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Can the Versatility of Ductless Heating and Cooling Work in Your Virginia Home?

Ductless heating and cooling was designed to condition rooms and areas in practically any building, whether it's inside a commercial building or conditioning rooms inside your Virginia home. If you are designing a new energy-efficient home, or if you need supplemental heating and cooling in specific areas of your existing home, learn how technologically-advanced Mitsubishi ductless systems can provide the most efficient and practical heating and cooling solution for your project.

What is Ductless Heating and Cooling?

Ductless mini-split and multi-split heating and cooling systems are heat pump and air conditioning systems with re-engineered compact components, which offer versatile installation options for homeowners and businesses. Ductless systems were developed by Mitsubishi Electric as a solution for heating and cooling rooms and areas where space was too limited to install the bulky ductwork of central systems, and where window units fell short in terms of energy efficiency, aesthetics and space.

Operating by the same refrigeration principles as conventional heat pumps and air conditioners, ductless systems efficiently transfer heat from one location to another. Rather than using ductwork to channel heated and cooled air, the compact components of ductless systems condition and circulate air directly in the living spaces with sleek, space-saving indoor air handlers.

Versatile Installation Options

There are few design limitations, if any, for installing ductless heating and cooling systems inside of homes, no matter how restricted available space may be. Complementing the compact indoor air handlers, the outside unit, which houses the compressor and condenser, is modest in size, too. It may be located in an inconspicuous area for better aesthetics, tucked among foliage for instance, if desired.

The third primary component of ductless systems is a thin conduit, which houses the power cable and the refrigerant and condensate lines. The conduit requires only a simple 3- to 4-inch opening in the outer wall of the home. Depending on the model of ductless system you select for your home-improvement project, the flexible conduit may extend in excess of 150 feet from the outside unit to the indoor air handler(s).

With ductless systems, the sum of the components equals a multitude of installation options, providing a custom-designed heating and cooling system for your home. These are some common home improvement projects or circumstances where ductless heating and cooling may deliver the best solution.

  • Remodeled rooms: Converting previously unused space, such as the attic or basement, into living space is common for many households, and encountering obstacles as to how to effectively heat and cool the retrofitted room is another. Attics and basements, even when remodeled, are often separated in temperature by 10 or more degrees from the primary floor and perhaps the second floor of living space. Extending ducts to these spaces may produce unsatisfactory results and unbalanced air pressure through the entire home. Ductless heating and cooling systems are not only a leading alternative, but the only efficient and comfortable alternative.
  • New additions: Expanding the square footage of a home with a new addition presents many of the same heating and cooling issues as retrofitted rooms where extending ductwork presents a problem of increased load, airflow issues and expense. Whether your new addition is an extra bedroom, family room or home office, or perhaps you're converting a porch area into a sun room, ductless heating and cooling conditions the additional square footage efficiently and comfortably without burdening the primary heating and cooling system. Plus, without bulky ducts in the design, you'll have more usable living space.
  • New homes: Ductless heating and cooling systems are available in many sizes, ranging from small half-ton systems to 3- and 4-ton systems which can heat and cool an entire home, even with multiple levels of living space. In fact, ductless systems may be your best solution when you consider the expense of installing and maintaining a new duct system. Work closely with your Mitsubishi Electric Contractor and your home designer to see where the versatility of ductless systems fit into the blueprints to help make your new home as energy efficient as possible.
  • Replacement system: If it's time to replace your old heat pump, air conditioner or other HVAC system, speak with your Mitsubishi Electric Contractor about a cost analysis calculation to see if you would be better served with a high-efficiency ductless system, rather than simply replacing your old system with a new one of the same size and efficiency.
  • Homes without ductwork: Many older homes were constructed without ductwork, and therefore weren't designed to accommodate the possibility of future ductwork installation, whether supplemental heating and cooling is needed, or if an entire system replacement is in order. Installing ducts in such a home is a time-consuming and costly solution, and it lessens the square footage of living space. Homeowners facing hot and cold spot issues in one or more rooms often find their only solution to be with window- or wall-mounted heat pumps and air conditioners. This is not an attractive option for many people. Window/wall units are noisy, inefficient and unsightly, and their capacity may be limited to meet your actual requirements if you need multiple rooms or a large room conditioned. Window/wall units may also pose a home safety and security risk. Ductless heating and cooling systems are great solutions for homes without ducts and/or limited space, and present no possible or potential security breaches.
  • Attached garages: Heating and cooling garage space is common for protecting stored possessions from extreme heat and cold. Or, perhaps you use the garage as a workshop or hobby area, and you would like to be able to enjoy the space in comfort all year long. Ductless systems are ideal for this situation. First, however, take the appropriate steps to seal and insulate the garage. If the walls are unfinished, install insulation and drywall. Make sure the walls are thoroughly sealed and painted, including the baseboards.
  • Pool houses and detached structures: If you're constructing a pool house, detached workshop or other structure on your property, ductless systems are perfect heating and cooling solutions for these projects and are easy to install.
  • Sun rooms: If you're designing a sun room for your new or existing home, ductless heating and cooling may be the best option. Sun rooms typically have extreme differences of heat gain and heat loss compared to other rooms and areas in the home. It may be unrealistic to plan for your home's central system to heat and cool the sun room without compromising efficiency and comfort to the rest of the home.
  • Bonus rooms: If you or other occupant spend time in a home office or other room, such a media or rec room, you can save energy with a ductless system by heating and cooling those rooms while occupied, rather than heating and cooling all of the living spaces when no one else is home.
  • Closed rooms: Closed doors present issues for free airflow through the living spaces with central systems. If for any reason you keep the doors closed to certain rooms in the home, to keep pets out for example, this disrupts air pressure in the forced-air system. This creates comfort and efficiency issues and increases energy costs with the additional work load and restricted airflow placed on the system. Ductless systems are suited to control temperatures in individual rooms, while not affecting the rest of the home.


Superior Comfort and Energy Efficiency 

Ductless heating and cooling systems are engineered to achieve superior energy efficiency ratings to other systems. Mitsubishi Electric ductless systems approach heating and cooling efficiencies of 10 HSPF and 26 SEER, which are substantially higher than conventional heat pumps and air conditioners. Moreover, going ductless means there is no wasted heat energy from inefficient or unkempt ductwork.

Zoning is also a plus for comfort and efficiency. The heating and cooling output provided by the air handlers are independent of other heating and cooling sources (e.g. central systems, radiant and furnaces) and independent of additional air handlers comprising a ductless multi-split system. This offers occupants the advantage of setting temperatures in a room to their specific preferences. 

Care and Maintenance

Like all HVAC systems, ductless mini- and multi-split systems need regular maintenance, both annual professional maintenance and simple do-it-yourself maintenance, such as cleaning the filter every few months and making sure the outside unit is kept free of debris, leaves, snow and ice to allow unobstructed and unrestricted airflow to the unit.

With proper care, both professional and do-it-yourself, your new ductless heating and cooling system can last 20 years or more. With this kind of longevity, efficiency and durable components for fewer repairs, ductless heating and cooling makes sense for many applications, from one room to multiple rooms or an entire home.

For more information about the versatility and efficiency of ductless heating and cooling systems for your Virginia home, contact a specialized Mitsubishi Electric Contractor  today.


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