Angie's List Report: Ductless Air Conditioners

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Updated: 7/26/2013 10:12 am

Keeping the house cool during the summer is a top priority for most homeowners. If you’re looking for an alternative to central air or a window unit – you do have another option. In this Angie’s List report, how ductless air conditioners work.

When the summer heat is on, it can be tough to keep your house cool. Most people turn to central air or a window unit to stay comfortable. A ductless air conditioner can also help, especially in situations where you may not have ductwork, like a sunroom, or in areas where running ductwork is difficult.

They are also ideal for rooms where your HVAC system isn’t keeping the air at a comfortable temperature.
“A ductless air conditioner can cost about $1,500 to $2,000 per ton of cooling capacity, but you need to remember while these systems are more expensive, not having the ductwork can be a little bit more efficient than a traditional air conditioner because you lose about 20% of the efficiency from the ductwork,” advises Angie Hicks, the founder of the consumer website Angie's List.

This is probably not a do-it-yourself job. An evaporator is installed in the home, and the condenser is placed outside the home. Tubes filled with refrigerant run from the outside unit to the inside unit.

“It’s very easy as far as homeowner maintenance goes. Basically the main thing that you are going to want to do is keep the filters clean. The front will just pop up like this and then the filters will slide out. You have one on each side. Slide these filters out and wash them off under the sink, let them dry and then you are ready to pop them back in.” said Chad Peterman and HVAC Contractor. Using a contractor with a good reputation will be key to a successful install.
“Ductless air conditioners are a little newer technology so you want to make sure you have someone who is experienced in installing them because they are not installed exactly the same way a traditional air conditioner would be installed," Hicks said.

Some ductless systems also provide heat. You may need to purchase a separate heat pump, but some models come with heat strips already installed.

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