigeration process. Mitsubishi explains “in the refrigeration cycle, low-pressure gas is transformed into high-pressure gas by the action of a compressor. The heat is dissipated into the outdoors by the action of a forced air fan. The refrigerant then becomes a high-pressure liquid, and it is again changed into a low-pressure liquid by a metering device at the evaporator coil. Heat energy from the indoor air is absorbed by the refrigerant, and the resulting cooler air is pushed into the living area by the internal blower. The resulting low-pressure gas is moved through the suction line back to the compressor, and the cycle is repeated again.”

The story of how the ductless air conditioner works is actually the story of how refrigerant works. And, as you know, we love talking about refrigerants here, seeing as how this is RefrigerantHQ!

Conclusion

Well, there you have it, folks! I hope that I was able to answer your question and also shed a bit of light on ductless air conditioners in general. If you find yourself wanting to read and learn more about ductless air conditioners then I highly suggest you take the time and read our in-depth buyer’s guide which can be found by clicking here.

Remember though folks, that ductless units aren’t your only option. After reading this article if you find that you are leaning towards an alternative air conditioner such as a portable or window unit consider checking out our best of guides on these. Click here for our best window air conditioner article and click here for our best portable air conditioners. There are many ways to stay cool nowadays, the question is which one will you choose?

If you have any further questions about ductless air conditioners you can contact us. Also, if you want more guides and articles like this, make sure you subscribe to our email list. As always, thanks for reading! And make sure to return in a few days for a new article from RefrigerantHQ.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Nobody likes to focus on drawbacks or cons of items they either own or are about to buy. For example, I know many people who own iPhones. I don’t hear them complaining! That’s because they love their iPhone. It’s similar to owning a ductless air conditioner. There might be small drawbacks here and there; however, the pros outweigh the cons! They are cons, however. They are:

  • Mini splits require regular maintenance
  • They may not be aesthetically pleasing
  • Potentially large upfront costs

So there you have it. There are three potential drawbacks to either owning or buying a mini split system. Each of the cons, as you’ll soon see, have ways to be mitigated. But there’s no getting around, for example, regularly maintaining a system like a ductless air conditioner. Let’s talk about that one first:

Regular Maintenance is Required

Most major appliances or systems need to be maintained at some point. So it should come as no surprise that the ductless air conditioner needs to be maintained as well. After all, HVAC systems, portable air conditioners, and window air conditioners need to be maintained as well.

People want convenience. I’m not different! If I’m going to spend money on something, especially something that might be pricey, I want to “set it and forget it”. I don’t really want to spend more than money (I’m talking about time) working on a system, especially if I’m not familiar with maintaining such a system.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, however. You don’t necessarily have to maintain your system. You can pay someone else to do it! And by that, I mean a professional, similar to an HVAC technician. If you are unfamiliar with maintaining systems like a ductless air conditioner, it’s probably a good idea to just leave it to the professionals.

I’m not going to talk about how to maintain a ductless mini split system, yet. After all, I have an entire section that will talk about that! So let’s move right into the next con.

Ductless Systems Might Not Look Attractive

What do you like about your home? Do you like everything to have its place? Does everything need to look neat, organized, and aesthetically pleasing? Depending on your room, a ductless mini split may or may not look good in your room. It might not match the overall color scheme. It might be too “blocky”. Or there might be another reason it “doesn’t match” with the rest of the room. I’m talking about the interior unit here. There are also aesthetic concerns relating to the outdoors unit.

Tuckey, a home and commercial services and manufacturing conglomerate, had a few things to say about the aesthetics of ductless air conditioners. They write “the refrigerant and drain lines need to be able to penetrate walls to get outdoors to the outside unit and/or drains. This requires running the pipes, etc. in what is called “slim duct”. This will hide the lines; however, you may have to have the piping on a finished home exposed on the outside (depending on the home and installation). Normally it can be worked around but could be less than pleasing to the eye depending on the specific circumstance. To some, this is a big concern, especially when it comes to the aesthetics of the home (both interior and exterior).”

So there you have it. There are interior and exterior concerns when it comes to the look and feel of the ductless air conditioning system. When holes are drilled, walls are penetrated, pipes are fitted, will it still look good afterward? In a perfect world, the answer is yes, of course. But this isn’t a perfect world. The good thing about the look of the interior unit is that you get to choose which one it is before you buy it (obviously). When you’re shopping, I’m sure you’ll consider aesthetics as you go through your options. And we’ll share some favorite ductless mini split systems later.

Let’s first talk about the third con of buying a ductless air conditioner: upfront cost.

Mini Split Systems can be Expensive at First

The key words here I want you to focus on are “at first”. Remember those. I’ll get back to those soon. But for many people, they might look at the initial cots of buying a ductless air conditioner and take a step back. At that point, they might look into other options such as replacing their HVAC system or researching portable air conditioners.

HGTV, a beloved television channel by many, recently ran an article about the pros and cons of mini split systems. They touched on these air conditioners possibly being pricey. Later, we’ll talk about where you can find some great deals. But first, let’s read what HGTV said. They write “For a single-room solution, ductless units cost several times more than comparable window units or baseboard heating units (thousands of dollars versus hundreds). And in whole-house terms, if you replace your existing central heating/cooling system with a complete ductless solution, you may pay two-to-three times the cost of simply replacing with another ducted unit.”

The thought of “expensive products” can immediately make a person more reserved; however, you can find quality ductless air conditioners and not pay a large amount of money for them. So, how much do mini splits cost? Sure, you can find great ones that cost thousands of dollars. But, as you’ll read more about later, it’s possible to find a very nice ductless air conditioner for under one thousand dollars.

Now, do you recall when I said to remember the words “at first”? In context, it was “mini split systems can be expensive at first”. What did I mean by that? I’ll tell you. Sure, you might pay one or two thousand dollars up front. However, over time, you’ll be saving money. How is this possible? Because you’ll be using less energy by using a ductless system and an HVAC system! The article from HGTV continues “you’ll get lower energy bills in return, but the payback period depends on your climate, your use of the system, and your local electricity rates”. So there are a few different factors at play here.

It’s always a smart idea to think long term. Think about delayed gratification. Sure, the ductless air conditioner is going to cost you money. But, over time, it will save you money on your monthly electric bill. If you own it long enough, it just might pay for itself!

And now, let’s get into some technical things. It’s time to learn about how ductless mini split air conditioners work.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it, folks! I hope that I was able to answer your question and also shed a bit of light on ductless air conditioners in general. If you find yourself wanting to read and learn more about ductless air conditioners then I highly suggest you take the time and read our in-depth buyer’s guide which can be found by clicking here.

Remember though folks, that ductless units aren’t your only option. After reading this article if you find that you are leaning towards an alternative air conditioner such as a portable or window unit consider checking out our best of guides on these. Click here for our best window air conditioner article and click here for our best portable air conditioners. There are many ways to stay cool nowadays, the question is which one will you choose?

If you have any further questions about ductless air conditioners you can contact us. Also, if you want more guides and articles like this, make sure you subscribe to our email list. As always, thanks for reading! And make sure to return in a few days for a new article from RefrigerantHQ.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

There are more benefits to ductless air conditioners (mini split systems) than the ability to just cool a space. Sure, the primary goal of a mini split system is cool a room. After all, it’s an air conditioner. But let’s take a look at what some other benefits are. They are:

  • Saving money on your energy bill
  • Possibly qualifying for a federal tax credit
  • Flexibility to move around

Money savings and flexibility are the two main benefits (outside of cooling a room) of mini split system. Let’s take a deeper dive to better understand why a ductless air conditioner can save you money on your monthly energy bill.

Lower the Energy Bill

If you’re like me, you like to save money. Think about it. If you really tried, I bet you could save at least one hundred dollars each month by making a few adjustments. You can cancel cable in favor of a streaming platform like Netflix. You can make more meals at home instead of eating at restaurants. And you can use a ductless mini split more often than using an HVAC system. Let’s focus on the third point, which is the topic of our guide.

It boils down to this: you are charged for the amount of energy you use. What uses more energy, an HVAC system or a ductless mini split air conditioner? To answer this question you need to know how much energy the HVAC system or ductless mini split air conditioner uses. But I think it’s safe to say that the HVAC system will almost always use more energy. They are normally more powerful and therefore use more energy than ductless mini split air conditioners. Running a ductless mini split air conditioner will then translate into you saving money. The downside is you are only able to run the ductless air conditioner in one (or a couple) rooms.

Owning a ductless air conditioner creates a “ductless zone” in the home. The more rooms there are with mini split systems, the more ductless zones there are in the home. An Angie’s List article details why having ductless zones is a good thing. “If there are multiple ductless zones in a home or structure, you can control the temperature in each room instead of using a thermostat for the entire house — making them more energy efficient. As much as twenty percent of air moving through a traditional central air duct system can get lost due to holes or leaks, according to Energy Star.”

That information presents an important fact about air loss. In HVAC circles, the term is air leakage. Nevertheless, you won’t have that problem with a ductless mini split system. The air goes straight from the system into your room! There are no ducts to patch. We’ll learn more about how mini splits work soon.

Another reason to use a mini split system is if you spend most of your time in one specific room. Why turn on an HVAC system that will cool the entire house if you’re not using the entire house? That’s a waste of energy! And when you get your monthly energy bill, you might regret using that much energy, especially in the summer. There are many times that I’ve opened my power bill after a hot July and recoil in horror at the price. A mini split system can, to a degree, compliment an HVAC system. Let’s say your HVAC system is old. Over time, the HVAC system might lose some of its strength. Running a ductless air conditioner will give the HVAC system a break so it won’t have to work hard at all times.

Still, there’s another financially-smart reason to buy a ductless mini split system. You may get a tax credit!

Tax Credits and Rebates

There are, at times, financial incentives to buying certain appliances or systems for your home. These incentives can come from the federal, state, or local government.  Sometimes incentives are offered through your local energy company. So make sure you stay up-to-date and check with them! What is the rebate, tax deduction or credit, or incentive for anyway?

The government and energy companies are concerned with energy efficient systems. They want you to own an energy efficient air conditioning solution! If the ductless mini split system is ENERGY STAR-rated, it may qualify for a deduction or other type of financial incentive. “ENERGY STAR certified ductless heating and cooling systems are eligible for rebates from some local utilities — up to one-thousand dollars per unit depending on what system is being replaced.”

Tax deductions and tax credits are not always available. Neither are rebates or incentives from your local energy company. Therefore, and as you read this, make sure you check with them! Give your local energy company a call to see what deals they have available. You might be surprised by what they offer. Please remember that you won’t actually buy the ductless mini split through your local energy company. We’ll talk later about how to find the best deals on ductless air conditioners. The important thing is letting your energy company know you now own an energy efficient air conditioner. And they might grant you some type of incentive.

Let’s now take a look at the third benefit to owning a ductless air conditioner. You’ll have the flexibility to move it around.

Interior Section of a Ductless Air Conditioner
Interior Section of a Ductless Air Conditioner

Ductless Mini Splits are Flexible

When it comes to flexibility, ductless mini split systems are right between HVAC systems and portable air conditioners. An HVAC system is stationary. It isn’t going anywhere! And there’s no reason to move it around to a different room or otherwise. The HVAC system is connected in part via the duct system.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have portable air conditioners. These are extremely portable units which you can freely transport room-to-room and home-to-home. Most of them are not as powerful of ductless air conditioners, however. And, portable air conditioners are most often noisier than ductless mini split systems. Speaking of “mini split”, recall that I said one unit is indoor and one unit is outdoors. Guess which unit is the loud one? The unit outdoors is the loud one! That’s perfect for many reasons, which I’ll touch on later.

Where would window air conditioning units fit on the scale of flexibility? They would be in between a ductless mini split and a portable air conditioner. So all three are quite flexible. Service Champions, and HVAC service company, lauds the flexible nature of ductless mini split systems. They write “ductless AC systems are incredibly flexible since the tubing or conduit allows for the indoor air-handling unit to be moved and positioned exactly where you want it. This unit can be placed on the floor or installed on a wall, and since it is remote controlled, you can customize the cooling or heating as per your preferences with zero hassle.”

Let’s ponder on the tubing or conduits aspects for a moment. You can add more tubing or conduit if you want the indoor unit moved! That alone attests to the flexibility of ductless air conditioners. And using our example from before, about adding a new room to a home you would have the option of moving the unit to the new room. Ductless air conditioners are turning out to be a great air conditioning solution!

But what are some possible drawbacks? Are there cons to owning or buying a ductless air conditioner? You guessed it. Just like with anything, there are always drawbacks. And some of it depends on your current situation and your personal or family needs. Let’s dig a little deeper to learn about the possible drawbacks of ductless air conditioners.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it, folks! I hope that I was able to answer your question and also shed a bit of light on ductless air conditioners in general. If you find yourself wanting to read and learn more about ductless air conditioners then I highly suggest you take the time and read our in-depth buyer’s guide which can be found by clicking here.

Remember though folks, that ductless units aren’t your only option. After reading this article if you find that you are leaning towards an alternative air conditioner such as a portable or window unit consider checking out our best of guides on these. Click here for our best window air conditioner article and click here for our best portable air conditioners. There are many ways to stay cool nowadays, the question is which one will you choose?

If you have any further questions about ductless air conditioners you can contact us. Also, if you want more guides and articles like this, make sure you subscribe to our email list. As always, thanks for reading! And make sure to return in a few days for a new article from RefrigerantHQ.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

What Is It?

So, what is a ductless air conditioner? What makes it different from an HVAC system, or a portable air conditioner? Out of the three words, “ductless” is the keyword. To understand what a ductless air conditioner is, you must first know what ducts are and how they function.

PIONEER Ductless Air Conditioner
PIONEER Ductless Air Conditioner

Do you have an HVAC system? If so, you probably have an air duct that snakes throughout your home. These air ducts open each in many rooms in the form of air vents. This is the system that essentially moves air around the home. An HVAC system is not required if you want to live in a temperature-controlled climate. That’s where alternate forms of cooling come into play, such as with a ductless air conditioner.

So say goodbye to ducts. You don’t need them! Ductless air conditioners are commonly called mini split air conditioning systems. This is because the ductless air conditioner is two separate, but connected units. You’ll understand this better when we get to the “how they work” section. For now, know that one of the units is indoors and the other unit is outdoors.

Energy.gov is an extension of the U.S. Department of Energy. They provide information about everything related to energy. With regards to ductless air conditioners, they detail why someone would benefit from owning the system. “Ductless, mini split-system air-conditioners (mini splits) have numerous potential applications in residential, commercial, and institutional buildings. The most common applications are in multifamily housing or as retrofit add-ons to houses with “non-ducted” heating systems, such as hydronic (hot water heat), radiant panels, and space heaters (wood, kerosene, propane). They can also be a good choice for room additions and small apartments, where extending or installing distribution duct work (for a central air-conditioner or heating systems) is not feasible.”

The article continues to talk about the benefits and drawbacks of ductless air conditioners (but we’ll talk about that soon). For now, the important thing to know is what they are and why you would buy one. Extending the home is a perfect example! Let’s say a growing family needs a home with more space. They have two options: move to a new home to make their current home bigger. It’s not uncommon that the homeowner could create an addition to the home. When they do, they’ll be happy with an extra bedroom, a bigger kitchen, or a larger den. There’s only one problem: the new room is not part of the air duct system!

This presents a unique challenge to the homeowner. What happens in the summer on a hot and humid day? The room would be almost unbearable to spend time in. A wall fan isn’t going to do the trick. The homeowner has a few options. They can extend their duct system to the new room. Or they buy a mini split, portable air conditioner, or window air conditioner. Extending the duct system to the new room would probably be the most expensive option. Furthermore, there could be a loss of air strength in other rooms since the HVAC system will be stretched to the additional room. Because this guide is geared towards ductless air conditioners, we are going to focus solely on that option. And let’s be honest folks, if it was me I would go with the ductless as well as I like the idea of saving the money of routing the extra ducts.

Next, we are going to talk about the benefits of ductless air conditioners. And there are many benefits! Let’s take a look at what those might be.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it, folks! I hope that I was able to answer your question and also shed a bit of light on ductless air conditioners in general. If you find yourself wanting to read and learn more about ductless air conditioners then I highly suggest you take the time and read our in-depth buyer’s guide which can be found by clicking here.

Remember though folks, that ductless units aren’t your only option. After reading this article if you find that you are leaning towards an alternative air conditioner such as a portable or window unit consider checking out our best of guides on these. Click here for our best window air conditioner article and click here for our best portable air conditioners. There are many ways to stay cool nowadays, the question is which one will you choose?

If you have any further questions about ductless air conditioners you can contact us. Also, if you want more guides and articles like this, make sure you subscribe to our email list. As always, thanks for reading! And make sure to return in a few days for a new article from RefrigerantHQ.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Hello and welcome to RefrigerantHQ! If this is your first time here, I’m happy to announce that this is a great first article for you to land on. If you’re a recurring visitor, I want to say that I’m excited to share with you something I’ve wanted to publish for a long time: an ultimate guide to ductless air conditioners.

As RefrigerantHQ continues to become more popular, we want to make sure that our articles are the most in-depth you’ll ever find on the Internet. So make sure you check back often for more guides like this. Alternatively, we always have a fresh round of articles pertaining to refrigerants to include news, product reviews, and various pieces of information relating to all-things air conditioning.

Before we get started, take a glance at these amazing ductless air conditioners on Amazon. That’s what you’d see if you typed in “ductless air conditioner” in the Amazon search area. I want you to see what they look like and get acquainted with them. Look at the different types, sizes, and colors. It’s good to see what they look like before I go into great detail as to what they are, what they can do for you, and other things relating to them. I personally love to use Amazon when making a purchasing decision as I can see all of the specifications on the product, tons of pictures, and best of all various product reviews. It allows me to make an informed decision when I decide to purchase.

This guide, as you’ll soon see, is structured in a first, middle, and last type of format. First, it’s important to learn what ductless air conditioners are. You’ll learn such things as their benefits and drawbacks. Then, in the middle portion, you’ll learn how they work and how to install them. Finally, you’ll learn the types of ductless air conditioners that are good for your situation (because everyone’s situation is different). And you’ll also read what I believe are the best ductless air conditioners you can buy. By “best”, I based this off of what people say on Amazon. After all, if 1000 people say a product is the “best ever”, it probably is!

So make a fresh cup of coffee, get comfortable, and start reading the ultimate guide to ductless air conditioners. If coffee isn’t your thing, that’s okay! The important part is that you’re prepared to read a guide that is designed to be very helpful to you. If you’re in the market for a ductless air conditioner, there is no better place than this article. And, if when you finish this article you still have questions, feel free to contact us. We’ll be sure to answer your questions as best as we can. The major sections of this ultimate guide are

How does that sound? This article is meant to be read chronologically; however, feel free to go right to the section you’re concerned with. If you want to know the benefits to ductless air conditioners, you can skip to that section. If you want to know the best ductless air conditioners, you can skip to that later section as well. This is a resource for you. Do with it what you want. Our main concern with this guide is providing you the best information we can about ductless air conditioners. As a whole, we are concerned with providing you the best information we can with everything relating to refrigerants (and that includes all types of air conditioners). So, without further ado, let’s jump right into our first section!

What is a Ductless Air Conditioner?

So, what is a ductless air conditioner? What makes it different from an HVAC system, or a portable air conditioner? Out of the three words, “ductless” is the keyword. To understand what a ductless air conditioner is, you must first know what ducts are and how they function.

PIONEER Ductless Air Conditioner
PIONEER Ductless Air Conditioner

Do you have an HVAC system? If so, you probably have an air duct that snakes throughout your home. These air ducts open each in many rooms in the form of air vents. This is the system that essentially moves air around the home. An HVAC system is not required if you want to live in a temperature-controlled climate. That’s where alternate forms of cooling come into play, such as with a ductless air conditioner.

So say goodbye to ducts. You don’t need them! Ductless air conditioners are commonly called mini split air conditioning systems. This is because the ductless air conditioner is two separate, but connected units. You’ll understand this better when we get to the “how they work” section. For now, know that one of the units is indoors and the other unit is outdoors.

Energy.gov is an extension of the U.S. Department of Energy. They provide information about everything related to energy. With regards to ductless air conditioners, they detail why someone would benefit from owning the system. “Ductless, mini split-system air-conditioners (mini splits) have numerous potential applications in residential, commercial, and institutional buildings. The most common applications are in multifamily housing or as retrofit add-ons to houses with “non-ducted” heating systems, such as hydronic (hot water heat), radiant panels, and space heaters (wood, kerosene, propane). They can also be a good choice for room additions and small apartments, where extending or installing distribution duct work (for a central air-conditioner or heating systems) is not feasible.”

The article continues to talk about the benefits and drawbacks of ductless air conditioners (but we’ll talk about that soon). For now, the important thing to know is what they are and why you would buy one. Extending the home is a perfect example! Let’s say a growing family needs a home with more space. They have two options: move to a new home to make their current home bigger. It’s not uncommon that the homeowner could create an addition to the home. When they do, they’ll be happy with an extra bedroom, a bigger kitchen, or a larger den. There’s only one problem: the new room is not part of the air duct system!

This presents a unique challenge to the homeowner. What happens in the summer on a hot and humid day? The room would be almost unbearable to spend time in. A wall fan isn’t going to do the trick. The homeowner has a few options. They can extend their duct system to the new room. Or they buy a mini split, portable air conditioner, or window air conditioner. Extending the duct system to the new room would probably be the most expensive option. Furthermore, there could be a loss of air strength in other rooms since the HVAC system will be stretched to the additional room. Because this guide is geared towards ductless air conditioners, we are going to focus solely on that option. And let’s be honest folks, if it was me I would go with the ductless as well as I like the idea of saving the money of routing the extra ducts.

Next, we are going to talk about the benefits of ductless air conditioners. And there are many benefits! Let’s take a look at what those might be.

Benefits of Ductless Air Conditioners

There are more benefits to ductless air conditioners (mini split systems) than the ability to just cool a space. Sure, the primary goal of a mini split system is cool a room. After all, it’s an air conditioner. But let’s take a look at what some other benefits are. They are:

  • Saving money on your energy bill
  • Possibly qualifying for a federal tax credit
  • Flexibility to move around

Money savings and flexibility are the two main benefits (outside of cooling a room) of mini split system. Let’s take a deeper dive to better understand why a ductless air conditioner can save you money on your monthly energy bill.

Lower the Energy Bill

If you’re like me, you like to save money. Think about it. If you really tried, I bet you could save at least one hundred dollars each month by making a few adjustments. You can cancel cable in favor of a streaming platform like Netflix. You can make more meals at home instead of eating at restaurants. And you can use a ductless mini split more often than using an HVAC system. Let’s focus on the third point, which is the topic of our guide.

It boils down to this: you are charged for the amount of energy you use. What uses more energy, an HVAC system or a ductless mini split air conditioner? To answer this question you need to know how much energy the HVAC system or ductless mini split air conditioner uses. But I think it’s safe to say that the HVAC system will almost always use more energy. They are normally more powerful and therefore use more energy than ductless mini split air conditioners. Running a ductless mini split air conditioner will then translate into you saving money. The downside is you are only able to run the ductless air conditioner in one (or a couple) rooms.

Owning a ductless air conditioner creates a “ductless zone” in the home. The more rooms there are with mini split systems, the more ductless zones there are in the home. An Angie’s List article details why having ductless zones is a good thing. “If there are multiple ductless zones in a home or structure, you can control the temperature in each room instead of using a thermostat for the entire house — making them more energy efficient. As much as twenty percent of air moving through a traditional central air duct system can get lost due to holes or leaks, according to Energy Star.”

That information presents an important fact about air loss. In HVAC circles, the term is air leakage. Nevertheless, you won’t have that problem with a ductless mini split system. The air goes straight from the system into your room! There are no ducts to patch. We’ll learn more about how mini splits work soon.

Another reason to use a mini split system is if you spend most of your time in one specific room. Why turn on an HVAC system that will cool the entire house if you’re not using the entire house? That’s a waste of energy! And when you get your monthly energy bill, you might regret using that much energy, especially in the summer. There are many times that I’ve opened my power bill after a hot July and recoil in horror at the price. A mini split system can, to a degree, compliment an HVAC system. Let’s say your HVAC system is old. Over time, the HVAC system might lose some of its strength. Running a ductless air conditioner will give the HVAC system a break so it won’t have to work hard at all times.

Still, there’s another financially-smart reason to buy a ductless mini split system. You may get a tax credit!

Tax Credits and Rebates

There are, at times, financial incentives to buying certain appliances or systems for your home. These incentives can come from the federal, state, or local government.  Sometimes incentives are offered through your local energy company. So make sure you stay up-to-date and check with them! What is the rebate, tax deduction or credit, or incentive for anyway?

The government and energy companies are concerned with energy efficient systems. They want you to own an energy efficient air conditioning solution! If the ductless mini split system is ENERGY STAR-rated, it may qualify for a deduction or other type of financial incentive. “ENERGY STAR certified ductless heating and cooling systems are eligible for rebates from some local utilities — up to one-thousand dollars per unit depending on what system is being replaced.”

Tax deductions and tax credits are not always available. Neither are rebates or incentives from your local energy company. Therefore, and as you read this, make sure you check with them! Give your local energy company a call to see what deals they have available. You might be surprised by what they offer. Please remember that you won’t actually buy the ductless mini split through your local energy company. We’ll talk later about how to find the best deals on ductless air conditioners. The important thing is letting your energy company know you now own an energy efficient air conditioner. And they might grant you some type of incentive.

Let’s now take a look at the third benefit to owning a ductless air conditioner. You’ll have the flexibility to move it around.

Interior Section of a Ductless Air Conditioner
Interior Section of a Ductless Air Conditioner

Ductless Mini Splits are Flexible

When it comes to flexibility, ductless mini split systems are right between HVAC systems and portable air conditioners. An HVAC system is stationary. It isn’t going anywhere! And there’s no reason to move it around to a different room or otherwise. The HVAC system is connected in part via the duct system.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have portable air conditioners. These are extremely portable units which you can freely transport room-to-room and home-to-home. Most of them are not as powerful of ductless air conditioners, however. And, portable air conditioners are most often noisier than ductless mini split systems. Speaking of “mini split”, recall that I said one unit is indoor and one unit is outdoors. Guess which unit is the loud one? The unit outdoors is the loud one! That’s perfect for many reasons, which I’ll touch on later.

Where would window air conditioning units fit on the scale of flexibility? They would be in between a ductless mini split and a portable air conditioner. So all three are quite flexible. Service Champions, and HVAC service company, lauds the flexible nature of ductless mini split systems. They write “ductless AC systems are incredibly flexible since the tubing or conduit allows for the indoor air-handling unit to be moved and positioned exactly where you want it. This unit can be placed on the floor or installed on a wall, and since it is remote controlled, you can customize the cooling or heating as per your preferences with zero hassle.”

Let’s ponder on the tubing or conduits aspects for a moment. You can add more tubing or conduit if you want the indoor unit moved! That alone attests to the flexibility of ductless air conditioners. And using our example from before, about adding a new room to a home you would have the option of moving the unit to the new room. Ductless air conditioners are turning out to be a great air conditioning solution!

But what are some possible drawbacks? Are there cons to owning or buying a ductless air conditioner? You guessed it. Just like with anything, there are always drawbacks. And some of it depends on your current situation and your personal or family needs. Let’s dig a little deeper to learn about the possible drawbacks of ductless air conditioners.

Cons of Ductless Air Conditioners

Nobody likes to focus on drawbacks or cons of items they either own or are about to buy. For example, I know many people who own iPhones. I don’t hear them complaining! That’s because they love their iPhone. It’s similar to owning a ductless air conditioner. There might be small drawbacks here and there; however, the pros outweigh the cons! They are cons, however. They are:

  • Mini splits require regular maintenance
  • They may not be aesthetically pleasing
  • Potentially large upfront costs

So there you have it. There are three potential drawbacks to either owning or buying a mini split system. Each of the cons, as you’ll soon see, have ways to be mitigated. But there’s no getting around, for example, regularly maintaining a system like a ductless air conditioner. Let’s talk about that one first:

Regular Maintenance is Required

Most major appliances or systems need to be maintained at some point. So it should come as no surprise that the ductless air conditioner needs to be maintained as well. After all, HVAC systems, portable air conditioners, and window air conditioners need to be maintained as well.

People want convenience. I’m not different! If I’m going to spend money on something, especially something that might be pricey, I want to “set it and forget it”. I don’t really want to spend more than money (I’m talking about time) working on a system, especially if I’m not familiar with maintaining such a system.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, however. You don’t necessarily have to maintain your system. You can pay someone else to do it! And by that, I mean a professional, similar to an HVAC technician. If you are unfamiliar with maintaining systems like a ductless air conditioner, it’s probably a good idea to just leave it to the professionals.

I’m not going to talk about how to maintain a ductless mini split system, yet. After all, I have an entire section that will talk about that! So let’s move right into the next con.

Ductless Systems Might Not Look Attractive

What do you like about your home? Do you like everything to have its place? Does everything need to look neat, organized, and aesthetically pleasing? Depending on your room, a ductless mini split may or may not look good in your room. It might not match the overall color scheme. It might be too “blocky”. Or there might be another reason it “doesn’t match” with the rest of the room. I’m talking about the interior unit here. There are also aesthetic concerns relating to the outdoors unit.

Tuckey, a home and commercial services and manufacturing conglomerate, had a few things to say about the aesthetics of ductless air conditioners. They write “the refrigerant and drain lines need to be able to penetrate walls to get outdoors to the outside unit and/or drains. This requires running the pipes, etc. in what is called “slim duct”. This will hide the lines; however, you may have to have the piping on a finished home exposed on the outside (depending on the home and installation). Normally it can be worked around but could be less than pleasing to the eye depending on the specific circumstance. To some, this is a big concern, especially when it comes to the aesthetics of the home (both interior and exterior).”

So there you have it. There are interior and exterior concerns when it comes to the look and feel of the ductless air conditioning system. When holes are drilled, walls are penetrated, pipes are fitted, will it still look good afterward? In a perfect world, the answer is yes, of course. But this isn’t a perfect world. The good thing about the look of the interior unit is that you get to choose which one it is before you buy it (obviously). When you’re shopping, I’m sure you’ll consider aesthetics as you go through your options. And we’ll share some favorite ductless mini split systems later.

Let’s first talk about the third con of buying a ductless air conditioner: upfront cost.

Mini Split Systems can be Expensive at First

The key words here I want you to focus on are “at first”. Remember those. I’ll get back to those soon. But for many people, they might look at the initial cots of buying a ductless air conditioner and take a step back. At that point, they might look into other options such as replacing their HVAC system or researching portable air conditioners.

HGTV, a beloved television channel by many, recently ran an article about the pros and cons of mini split systems. They touched on these air conditioners possibly being pricey. Later, we’ll talk about where you can find some great deals. But first, let’s read what HGTV said. They write “For a single-room solution, ductless units cost several times more than comparable window units or baseboard heating units (thousands of dollars versus hundreds). And in whole-house terms, if you replace your existing central heating/cooling system with a complete ductless solution, you may pay two-to-three times the cost of simply replacing with another ducted unit.”

The thought of “expensive products” can immediately make a person more reserved; however, you can find quality ductless air conditioners and not pay a large amount of money for them. So, how much do mini splits cost? Sure, you can find great ones that cost thousands of dollars. But, as you’ll read more about later, it’s possible to find a very nice ductless air conditioner for under one thousand dollars.

Now, do you recall when I said to remember the words “at first”? In context, it was “mini split systems can be expensive at first”. What did I mean by that? I’ll tell you. Sure, you might pay one or two thousand dollars up front. However, over time, you’ll be saving money. How is this possible? Because you’ll be using less energy by using a ductless system and an HVAC system! The article from HGTV continues “you’ll get lower energy bills in return, but the payback period depends on your climate, your use of the system, and your local electricity rates”. So there are a few different factors at play here.

It’s always a smart idea to think long term. Think about delayed gratification. Sure, the ductless air conditioner is going to cost you money. But, over time, it will save you money on your monthly electric bill. If you own it long enough, it just might pay for itself!

And now, let’s get into some technical things. It’s time to learn about how ductless mini split air conditioners work.

How Ductless Air Conditioners Work

Get ready for an in-depth look at how these systems work! This part of our guide is divided into a few different sections.  They are:

  • The different parts of a ductless air conditioner
  • How the parts of the ductless air conditioner interact

It makes sense to know what the parts are before you can understand how they interact with each other. I already gave a top-down view of mini split systems when I said one unit is indoor and the other is outdoors. This is very important! And you’ll know why once I get to how it works. But first, let’s take a look at the different moving pieces of this amazing air conditioning system.

The Different Parts of a Ductless Air Conditioner

The ductless mini split is two separate parts; however, they are connected. The outdoor unit includes an inverter-driven variable speed compressor, a condensing coil, and an expansion valve and a fan which cools the condenser coil. The indoor unit includes the quiet oscillating fan and an evaporator.

In addition to the indoor and outdoor units, they need to be connected somewhere. That’s where the refrigerant line-set comes into play. It’s made of insulated copper tubing, which protects the liquid/vapor. The insulated copper tubing is enclosed in a conduit next to both a power cable and a condensation drain.

You could technically include a remote control (which is often included) as one of the parts do ductless air conditioners. They need no special introduction other than what they do: turn on and off the ductless air conditioner. The remote control sometimes has additional features, however. We’ll talk about those later when we talk about the best mini split products on the market.

So we have the compressor, condensing coils, expansion valves, insulated copper tubing, and more! I hope you like mechanical systems because you’re about to find out how these different parts work with one another (if you don’t know already).

How Mini Split Systems Work

I suppose many people will press the “on” button, feel the cool air, and move on about their day. There’s nothing wrong with that! For those who want to know the how, keep reading. It comes down to a matter of science, actually. You also need to know the refrigeration cycle. The moment you press the on button, the gears start spinning.

Mitsubishi has a great explanation of how ductless systems work. Yes, that Mitsubishi. Let’s first take a look at the refrigeration process. Mitsubishi explains “in the refrigeration cycle, low-pressure gas is transformed into high-pressure gas by the action of a compressor. The heat is dissipated into the outdoors by the action of a forced air fan. The refrigerant then becomes a high-pressure liquid, and it is again changed into a low-pressure liquid by a metering device at the evaporator coil. Heat energy from the indoor air is absorbed by the refrigerant, and the resulting cooler air is pushed into the living area by the internal blower. The resulting low-pressure gas is moved through the suction line back to the compressor, and the cycle is repeated again.”

The story of how the ductless air conditioner works is actually the story of how refrigerant works. And, as you know, we love talking about refrigerants here, seeing as how this is RefrigerantHQ!

How to Install a Ductless Air Conditioner

Now that we know how mini split systems work, it’s time to understand how to install them. There are a few caveats here. Chief among them is that you don’t need to install it yourself. This is very important to know.

Ductless Air Conditioner Layout
Ductless Air Conditioner Layout – Courtesy of thefavorite.info

Do you have a local HVAC company? Here’s an idea, you can have one of their technicians come out and install it for you. The best part is that the price might be negotiable. And you won’t know unless you ask!

The ductless air conditioner will come with instructions. After all, is a major system. What major system or appliance doesn’t come with an instruction manual? There are many types of mini splits or ductless air conditioners on the market. Therefore, it would be difficult to write about a one size fits all type of section here. However, we can give you an overview of what to expect when installing a mini split system.

Disclaimer: The steps below do not constitute advice. You should not perform these steps unless you coordinate with a professional electrician or ductless air conditioning installer under their supervision. There are seven general steps to installing a ductless air conditioner. In order, they are:

  1. Buy Required Tools
  2. Assemble the Wall Bracket
  3. Mount the Indoors Unit
  4. Drill a Hole and Feed Refrigerant Piping
  5. Mount the Outdoors Unit
  6. Connect Piping to Electrical Unit
  7. Testing the system and setting up the WiFi

Disclaimer: The steps above do not constitute advice. You should not perform these steps unless you coordinate with a professional electrician or ductless air conditioning installer under their supervision. Let’s get specific and expand on these of these in the list

Buy Required Tools

What good is your installation attempt if you don’t have the proper tools? Start off on the right foot by having everything you need. If you do, you won’t have to run to the hardware store in the middle of your install. You can have your tools on hand even before your mini duct system arrives. Just search online for installation manual of the ductless air conditioner you are ordering. It’ll list the required tools and anything else you might need.

Assemble the Wall Bracket

A wall bracket helps the indoors unit stay attached to the wall. As you read in the instructions, the bracket should be installed higher up on the wall. Make sure the outdoor unit will be closeby on the other side of the wall. This will mean you’ll have to use less pipe to connect the two units.

Mount the Indoors Unit

Now that the wall bracket is in place, it’s time to attach the indoor unit. These units aren’t light, so you want to make sure you secure it tightly. This will mitigate any possible falls of the unit, which would cause an accident.

PIONEER Air Conditioner Piping
PIONEER Air Conditioner Piping

Drill a Hole and  Feed Refrigerant Piping

If the indoors and outdoors units are directly on opposing sides of the wall, you won’t have to use lengthy piping. Try to keep the piping and drain hose as close to the wall as possible. You can even secure it in place by using metal brackets.

Mount the Outdoors Unit

You’ll mount the outdoors unit in a similar way you mounted the indoors unit. Remeber, these steps are a general overview and each ductless air conditioner is different; therefore, you’ll need to refer to your specific instruction manual. The outdoors condenser unit will probably include a support piece, cross support piece, and many screws, bolts, and brackets. The outdoors unit is the heavier of the two!

Connect Piping to Electrical Unit

This is the step where is most important to defer to a licensed electrician or other professional if you’re not used to electric work. The electrical components will need to be connected to the outdoors unit, indoors unit, and, most importantly, the electric power supply or electrical box.

Testing the System and Setting up WiFi 

Finally, all you need to do at this point is press the power button! Does it work? If so, you’re going to have a very enjoyable environment and atmosphere in the room it’s installed in. Conduct a comprehensive check of the remote control and the system for full functionality.

Another note, and an honorary mention, is that you can set up WiFi in some units. You’ll be able to operate the ductless air conditioner from your smart phone. Let’s say you turn your mini split system off during the day while you’re at work. Before you get home, you can remotely turn the air conditioner on and the room will be nice and chilly by the time you get home! Technology is amazing. And we want to make sure your ductless air conditioner lasts as long as possible. That’s why routine maintenance is required. Let’s take a look at what that entails.

How to Maintain a Ductless Air Conditioner

Everything breaks down over time. And ductless air conditioners are no different. They, like other air conditioning solutions such as traditional split HVAC systems, have plenty of moving parts. These parts—the lifeblood of mini split systems—have different maintenance needs. Let’s take a look at what some ways to you extend the life of your air conditioner. They are:

  • Keep it clean
  • Replace air filters
  • Check for ice or leaks
  • Get professional service

Keeping the Unit Clean

There are numerous parts to keep clean so the mini split system runs at optimal performance. Clean dust and debris on the outside of both units, indoors and outdoors. An accumulation of debris and make its way into the unit and cause backups and stoppages. If left unchecked, it could cause a complete system failure.

Replace the Air Filters

What happens when you fail to replace an air filter in your car or furnace? It doesn’t work as it should! If the air filter gets caked with debris over time, the mini duct system won’t get enough air. At that point, there might be some type of system failure. Replacing air filters is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to keep your system running healthy not to mention keeping the air flow quality!

Check for Ice or Leaks

It’s important, especially in the winter, to check for any ice buildups. Ice can cause a multitude of problems including covering where the air should be entering or exiting the system. Leaks are another hazard to watch out for. This is especially true when you look at the piping of the mini split system. A quick check of the pipes can potentially save the unit from future failure if any problems are spotted early on. 

If you find that you have a leak please remember that the last thing that you want to do is dump more refrigerant into the system. Refrigerant is the lifeblood of your air conditioner and if it is leaking out then you have a problem. Simply ‘recharging,’ the unit without fixing the leak will not solve the problem. Instead, you’ll be back to where you were in only a few days or weeks depending on the size of the leak. The correct approach here is to identify where the leak is and then fix the leak. For help on identifying leaks and where to find them check out our ‘What’s the Best Way to Find a Refrigerant Leak,‘ guide.

Get Professional Service

If you aren’t familiar with maintaining a mini split system, you’re in luck. You don’t have to maintain it if you don’t want to! Well, the maintenance still needs to happen; however, but you can hire a local technician and they will come to your home to do the job. Most of the time this is your best option as you never want to guess your way through something like this as you have already invested a significant amount of money into the machine. It would be terrible if you did something to break the air conditioner accidentally because you didn’t know exactly what you were doing.

There are a number of reasons why hiring a professional technician is a good idea. First and foremost, the answer is in the word “professional”. They know exactly what they’re doing and probably have years of experience working on air conditioning systems. It’s their job! Another reason is that that might know tips and tricks that are in addition to what’s available in the instruction manual.

The HVAC technician industry exists for a reason: most people t either don’t want or know how to maintain their systems. Some people might be interested but just don’t have the time. At the end of the day, the important thing is that your ductless air conditioner gets the maintenance that it needs.  If you’re going to pay money, and sometimes good money, for a major appliance or system, you might as well do everything you can to extend its lifespan as much as you can. And proper, regular maintenance is just the trick to doing that.

Buying the Right Ductless Air Conditioner

There are many mini split systems to choose from. Which one is the best for you? In this section, our goal is to give you the tools you need to find the right ductless air conditioner. Everyone’s situation is different and there are unique types of mini split systems for different situations. Let’s take a look at what some might be. The major factors are:

  • Cost of the mini split system
  • Size of the room you want to cool
  • Features of the ductless air conditioner
  • Durability and warranty information

The Price of the Mini Split System

Cost, or price range, will probably be the first factor you consider when shopping around. Are you willing to spend in the three-to-four thousand dollars range? Are you willing to spend in the one-to-two thousand dollars range? Depending upon the range you’re in, there will still be numerous options for you to choose from.

Here’s something for you to consider: a more energy efficient model might be just out of your price range. But when you do the math, considering monthly energy bill payments, which option will eventually be more cost-effective? For example, let’s say there are two models, one for two thousand dollars and another for two thousand five hundred dollars. What if the more expensive one will save you fifty dollars each month on the energy bill? Well, within a year, the more expensive option would actually be the less expensive option. Sometimes it pays to do the calculation and see how many months it will take to get your return on investment.

The Size of the Room Matters

Mini split systems are not equal when it comes to cooling power or the ability to cool rooms of different sizes. How many square feet do you want to cool? Take a look at the ductless air conditioners on Amazon. You’ll notice that they either display the square footage or the “BTU”, which stands for British Thermal Units. To learn more about BTUs, read our article “What are Air Conditioner BTUs?. Reading that article will give you the tools you need to know what BTU number is right for you.

Along with price, the strength of the ductless air conditioner is going to be one of the more important factors you’ll use to choose. You don’t want to buy, install, and find out the mini split system isn’t strong enough for the room. That’s too late! If you end up with a unit that’s too large for your room then you’re going to be wasting energy as well as ending up with hot or cold spots throughout the room. On the inverse of that if you purchase a unit that is too small for your room then the air conditioner will be running constantly causing your energy bills to go up and up. On top of that your room will never fully be cooled. So please ensure you do the proper research before you buy your mini split system.

Senville SENL-12CD Ductless Air Conditioner
Senville SENL-12CD Ductless Air Conditioner

Features of the Mini Split System

Some people only need it the air conditioner to turn on and cool the room. Others prefer their unit to have a timer, include a remote control, or have additional features such as heating mode. Like anything, you’ll probably get what you pay for. So if you’re a fan of “bells and whistles”, it might be a good idea to spend a few hundred dollars more. You never know, the higher priced model might be more energy efficient. And, like we learned earlier, you might even be saving money over time in the form of lower monthly energy bills.

How Long the Ductless Air Conditioner Will Last?

This is very important! How long will the mini split system last, on average? You’ll want to review different pieces of information here. Chief among them is to know both the warranty details and what other people are saying about the mini split system you’re considering. Both can be found on the Amazon product page.

Normally, a warranty will be for two or three years. I would recommend going against buying a mini split system that has a warranty of only one year. What good is the air conditioner if it breaks after one year of use? You’d have to buy the unit every year! Some people, as you’ll read, buy the extended warranty. This might be a smart option, especially if you’re going to buy a more expensive mini split system.

Speaking of the “right” ductless air conditioner, let’s take a look at the last section: our favorite products.

Top 5 Ductless Air Conditioners

Finally, we’re excited to share our top 5 picks! Now, we’re basing our “top 5” on Amazon customer reviews, score, and through our own individual research. If you’re in the market for a mini split system, you might as well start with the most popular products! Let’s take a look.

5) INNOVA Mini Split Air Conditioner and Heater

This is ductless air conditioner you’d consider if you have a strict budget. It costs just under $700 total. (Prices can change at any time.) This unit has twelve-thousand BTUs, which means it can cool a room between four-hundred and fifty to five-hundred and fifty square feet in size. Keep in mind that a standard bedroom is around one-hundred square feet. That means this mini split system will be able to cool bedrooms, living rooms, and home office spaces. Here are some benefits to this unit:

  • Features silent operation mode for quiet use indoors
  • Comes with a heater as well as an air conditioner
  • Triples as a dehumidifier in addition to cooling and heating
  • Includes a hidden LED panel so you have covert functionality

Ductless air conditioners can be quite loud; however, the INNOVA Mini Split is different. You might use this unit for a home office. If that’s the case, you’ll want it to be as quiet as possible. Or, you might be a light sleeper. Either way, the silent operation feature of this unit is perfect for situations that need a system which is quieter.

Does your room get humid? The INNOVA Mini Split will mitigate that. It functions as a dehumidifier! You don’t need to buy separate air conditioners, heaters, and dehumidifiers. With this unit, they are all included. That also has the added benefit of taking up less space in your room.

LED panels are great because they provide valuable information. On the INNOVA Mini Split, the LED tells you the current temperature of the room. Here’s the cool (no pun intended) part: the LED temperature is displayed only when the unit is on.

This ductless air conditioner weighs ninety-five pounds during shipment. So make sure you have something like a dolly to be able to move the box around before installing the system.

4) Ductless Aire Mini Split Air Conditioner and Heat Pump

This mini split system has three price and power options. The highest power is about double the price and power of the last one. It clocks in at around $1,600 (Prices can change at any time.)with a BTU of twenty-four thousand. If you wanted to do a more proper comparison with the prior, this ductless air conditioner has a twelve-thousand BTU option for around $1,099. (Prices can change at any time.)

DuctlessAire Air Conditioner
DuctlessAire Air Conditioner

No matter which option you choose, each of them has the same features! The only difference is the power level (BTU) so it depends upon the square footage of the room you want to cool. Let’s take a look at the features and benefits of this unit. They include:

  • “Whisper-quiet” operation allows it to run in the background
  • Comes with the heat pump addition as well as the air conditioner
  • 3 fan speeds mean you can choose your cooling power level
  • Washable air filters will keep your air quality fresh and healthy

“Whisper-quiet” operation is ideal for any major system or appliance in your home. This is especially true if the ductless air conditioner is going to be installed in your bedroom. No matter which room it’s in, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing the mini split system won’t bother you with too much noise. Maybe you want to catch a game on TV, or talk on the phone, or sleep. Either way, you’ll be able to those with no problem.

Having an option for three different speeds is powerful for a few reasons. One of them is related to your wallet. You can choose to run this ductless air conditioner on the lowest setting. This will use less energy, which in turn translates to a lower monthly electric bill. Or, on hot days, you can toggle the unit to blast air on its highest setting. This choice will cool the room the fastest. If you aren’t sure which to choose, you can always meet in the middle and use the standard cooling option. It’ll still get the job done.

Some ductless air conditioners come with washable filters. This means that you don’t have to keep buying new ones if you want clean air. You can just take the washable filter out and clean it! It’ll probably consist of running it below a water faucet. Just to be sure, check the maintenance manual for specifically how to clean it.

3) MRCOOL DIY Mini Split Air Conditioner with Heat Pump

MRCOOL is the perfect name for an air conditioning company. And they won’t let you down with their quality mini split system Their product description on Amazon says it all. “Is the only ductless mini-split system on the market explicitly designed for amateur installation. You don’t need special tools or training to install this high efficiency heat pump. The line sets recharged with R-410A refrigerant, the quick hook-up electrical connections, and the quality engineering mean just about anyone can install a MRCOOL DIY in their home with no problem at all in only a few short hours. If you want great air comfort without paying an arm and a leg for installation, you want an easy-to-use MRCOOL DIY Series ductless heat pump.”

I would argue this is one of the main features of the MRCOOL Mini Split. You’re going to save hundreds of dollars by installing it yourself! And if there’s a ductless air conditioner for beginners, it’s this one. No special tools and the ability to have it up and running in a few hours is a major plus.

Another feature of this mini split is that it doubles as a heater! That means you won’t have to buy a separate system for when it gets cold in the winter. Simply press the heating mode on the remote control and you’re on your way to a comfortable room temperature.

This ductless air conditioner (and heat pump) runs at twenty-four thousand BTUs. That means it’s powerful enough to cool (or heat) large bedrooms, living rooms, and office rooms.

2) Senville Mini Split Air Conditioner and Heat Pump

The two words that come to mind when considering the Senville Mini Split are options and quality. This ductless air conditioner has four different power level options. They are nine-thousand, twelve-thousand, eighteen-thousand, and twenty-four thousand BTU levels. Customize your unit to just the right size for you! To make matters even better, this air conditioner doubles as a heat pump! Like the last choice, you don’t have to buy a separate heater for when it gets cold outside. There are some great features to this air conditioner. They are:

  • Features quiet operation to work in the background
  • Includes an infrared remote control for accurate temperature
  • Weights only sixty-six pounds, being one of the lightest mini split systems

The higher up we get on our list of favorites the more often you’re seeing quiet operation mode. It makes sense since quiet operation is a key benefit to the ductless air conditioners people love. And people do love this one. As a matter of fact, as of this writing, the Senville Mini Split has nearly four and a half stars, out of five on Amazon.

This ductless air conditioner comes with an infrared remote control. Infrared is an area of the light spectrum that people cannot see; however, some animals can see it. This infrared remote control senses electromagnetic waves, which allows it to show a better estimate of the temperature of the room. Therefore, you’ll be able to program your air conditioner to exactly the temperature you want.

These systems can be quite heavy. It’s a breath of fresh air knowing that this one weighs only sixty-six pounds. You probably won’t be installing this mini split system; however, if you were, it would be easier than other mini split systems due to its lighter weight. The product description page on Amazon notes that this product should be installed by a professional.

1) PIONEER Ductless Air Conditioner and Heat Pump

You can’t go wrong with this “Amazon’s Choice” product. It’s not only Amazon’s choice. It’s ours as well! There are eight different power levels (and price) to choose from. The PIONEER ductless air conditioner offers the ultimate when it comes to power customization.

PIONEER Air Conditioner
PIONEER Air Conditioner

Let’s take a look at why this mini split system is so popular. Some of its features are:

  • This products weights only nineteen pounds
  • Includes installation, troubleshooting, and support hotline.
  • Quiet operation so you can concentrate on other things
  • Doubles as a heat pump, which warms you in the winter

The fact that this system weighs only nineteen pounds should come as a surprise to many people. After all, many ductless air conditioners can weigh up to seventy or eighty pounds, or even higher. Nineteen pounds is easy for most people to pick up; therefore, this ductless air conditioner should be easy to transport around.

On the Amazon page, PIONEER advertises “Unsurpassed support hotline covering installation, use, troubleshooting, warranty and parts issues.” That’s a big deal to a lot of people. Have you ever called a company, only to find yourself speaking with a robot on the other end of the phone? It sounds like that won’t be the case when you contact PIONEER for assistance. This is a huge help, especially during installation.

We’ve mentioned that many of the higher-tier models come with some type of quiet operation. And this product is no different. Check out the reviews on Amazon. People who have bought this mini split system are satisfied with how quiet it is. And that makes a big difference throughout the day or night.

Also, like some other quality mini split systems, the PIONEER ductless air conditioner has a heating ability. It makes a big difference when you’re able to use the same system for heating or cooling depending on how the weather is outside.

A couple other things to note are the reviews and “questioned answered” on the Amazon page.  PIONEER ductless air conditioner has over one-thousand answered questions. That’s a massive number! In addition, this product has nearly five-hundred product reviews! For that many reviews, and the product to score so high, it just goes to show how popular it is. After all, it’s “Amazon’s Choice” as the ductless air conditioner to buy. And, as we learned earlier, there are models and power levels for any budget.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it, folks! I hope that you enjoyed this ultimate guide to ductless air conditioners. And I also hope that you now have the tools you need to make the right decision when buying the perfect mini split system. Now, you know what ductless air conditioners are. You know their benefits and drawbacks. You also know how they work, how to install them, and how to maintain them. We’ve even shared our top five picks to give you a head start when making your choice.

After reading this article if you find that you are still leaning towards a different alternative air conditioner such as a portable or window unit consider checking out our best of guides on these. Click here for our best window air conditioner article and click here for our best portable air conditioners. There are many ways to stay cool nowadays, the question is which one will you choose?

If you have any further questions about ductless air conditioners you can contact us. Also, if you want more guides and articles like this, make sure you subscribe to our email list. As always, thanks for reading! And make sure to return in a few days for a new article from RefrigerantHQ.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

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