While most standard air conditioners and furnaces rely on air ducts to cool and heat your home, a ductless HVAC system does things differently by putting the source of that comfort right in the room with you. Ductless systems aren’t just versatile: they’re also energy-efficient and convenient. In this article, we’ll review what ductless systems are, how they work, and how one Carrier system leads the industry when it comes to ductless performance.
At minimum, ductless HVAC systems consist of two main components: an indoor blower unit (typically wall-mounted) and an outdoor heat pump. This type of system can provide both summer cooling and wintertime heating, even here in Chicago. Heat pumps operate by moving heat energy from one location to another. In the summer, this means removing heat from the home and depositing it outside—just like an air conditioner. In the winter, the heat pump pulls residual heat energy from even cold outdoor air and brings it inside.
In a section to come, we’ll review how one Carrier ductless system in particular is a good fit here in the Chicago area.
Zoned comfort for each room of your home
When you turn down the thermostat linked to a traditional HVAC system, the unit kicks on and cooled or heated air begins blowing out of the ducts. Depending on how your ducts work, you may be able to close or open specific ones, but the system is still pushing air there, which means you’re still effectively paying to cool or heat the entire home, not just a single room. Ductless changes the game by allowing you to selectively change the temperature of the room you’re in or a group of rooms instead of the whole house. This means you can set the comfort in each room—and set yourself up for savings.
For example, if you and your family are spending a hot summer night in the kitchen eating dinner and then playing a board game, you can set that room to a cooler temperature than the rest of the home so that everyone stays comfortable. Then, when the game ends and everyone heads to bed, you can turn off the cooling in the kitchen and turn it on in the bedrooms. This “zoned” approach saves you money because you’re only paying to cool or heat the rooms that you need to at any given time.
Ductless HVAC systems are more energy efficient than standard air conditioners and furnaces. As it turns out, air is a relatively poor conduit for temperature, which means that a great deal of the energy spent cooling or heating air is wasted as that air travels through your air ducts to vents and the living spaces of your home. The system then needs to generate more cooled or heated air to make up for the amount lost in transit.
With its indoor, wall-mounted blower unit, a ductless system cuts out the most wasteful part of the process and distributes cooled and heated air directly where it is needed. Add in the aforementioned ability to operate your cooling and heating strategically in zones, and a ductless system will lead to both lower energy bills and greater comfort in your home relative to a standard air conditioner and furnace.
No need to add ductwork
There are many homes and spaces here in the Chicago area where it doesn’t make sense to add air ducts. Historic homes, many of them built before central air conditioning and heating took the form we recognize today, may not be able to be extensively modified or retrofitted due to local historic preservation codes (not to mention that the cost of adding ductwork is often a dealbreaker for many homeowners). In other cases, it may not make sense or be feasible for a homeowner to run new duct lines out to home additions, non-connected suites, or garages.
No matter what type of home or what kind of space you have, a ductless HVAC system grants you greater flexibility. Many homeowners who are car enthusiasts or hobbyists are even starting to use ductless indoor units to keep their garages comfortable during the winter cold or the summer humidity here in Chicagoland.
The Carrier Infinity® Heat Pump
This is one of the most advanced heat pumps in the world, and it’s a perfect fit for the climate here in the Chicago area. This system boasts up to 42 SEER cooling and 15 HSPF heating when paired with an indoor blower unit. Best of all, this heat pump has an operating range that allows it to remain at 100% heating capacity in temperatures as low as 0℉ and 100% cooling efficiency in temperatures as warm as 122℉. This versatility allows it to bring heat to your home, no matter how cold it gets this winter.
Call King for a free in-home estimate
To learn more about the Carrier Infinity® Heat Pump, the manufacturer’s other heat pumps, or these systems in general, give our team a call. King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing offers free in-home estimates on new cooling and heating systems, including ductless HVAC systems. Our techs can match you to the new Carrier ductless unit that’s right for your home.