For many years, the only available option when investing in an AC system that could cool the whole house was to purchase AC units that were installed in the windows of every room.
The recent increase in ductless, split-system AC units that are capable of cooling down many rooms from just one compressor, however, has given people another option..
Ductless split-systems are basically hybrids between window AC units and central air conditioning. A split-system AC that is ductless usually has an outside compressor/condenser and an indoor air handler that has be installed in the wall.
Sales for these systems are expected to rise in the U.S. over the next several years according to two of the industry experts that we spoke with. This sales forecast is directly reflective of a growing interest in multi-room cooling that allows for temperature adjustments in every room from a central unit.
(A network of AC units for individual rooms will generally require these adjustments to be made at the individual units). As many as 8 rooms can be cooled by ductless, split AC designs and this means that most four-bedroom properties can be covered by a single compressor.
The energy efficiency of these designs is another major advantage that they supply. Irrespective of their cost, these units have inverter technology and a minimum SEER of 13, much like all central ACs. For split systems, the SEER can be as high as 28, in comparison to 25 for central cooling designs. These ultra-efficient ductless models that have a 23 SEER or above, however, are premium units that cost $1,400 or more.
Ductless split ACs can be found for just $300 that are capable of cooling single rooms and have 24 hour timers and LCD screens. (Room ACs typically cost under $300.) Multi-room designs, however, can be priced as high as $7k and these can cool down eight rooms, but this is higher than the cost of a premium, central system.
There are some truly superior designs that are being produced by Friedrich and these systems are very quiet when operating. Given that the compressors for split systems are placed outside of the home and with a soundproof wall as opposed to a glass pane blocking out noise, it won’t be possible to hear the compressor turn or off, which isn’t the case with room models. Ductless, split designs can register as low as 21 decibels inside of the home, which is like a whisper.