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How Ductless Air Conditioning Works

Find Out from the St. Paul Air Conditioning Experts at HomeWorks!

Ductless air conditioning systems are quickly becoming a popular way of getting the cooling relief you need in a particular room in your home. Whether it’s a new addition that you want to make comfortable, or you want to turn your garage into a useable space for summer months, these small, inexpensive units are an effective and inexpensive solution.

How does this technology work? Well, the truth is it works on the exact same principles as your central air conditioning, just in a much smaller and more space-friendly package. Your system still has its four most important parts—your indoor (evaporator) and outdoor (condenser) coils, an expansion chamber, and a compressor. These four parts are connected by lines, or small pipes, which carry a fluid known as refrigerant. Refrigerant is what absorbs heat from inside (which makes the air the unit produces feel cold), and then transports it outside where it is released into the atmosphere.

The Refrigeration Cycle

There is still an “indoor” and an “outdoor” unit on a ductless system—if your system is all contained in one box, then part of the box will sit outside your walls when properly installed and the other part will be inside, which allows the heat transfer to happen.

The process begins when a return vent on the indoor unit pulls air in, through an air filter, and then passes it over a coil full of cold refrigerant, which absorbs the heat from the air. That refrigerant is then passed to your outdoor unit, where it goes through a compressor. The compression process turns the refrigerant into a super-hot gas, which is then cooled by an outdoor fan as it runs through your condenser coil. This releases the heat from the refrigerant atmosphere. Once it has cooled in your compressor coil, the refrigerant then passes through an expansion chamber, which allows it to de-compress, a process which causes the refrigerant to become extraordinarily cold. This refrigerant is then passed through your evaporator coil, where air is blown over it and it absorbs more heat. The air that loses the heat, becomes cold, and cools the room you’re in.

In a ductless system, the only difference is that the air that’s produced is sent straight into your home through a vent located on the indoor unit, whereas a central cooling system forces air through a duct network, which is how it gets around your home.

Installing a Ductless System

There’s usually a question that comes up when people learn how these systems work: does that mean you have to cut a hole in your wall? The answer is yes, you will in order for refrigerant to get outside. However, depending on your choice of system, the hole can be quite small. In fact, most modern units only require a hole about the size of a tennis ball in order to feed the refrigerant and electrical lines through. The hole is easily sealed with plastic protectors, and you’ll almost immediately forget it was ever there.

To learn more about ductless systems and find out if one is right for you, call HomeWorks at (651) 401-8068 now!