In this podcast, Matt Torre explains wall-mounted ductless ACs. He talks about how they work, and he outlines the differences between this option and old school wall/window ACs.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher, and I’m here today with Matt Torre of Jones Services, a service company in Goshen, New York with the focus on ductless heating and cooling systems. Today we’re talking about wall-mounted air conditioners. Welcome, Matt.
Matt Torre: Hey, John. Thanks for having me.
What Is a Ductless Wall-Mounted AC?
John: Sure. So Matt, what is a ductless wall-mounted air conditioner?
Matt: Well, a ductless wall-mounted air conditioner is kind of exactly what it’s described as. So when you think of the word ductless, it means a unit that can operate with the absence of ductwork, so there’s no need to have ductwork already in the home. Wall-mounted means that it can be mounted on just about any flat surface or flat wall within the home. Then air conditioner means that it conditions the air, so it has the ability to both cool the air and in some cases heat the air as well.
Ductless AC Vs. Old School Wall/Window AC
John: Okay, and so how do ductless systems differ from those old school through the wall or in the window air conditioners that a lot of people used to use?
Matt: That’s a great question. So, there’s a number of differences between the two systems. The older more common through the wall system, it was a great feature for its time period, but the new wall-mounted air conditioners or ductless air conditioners offer a significant amount of benefits.
So when you think about the differences between the two, the newer systems, the ductless systems, they’re significantly more efficient in terms of the electrical cost to operate and use them, they’re also significantly quieter. So a lot of my customers that I talk to, they talk about and complain about how they have to crank the TV up a couple extra notches when they go ahead and kick on the traditional window AC , or maybe they’re having to yell across the table in the dining room if they have one there when the system comes on.
One of the most immediate benefits that a lot of my customers see when we’re replacing those through the wall units with the new wall-mounted units is the quietness that they hear. Another benefit is if you can remember those old through the wall units, they can be drafty in the winter, because they’re actually a hole through your wall to lead to the exterior. So, you’ll see a lot of times people will have these heavy insulated covers or socks or boots that they kind of hang up over them. A lot of people found that to be kind of unsightly, and again, created that opportunity for some heat loss when you’re not using them all winter long.
Another thing to think about is when you go to remove one of those, if it fails and breaks and is no longer operating, if you want to take it out, you’re going to have a huge gaping hole in your wall that you’re going to have to have somebody come in and put new studs in and re-insulate, put sheetrock up. So, there’s a lot of additional cost and inconvenience when it comes to switching that out or maybe replacing it or moving it.
Then the one other thing that a lot of my customers talk about is on the exterior of the home, those old units, they kind of just drip to drain. So they create puddles in your walkways or on your back decks where the outside of the unit is hanging out and pushing out that moisture and that condensation, where the new units have a unique draining system, so we’re able to take that moisture and humidity and direct it to somewhere that’s going to be more convenient and not leave those puddles on your patio.
How Do Ductless ACs Work?
John: Yeah, and a lot of those benefits that you gain from ductless are because of the way that the ductless system is set up, right? Talk a little bit about how you have the indoor unit and then the outdoor unit that you mentioned, and the only hole that’s going through the house is just a small pipe, right?
Matt: Yeah, so there are two components or more to every system depending on how many indoor units you connect to your outdoor unit, and that varies by the size of the house that you have, the amount of rooms that you’re trying to condition, and probably some other underlying features. But you’re basically going to have an outdoor unit that is going to be the engine of the system, so to speak. It’s going to be where the power is, it’s going to have a fan on the outside.
One other thing to mention, just like we were talking about with the indoor units, those outdoor units are also much, much quieter than a lot of the previous products that we had, so they’re not as intrusive in terms of noise and finding it difficult to hear each other or having a lot of racket in the yard. But you’ll have that single outdoor unit, and it can be connected to, depending on the need, anywhere between one single indoor unit and up to eight indoor units all powered off of that one outdoor piece.
So the only real intrusion to the home is kind of like you said, there’s a refrigerant line called a line set, and what that does is it transfers the heat and the energy from the indoor unit to the outdoor unit and vice versa. It’s about the size of a quarter to a half dollar round, and so it’s one small hole that we have to drill through the exterior of the home to the interior to connect them.
John: Right. Like you said, they’re so quiet on the inside of the house, but you said it’s not even just that they’re quiet on the inside, because you’re taking that compressor and you’re putting it into an outdoor unit, so it’s no longer in the wall. That’s one reason why it’s quieter, but the outdoor units are actually themselves a lot quieter than those old window units as well.
Matt: Oh, yeah, and much quieter than even your standard traditional air conditioning condenser outside.
John: Oh yeah, like one of the big ones that you would have for a central air system?
Matt: Yes. Yep, exactly.
Designs for Wall-Mounted ACs
John: Right, okay. What type of form factors are available for wall-mounted air conditioners, especially on those indoor units?
Matt: When you say form factor, are you kind of talking about the different designs or models that you can use on the indoor?
Matt: Yeah, so there’s a number of different applications that you can use, some and most common are the ones that mount on the walls. So we have what’s called a high wall mount unit, and that’s going to be usually set about three or four inches off of your ceiling, and it’s going to breathe air in through the top and push air out through the bottom and front. Those are probably the most common ones you’ll see.
Sometimes people have slanted roofs or slanted walls within their home, or a lot of windows in a room and it may not have the clearance to put something up high, so they also make a floor mounted unit. That unit is going to mount, again, a couple inches off the ground, and will look maybe more similar to an old radiator of the past, but a lot more sleek and technologically advanced in that sense.
Matt: But you really have an application for putting something up high or putting something down low. Outside of wall mounts, there also are a lot of different ceiling mounted systems that actually can fit right up in the ceiling above you, and can direct the air in multiple directions so you’re not even taking up any wall space.
Matt: Again, that function is available without the need of ductwork in some instances.
How Efficient Are Wall-Mounted Ductless ACs?
John: Right. How efficient are ductless wall-mounted air conditioners?
Matt: They’re the most efficient product on the market right now in terms of lowest utility costs to operate, mainly because of their inverter compressor. So where most air conditioners now are pulling a lot of energy just from the electricity itself and they’re running at maybe one or two different speeds, so you have a high, a medium or a low, with inverter technology, it’s kind of more like having 65 different settings within the system, so it can really fine-tune the electrical usage to match the need of the home.
So when it’s 70 degrees indoors and that’s the temperature that you want to keep it at, it’s able to run at a much lower speed just maintaining that 70, rather than kicking on very heavily, working for a little while, cooling off the room, then turning back off and letting the room heat back up, and turning back on and back off numerous times. So yeah, there really isn’t a more efficient way to cool your home than with a ductless unit.
How to Learn More About Ductless ACs
John: Okay. So, how can people learn a little bit more about wall-mounted air conditioners and get them installed if they’re interested in it?
Matt: Oh, that’s real easy. Just give us a call at Jones or go to our website and request a free consultation with a comfort specialist. I’ve got a number of great comfort specialists available seven days a week to come out and sit down with you and review your needs and assess what system’s going to be the best for your particular home.
John: All right, well, that’s really great information, Matt. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Matt: Hey, no problem, John. Thanks for having me.
John: For more information, you can visit the website at jonesservices.com, or call (845) 294-1010.