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Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioners: Are They For You?

Information on Advantages and Disadvantages for Residential and Commercial Applications

ductless mini split, air conditioning

We get a lot of questions here at Air-Tro, and one of the most frequent is about ductless mini split air conditioners. What are they? Should we install them in our home or office? Who’s going to the Superbowl?

For this blog, let’s stick to the first two questions. Ductless mini split-system air conditioners can be useful in institutional settings, offices, homes and apartment buildings. With their small size, these allow an occupant to determine temperature just for that room, rather than for the whole building. For that reason, they’re popular in dorms, multi-tenant buildings and in any setting where flexibility and control over an individual room’s temperature are priorities. Often, ductless air conditioner models will feature up to four individual indoor units (for four different rooms or indoor comfort zones) per single outdoor compressor/condenser.

Just Right for the Back House or the Tiny Office

These products are ideal for situations where it’s impossible to install or expand existing ductwork (or there’s no area for ductwork to go in the first place). Installing ductless mini split systems may be ideal for a granny flat or guesthouse, a bedroom over a garage, or simply a small office. With just outside equipment and an indoor air handling unit, only a small conduit with refrigerant tubing, a power cord and a condensate drain connects the two.

Maximum Flexibility, Improved Energy Efficiency

Installed correctly, the ductless air conditioner can also save quite a bit on energy costs. Typical air conditioning ducts tend to leak, with up to 30% of your utility consumption simply wasted on broken or poorly installed ductwork (remember, there are good reasons we recommend hiring only a licensed HVAC contractor for installation and maintenance of your air conditioner. This is one of them). Furthermore, when interior design and appearance are major considerations, the mini split-system air conditioner provides a great deal of leeway in terms of where it is installed in each room. Many models can be affixed to a ceiling or a wall, or even free standing, and all can be easily controlled by a remote.

Talk with a Professional Before Purchase

What’s not to like, you may be asking. Here’s the bad news. Systems can be expensive to purchase and install. Furthermore, it’s mission critical to make sure a pro handles putting the system in, evaluating where it will work best, and setting it up. While many ductless air conditioner purchasers try to cut costs by selecting a cheap installation crew or handyman to do so, invariably their later energy costs are much higher. Placed incorrectly, the interior air handling unit will frequently short cycle, wasting energy and cooling only sporadically, if at all.

Bottom line? What may not make sense in one situation may be the perfect solution in another. Talk to a professional before moving forward. Get all the information you need beforehand, to score the perfect touchdown for your home, institutional or commercial building.


Not sure if a mini split system is right for you? Call Air-Tro today to speak with one of our seasoned HVAC professionals. We’ve been keeping the San Gabriel Valley comfortable for almost 50 years. (626) 357-3535.