6 tips to buy the right ductless air conditioner
Also called mini-split air conditioning systems, ductless air conditioners are great for homes and offices without ductwork. Ductless air conditioners are viable alternatives to conventional central air systems that need ducts for installation and operation. Most old houses do not have modern, flexible ductwork that has become standard these days. For such homes, ductless air conditioners are a good option to experience comfortable air conditioning without the high costs of installation.
Here are a few tips to consider while buying ductless air conditioners.
- Conduct a residential load calculation
A residential load calculation is also known as manual J calculation and considers all factors involved in the cooling and heating of your office, home, or any indoor space. Residential load calculation will include the insulation performance of the indoor space, the orientation of the area, window types, and so on. An HVAC professional will check all these to determine the load value. The required BTU per hour for each of the rooms in the house or office will also be calculated. Based on the BTU calculations, you will be able to shortlist the right ductless AC equipment for your space.
- Determine areas of cooling
Ensure to establish whether you want cooling in a single room or multiple rooms. Ductless air conditioning systems are available in broadly two categories when it comes to space—single-zone systems and multi-zone systems. Also, you need to measure the size of the space in square feet. This is because the BTU or British Thermal Unit, which is the standard measure of the cooling capacity of ACs, must match the size of the room. This is necessary for the ductless air unit to be effective. An air conditioner with a higher BTU will cool a larger room, single-zone units can cool a single room, and multi-zone ACs can cool about 2-6 rooms.
- Calculate the budget
Once the residential load calculation is done, and the cooling space has been measured, you can determine the overall budget. The total cost will include installation as well as equipment. You may want to consider some money-saving alternatives in order to stay within your budget. Installing the AC only in the rooms or zones where you want cooling can help you save substantially. For example, you can install the air conditioner only in the bedroom or the living room, or both, as per your requirements. This is why ductless AC is flexible compared to centralized cooling systems. Additionally, while determining the budget, consider the cost of installation, equipment, and labor.
- Check energy efficiency
Buying an energy-efficient cooling system means you will have better cooling and better savings on your electricity bill. Most systems today come with an energy rating or are energy certified. Seasonal Energy Efficient Rating or SEER is measured as the ratio of an air-conditioner’s cooling capacity in a specific season by the energy the AC uses in watt-hours. The energy consumption will be lower for ductless units with higher SEER ratings, which will help you save more on your electricity bills over time.
- Decide on the noise preferences
All ductless air conditioners have a noise output that is measured in decibels. In case, you or anyone who will be using the air-conditioner have a higher sensitivity to sound, a unit with low decibels should be chosen. A few brands and manufacturers have designed some of the quietest ductless air conditioners. These units usually produce noises of around 19-20 decibels. Nonetheless, most ductless ACs always make less noise than the typical window air conditioners.
- Determine installation type
Ductless air conditioners offer some aesthetically pleasing options. While most new-age ductless units have to be mounted on walls, there are other alternatives as well. Wall-mounted ones need to be installed on an exterior indoor wall to simplify wiring. In case you do not want your AC unit to be protruding from your wall, you can opt for floor or ceiling ductless air conditioners as well.