According to ENERGY STAR, certified ductless heating and cooling systems are highly efficient products that deliver warm or cool air directly into different zones in your home, instead of routing it through ducts first. You may also hear them called mini-split, multi-split, or variable refrigerant flow (VRF) heat pump systems. They are an increasingly popular, cost-effective solution to replace inefficient baseboard electric heating and window air conditioners in older homes. They are also used in new construction, home additions, multi-family (condo or apartment) housing, and to improve comfort in poorly heated or cooled rooms.
Heating and cooling costs the average homeowner about $875 a year – nearly half the home’s total energy bill. Replacing your system with an ENERGY STAR certified model could cut your heating and cooling costs by 30%.
In traditional heating and cooling systems, you generally have one thermostat that controls the temperature of your entire home. With ductless heating and cooling systems, you can have control over the temperature of each zone.
No ducts are required. The indoor components (pictured right) are mounted directly on the wall. A variety of attractive options are available from ENERGY STAR partners. In houses with traditional forced-air heating and cooling systems, ducts are used to distribute conditioned air throughout the house. In a typical house, however, about 20 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. With ductless heating and cooling, duct losses are eliminated – improving comfort, and saving you money.
Ductless heating and cooling systems are often a convenient, single solution for homes that formerly relied on electric baseboard heaters in the winter and window air conditioning units in the summer. However, in cold climates, consumers are advised to retain a supplemental heating system in case back up heat is needed on very cold winter days. ENERGY STAR certified AC-only systems are also available.
Ductless heating and cooling systems have been around for over 30 years and are used widely throughout the world.
A list of ENERGY STAR certified models is available through an online database maintained by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) and the Air–Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). TIP: click on “Find Variable Speed Mini Split and Multi Split” heat pumps or air conditioners. It is important to know that this directory search engine does not require data to be entered into all of the fields.