A mini-split system typically supplies chilled air to a single or a few rooms of a building and is ideal for “spot cooling” in homes or businesses, where ductwork is too challenging to install or is simply not available.
Advantages of this ductless system include its smaller size, its flexibility for heating and cooling individual rooms and the reduced requirement for interior wall space.
Additionally, the heat exchanger and the compressor can be situated farther away from the interior space, rather than merely on the other side of the same unit as in a PTAC or window air conditioner.
The exterior, flexible, exterior hoses that lead from the outside unit to the interior ones can be encased by metal to appear like a drainpipes from the roof.
Lastly, a ductless system does offer a higher efficiency SEER rating (see what this means), averaging over 30.
The primary disadvantage of a ductless air conditioner is the cost.
These systems cost about $2,000 to $2,500 per ton (12,000 BTU per hour) of cooling capacity.
Excluding ductwork, this is around 30% more than central systems and can cost up to twice as much as a window unit.
A further, possible disadvantage that could impact the cost is that ductless systems may not be eligible for energy efficiency rebates offered by many electric utility companies. We suggest that you check with your local energy provided to clarify if this will have any impact on your selection.