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The Unique Needs Of Ductless HVAC Systems

If you are looking for a more innovative way to heat and cool a spare room or maybe a garage or basement, you have plenty of options. Maybe you are experiencing hot spots in a sunroom. Whatever the situation, a ductless unit is without a doubt one of your best options. The best part about these units is, you can install them without the need for all that messy ductwork. This not only cuts the installation time in half, but it’ll cut your costs in half as the homeowner as well. That being said, a ductless installation is anything but straightforward. Here’s what you need to know about undergoing a mini-split installation.

More All-Round Complex

Mini-splits are anything like traditional HVAC systems, which means their installations are completely different as well. To start, you’ll have to drill walls through the exterior wall and run new wires, drain pipes, and copper lines. With most HVAC systems, you are simply just replacing what is already there. That will not be the case with a new mini-split installation. Everything will be completely new. You won’t just be connecting back the various components. You’ll have to run new wires, new drain piping, and new copper pipes. On top of this, you’ll have to make sure this wire, pipe, and drain are sized properly. Not doing so could result in major problems down the line. Not only do you have to drill holes through the exterior wall, but you have to mount the air handler section on the interior wall. Depending on the system and your configuration, you’ll likely be limited on space. You might even require the assistance of special bracketing. If you want the best results possible while putting in the least amount of work, you’ll seek the assistance of a highly trained mini-split technician. There are tons in San Diego that are more than familiar with these units. The problem is, finding one that holds themselves and their employees to higher standards. All in all, expect your mini-split installation to take a little longer than average and there might even be some unexpected barriers, but your tech of choosing should know how to adapt and overcome every situation.

The Breakdown Of The Air Handler

The biggest difference between a mini-split or ductless unit and a traditional system is the number of air handlers. You can connect three or four mini-split air handlers to one condensing unit. This is something that isn’t possible with traditional systems. This also increases the chances of problems. More moving parts always mean more potential problems. The good news is, these units are usually easily accessible, making them a bit easier to work on. Being that they are usually installed in easy-to-access places, your friendly San Diego tech shouldn’t have a problem getting right in there and tracking down the problems. The other upside is, you don’t have to suffer without heating and air. You can just simply visit another room with a working air handler. This is, of course, if the condensing unit is working as should.

Refrigerant Lines Leaking

There is always the potential for refrigerant leaks in any unit. Whether it be a package unit, a split, or a mini-split, there is always the potential for a refrigerant leak, especially in the refrigerant lines. Unfortunately, a ductless unit will be at a much higher risk. This has to do with the fact that there are more air handlers. More air handlers mean more lines, which means the greater the chance of leaks. When a refrigerant line leak goes untreated it can lead to serious problems. It might even potentially lead to a compressor or motor burnout, given that refrigerant contains traces of oil to keep these items lubricated. This is why it is always imperative to keep an eye out for leaks and fix them as soon as they arise. Some key signs that you might be dealing with a leak are:
  • Strange hissing noises from the location of the leak
  • Frozen coils or lines
  • Higher than normal electric bills
  • Systems that run longer than normal
  • Warm air blows out through the vents while in the cooling cycle
  • Your HVAC system stops running altogether (Most systems come equipped with low-pressure valves. Once the pressure gets so low, the switch will prevent the system from running. This is to limit and minimize the chances of doing damage to motors and compressors)

Home Decor Limitations

As you just learned or will likely come to understand, your air handler has to be mounted on an exterior wall. This is not always the case with a ductless system, but more often than not, your air handler unit will be mounted on the interior wall. This really isn’t a huge problem, but it can limit you in specific situations. These units are sleek, small, and compact, but they still take up a bit of room. This in conjunction with the fact that they have to be installed in specific locations because of the beams. Another thing to keep in mind is that these systems cannot be blocked once installed. They will need to breathe and be completely free of obstructions, otherwise, they will not function properly. This may require the relocation of a sofa or some other type of wall décor. That being said, these systems are usually designed in a manner that they don’t cause too many problems.

Leaking Water In The Walls

As with the potential for refrigerant leaks, there is always the potential for water leaks. With ductless systems, things can get even more complicated. This is because the drain piping usually runs through the interior and exterior walls to the outside. If there is a leak, said leak might be between the walls where it will go unseen for years and years. Leaks won’t cause your bills to rise either so there is no way to detect them in this manner. This usually isn’t the case with traditional systems because the drain lines are either completely outside or run along with the ceiling joists. They might also be locations that are visible. Whatever the situation, this makes monitoring and detecting leaks all that much easier. A leaking drain in the wall can do major damage to your foundation, especially if it is a leak that goes on for years and years unnoticed. Always be vigilant about monitoring your drainage system, especially with mini-split units.

More Complicated Controls Are Required

Ductless units have been around for a while and they’ve no doubt grown more innovative over the years. Some of them can be operated with remote controls. Some of them have unique levers that oscillate back and forth. A lot of these units will come with built-in thermostats as well that can be adjusted on the unit. Simply put, when it comes to controlling the unit, there are a variety of options at your fingertips. However, if you want to go as far as to install programmable thermostats, things will get a bit more complicated. It is possible to change the way your ductless units are controlled, but it might take a bit more expertise. You might even need the assistance of a trained San Diego HVAC tech. There are some brands of ductless units that might even require additional Wi-Fi adapters or sensors in every room where a unit is installed. Going through the trouble to hook up a programmable thermostat might seem like quite the hassle, but it will be worth it in the long run. As your friendly, local San Diego HVAC tech can tell you, this is something that will help you save a bit on money on your monthly energy bills. You’ll also save some wear and tear on your unit. Whether you are considering a mini-split unit or just have questions, you always have the option of reaching out to a trained professional. These units and configurations have been around for quite a while now. There are tons of certified techs that can answer your every question. It will be up to you to find them. Why Hire Us! We offer the best ductless heating and air conditioning services in San Diego. Our technicians are certified by the North American Technician Excellence “NATE” organization in the United States. Our prices are fair and competitive with San Diego’s top HVAC contractors and companies. We offer appointment-only, same-day, and emergency HVAC services.

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