Some of the older homes in the Woodbridge and Manassas areas have boiler heating. If you own one of these homes, you may be under the impression that you cannot have air conditioning installed without undertaking a major renovation project to install ductwork behind your walls. Thankfully, this is just a misconception—it's not true! Ductless air conditioning systems are well suited to homes with boiler heating.
What Are Ductless Air Conditioners?
As the name suggests, ductless air conditioners are systems that cool the home without the need to transport the cooled air through ducts or pipes. A ductless AC system has two main parts: an outdoor condenser, which is quite similar to the condenser you'd see in a standard central AC system, and an air handling unit. The air handling unit is mounted on the interior wall and blows cooled air into the room.
There are two basic types of ductless AC systems. A mini-split system consists of one condenser and a single air handling unit; this system is used to cool a single room or space. A multi-split system consists of one condenser and several air handling units—one for each room or"zone" in your home.
How Do Ductless Air Conditioners Work?
Ductless air conditioners work very similarly to standard central air conditioners. Inside the condenser, there's a coil filled with refrigerant. The refrigerant starts as a gas, but when the system puts it under pressure, it turns into a liquid. This chemical process has a cooling effect and the coil becomes very cold. Air from the outdoors is then passed over the coil, which cools the air. This cooled air is then pumped into your home through the air handling unit.
What Are The Benefits of Ductless Air Conditioners?
The most obvious benefit of ductless air conditioners is that they don't require ductwork be installed in your home. This can save you thousands of dollars in renovation costs while also helping to preserve your home's historic integrity. Some other benefits of choosing ductless AC for your home with boiler heating include the following.
With a central air conditioning system, you lose some efficiency as the cooled air travels through the ducts. The lack of ductwork in a mini-split or multi-split system makes it more efficient, resulting in lower energy bills. In fact, ductless AC systems tend to have the highest efficiency ratings of any air conditioners.
Air handling units are typically small and un-intrusive. You can mount them high on the wall where the devices won’t get in the way of furniture or decorations.
Zoned Temperature Control
If you opt for a multi-split system, you'll be able to control each air handling unit separately. So, for example, you can cool one room in your home to 72 degrees while leaving another room at 78 degrees. This way, you don't have to waste energy cooling rooms you rarely use, and there's no need for one family member to suffer in the heat because someone else likes their room a bit warmer.
Ductwork does have its downfalls. One major disadvantage of having ducts in your home is that they tend to accumulate dirt, pet dander and other allergens. Then, when you turn on your air conditioning, these particles get scattered through the home where they can cause allergic reactions and asthma symptoms. With ductless air conditioning, you don't have this issue because there are no ducts to accumulate debris.
What Features Should You Look for In a Ductless System?
An HVAC contractor who has experience with ductless AC systems can examine your home and recommend systems that are best suited to your needs. You'll need to decide whether you want a multi-split system to cool your whole home or just a mini-split system to cool one zone. In either case, there are a few qualities you should look for in a good ductless AC system.
A Remote Control
Since air handling units are typically mounted quite high on the wall, accessing them to manually adjust the temperature can be a chore. The best systems have remote controls so you can adjust settings from the comfort of your sofa or dining room chair.
In Virginia, the outdoor air can grow quite humid in the summer. It's nice to be able to remove humidity from your indoor air even when you don't necessarily need to cool it. Some ductless AC units have a separate dehumidification function that prevents you from having to purchase a freestanding dehumidifier for this purpose.
Look for an AC unit that allows you to set a program for the day. Having the AC turn on automatically before you come home from work and turn off again when you leave in the morning is very convenient and will also save you money on your cooling bills.
Don't let a lack of ductwork keep you from installing air conditioning in your home. Contact us to schedule a consultation; we'll help you find the ductless airconditioning system that's best for you.