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How do I air condition a house without ductwork?

Date: June 17, 2019


It used to be that if you owned a Boston-area home without built-in ductwork, your options for cooling it were limited to window A/C units or ceiling fans (or, costly whole-house duct installation, if it was even possible!). But in recent years, a different option has been gaining popularity – and for good reason.

Ductless air conditioners (also called mini-split systems) are high-efficiency cooling wonders that offer substantial benefits compared to window A/Cs – or even, in some cases, central air conditioners.

What are these ductless air conditioners all about? Let’s take a look.

Ductless A/C 101

  • A ductless system includes two components: an indoor air handler and an outdoor condenser (for cooling-only systems) or heat pump (if the system cools and heats). One condenser can operate as many as four air handlers of similar or different sizes.
  • The key advantage of a ductless system is apparent in its name. Because it doesn’t need ducts.
    • It can be installed quickly and at a lower cost than a central system;
    • Air handlers can be put in hard-to-cool areas anywhere in your house – even in rooms with no windows;
    • You will have better air quality, since duct systems can be breeding grounds for mold and other harmful microorganisms; and
    • You’ll have higher operating efficiency, since ductwork can lose up to 15 percent of its cooled or heated air to your home’s building envelope.

Other ductless A/C advantages

Some other advantages of ductless systems include:

  • Flexibility – Air handlers are available in multiple sizes, and you can take advantage of “zone cooling” by controlling each air handler via its own thermostat.
  • Efficiency – Ductless systems usually operate in the 18-20 SEER range – much higher than the 14-15 ratings of room air conditioners.
  • Reduced noise – Because the condenser in a ductless system is outside rather than inside (as in the case in a window A/C), noise is significantly reduced.
  • A better view – Since a ductless air handler mounts on your wall, you will get back precious window space – and the light and airflow that comes with it.

Great for supplemental cooling, too

People without installed ductwork aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a ductless cooling system: ductless units can be a great supplemental source of cooling in houses with central air conditioning.

By enabling you to take the edge off hard-to-cool rooms and cooling home additions without the need for extending your duct network, ductless systems offer a cost-effective way to improve efficiency and prevent your central A/C from shouldering the burden of cooling the whole house.

Early summer – the perfect time for an A/C upgrade! Contact the cooling pros at Cubby Oil & Energy today to get a FREE, no obligation estimate on a high efficiency ductless or central air conditioner for your Massachusetts home!

Cubby Oil & Energy – Serving Boston and surrounding towns, including Somerville, Melrose, Malden and Cambridge.

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