One of the most common alternatives to ducted forced-air heating and cooling systems in modern homes is the ductless mini split system. Rather than operating through a network of air ducts connected to an indoor air handler and evaporator unit, ductless systems basically break up the indoor unit and blower fans—air handlers—and distribute conditioned air into the individual rooms of your home, independently of one another.
If you’ve ever been in a friend’s home and seen something up on the wall that sort of resembles a window AC, but doesn’t go back through the wall, what you’re looking at is part of a ductless system. Those wall hanging units are hooked up to a single outdoor cabinet, creating a central heat pump system, but without ducts.
The Ductless Difference
Going ductless is an excellent choice for many homes, especially those that have multiple rooms and/or are two-story buildings. There are not many downsides to having a ductless air conditioner and heating system—so long as it is properly installed. If you forgo professional installation, you could find yourself facing some unique problems with your ductless system.
We call these problems unique because they are not issues you’d face with a traditional central air conditioner or furnace—and we’re telling you this to demonstrate just how important a professional installation is. Here are some problems you can encounter with an improperly installed ductless system:
Water Leaks Behind the Air Handlers
Each wall-mounted air handler has a series of connections running through a hole behind it—a power line, a refrigerant line, and a condensate line. This last one removes water moisture from the cooling process so it does not enter your home. These lines can leak, and if this occurs, water starts to develop between the back of the air handler and the wall.
What eventually happens is the weakening of the wall material causes the air handler to rip away and fall off. This damages the wall, of course, but almost certainly breaks the air handler, too. If you already have a ductless system in place, and have notices any signs of water damage behind or around an air handler, be sure to call in the pros for repair.
Broken Air Handler
This is sort of a benefit of having a ductless system, in a way. We say that because if one single air handler breaks, due to something like a failed motor or some other problem, the rest of the air handlers throughout the house will still continue to run.
The only part of your home that loses cooling or heating is the one with the broken air handler. If one of your units stops working, you can certainly call our team for repairs. But we’d like to make this less likely to happen by installing it correctly to begin with, and following up that expert installation up with professional maintenance. Maintenance, by the way, no matter what type of HVAC system you have, is the only way you can ensure that your cooling or heating system lasts as long as possible and operates as well as it should for the years to come.