Are ductless air conditioners quiet or noisy?
To indoor occupants, ductless A/C systems are generally quieter than a portable or window air conditioner, because the noisiest part of the system (the compressor and fan) sits outside. However, to anyone sitting outside (like on a deck or balcony) near the outdoor ductless unit, the sound tends to be somewhat similar to a central air unit.
The outdoor component of a ductless air conditioner can be as quiet as about 58 – 60 decibels, depending on the model.
The indoor part of the ductless system may generate some noise—essentially a low hum or woosh—as it cools and circulates air in the room. But modern ductless systems can be almost silent, especially on low settings.
The indoor ductless units can be as quiet as about 20 decibels, again depending on the make and model.
For this reason, a ductless system generally can be about as quiet as a central A/C (at least while you’re inside), but a ductless system is certainly quieter than a window or portable unit.
Are ductless systems better than central air or portable/window units? Ductless vs central vs portable vs window A/Cs.
This depends on your situation, needs, and budget. They each have their pros and cons, with portable and window units being cheaper and moveable, but also less effective, less capable, and noisier.
Central A/C systems are great for entire homes with adequate ductwork. So ductless air conditioner systems fall somewhere in between and are suitable for specific applications and situations.
See our A/C Types Explained article for a more detailed comparison.
Are ductless air conditioners energy-efficient?
Ductless systems tend to be more energy-efficient than portable or window units as they feature more advanced compressor systems, and more sophisticated climate control systems, according to ENERGY STAR.
They may also offer some operating cost savings compared to a central air conditioning system, as they’re able to only cool specific rooms as needed, as opposed to the entire home at once.
A fan will be more energy-efficient but won’t actually cool the air.
Ductless heating systems, however, tend not to be as “efficient” as propane or natural gas furnaces, at least from an overall heating cost standpoint. This is due to electricity being more expensive than natural gas in most parts of Canada, although this obviously varies.
Places like Quebec may have cheaper electricity, but winters also tend to be colder, which makes ductless heating less ideal as they are not well suited to extreme cold temperatures.
Are ductless heat pumps worth it?
That depends on your personal needs and preferences of course, but they can be a worthwhile investment for homeowners looking for efficient and effective cooling.
If you want something better and quieter than a window or portable A/C but your home isn’t well-suited to central air (because you have radiant heating for example), then a ductless system may be a good option.
The initial investment required will be somewhat similar to a central A/C ($3,000 – $5,000 on average, including installation) but substantially more than a portable or window unit. That said, you may require multiple window or portable units to cool the same amount of space.
What’s the difference between a split A/C and a mini-split A/C?
‘Split air conditioner’ is another term for a central air conditioner. ‘Mini-split air conditioner’ is another term for a ductless air conditioner. The term split air conditioner comes from the fact that a central air conditioning system actually has two separate major components: the outdoor unit most people think of, AND the indoor evaporator coil which connects to the furnace.
A mini-split system or a ductless mini-split system is essentially a type of air conditioner which is usually made to cool somewhat smaller areas, rather than an entire home, and the outdoor unit itself is also usually a bit smaller. Hence the name mini-split.
Can I install a ductless A/C myself?
If you’re an electrician, then probably. Otherwise, it’s likely best to leave installation to the professionals. And the folks at your home insurance provider would probably agree!
What size ductless air conditioner do I need?
This depends primarily on the size of the space you need to cool. The outdoor component will vary in size, with the largest ones able to connect to up to 8 indoor units.
The cooling power of ductless A/Cs can vary from 5,000 BTUs to 50,000+ BTUs.
Because every situation and home or building is different, online size estimate charts are unlikely to be of much use. In order to determine the size you need, it’s best to have a free estimate done by an experienced local HVAC contractor, who will do a ‘load calculation’ (an assessment of your cooling needs, basically).
Where to install a ductless air conditioner?
The exact location of the units will obviously vary by home. In most cases, the outdoor unit will be placed on a rack on the side of the house or even on the roof. In condominium buildings or townhouses, the unit may be placed on a deck or balcony. The outdoor unit can only be so far from the indoor units, so this must be considered during installation.
The indoor units will be mounted on the wall near the ceiling in the rooms that will be cooled.
How far can the indoor ductless unit be from the outdoor unit?
The maximum distance is about 15 meters in most cases, though this may vary somewhat based on factors like the local climate, and whether it’s a cooling-only system or heating AND cooling.
Where to buy a ductless mini-split system or ductless air conditioner? Who installs ductless air conditioning?
Similar to buying a central air conditioner, you would purchase a ductless system from a professional local heating & cooling contractor, who would help you choose the right unit & size for your home, and handle the installation.
Get a free estimate from one of our Certified HVAC contractors!
Can I get a ductless A/C system without the outdoor or indoor unit?
You can purchase either the outdoor or indoor units individually, but you need both for them to work.
The indoor unit passes the warm indoor air over refrigerant-filled tubes to cool it and then blows it into the room. This process causes the refrigerant to expand, where it is then cycled through the refrigerant lines to the outdoor unit. The outdoor unit then disperses the heat from the refrigerant and compresses it, before sending it back to the indoor unit where the cycle continues. So both components are required for a functioning cooling system.
Can I buy a natural gas or propane ductless system?
Generally speaking, all ductless systems run on electricity, at least when it comes to everyday consumer applications for the home, or for small businesses.
Get a free quote on a new ductless mini-split system from our local partner contractors in cities across Canada: Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and most towns across Ontario, including Toronto & the GTA, Hamilton, London, Windsor, Ottawa, and almost everywhere in between!