For cooling alone, or heating and cooling under the right conditions, ductless is the way to go.
By now, mini-splits have been around long enough that most people just call them ductless systems. That name gets at the core of what makes these systems special. Without ducts, you save on heat loss because you lose more than 30 percent of heating and cooling energy when air travels through ducts. You also have fewer components to clean or repair. Because ductless systems are based on heat pump technology, they are very cheap to run, but suffer similar limitations. Depending on your needs, a ductless system is absolutely the best option.
What is a Ductless Mini-Split System?
You’ve seen something like a ductless mini-split heating and cooling system before. The last time you were in a hotel room, you saw a wall-mounted unit. But mini-split systems are much smaller and less bulky than what you’re picturing in your mind. And instead of manual or electronic buttons, today’s units are operated by remote control, allowing you to mount them on the ceiling or high on the wall — out of the way of foot traffic.
A ductless system is best as an upgrade in an already ductless home. In homes with existing ductwork, a central heat pump system is the better option for several reasons. First, it’s one unit to install, rather than several. The best a ductless system can manage is four zones per compressor unit, depending on the size of the rooms.
For many homes, that would mean more than one ductless system to heat and cool a single home. A system consisting of four zone units can cost twice as much as a single air handler to replace an existing system. If you already have ducts, it just makes more sense to go with a central heat pump.
When a Ductless Mini-Split System Makes the Most Sense
If you’re starting with baseboards, though, the story changes. Duct work can cost as much as a single four-zone mini-split, making it cost the same as installing a central unit. Plus, duct installation is a whole lot messier than a mini-split installation, which only requires a three-inch hole for pipes to cycle refrigerant to the outside unit. So for a smaller home, or one with an open floor plan, a mini-split makes the most sense. There is less labor and mess to deal with, and you get four heating zones.
Whether you go with mini-split ductless or a central system, the nature of heat pumps means that when it gets colder than 30 degrees outside, you’ll need to have a supplemental heat source available. In Seattle, that’s less than 30 days per year, making supplemental electrical heaters a smart option.
MM Comfort can recommend the best ductless heat pump system for your home.
Call MM Comfort systems at or use our online contact form for a free quote on upgrading to a ductless mini-split system. Modern systems are quiet, unobtrusive and great for saving money on heating and cooling.