People love summer. Some people consider it the best season of the year. In Toronto, everyone enjoys the sun and the warmth that comes with it. However, no one wants to experience the heat of the sun inside their homes. Your home is your personal space, so being comfortable and relaxed is essential.
Irrespective of your favourite time of the year, you should be in control of the temperature in your home all year round. Different types of AC have both heating and cooling effects. In Toronto, Ontario, most residents need targeted temperature and high energy efficiency, ductless air conditioners provide you with these solutions.
What is a Ductless Air Conditioner?
As the name implies, this is a no duct, central air device. Ductless air conditioners can also be referred to as mini-split air conditioners. It comprises an external unit and an internal unit, with both connected by a refrigerant tube. The inner unit is mostly mounted on walls, ceilings or the floor which serves as an avenue for heating or cooling your home.
The outer unit is usually installed 50 yards away from the building. It contains the compressor and condenser. The air passes through a tube into the inner unit, which is the air outlet.
Ductless air conditioners come in a wide range of sizes. You determine the size that suits the size of your Toronto home by the square footage of your room. The ductless systems have both heating and cooling capacities (BTUs). With the BTU numbers, you can determine the units that fit into each room.
How does it work?
A ductless air conditioner, like the central AC, has two major components;
An outdoor unit
This consists majorly of the condenser and compressor and fan. Thermal heat processes begin in this unit by the conversion of low-pressure to higher pressure. The condenser converts low-pressure gas into a liquid by reducing the temperature of the gas. The fan then draws hot air from the room through the condenser and releases it outside the building.
An indoor unit
This consists of a fan and evaporator coil. Unlike the conventional central AC, this is a simple air distribution channel that supplies conditioned air into your home. This unit can be mounted on your wall, ceiling or even the floor and be strategically placed for heating or cooling your home.
There is a conduit that connects the two units. This contains the refrigerant and electrical cables. The ductless air conditioning system is energy efficient, easy to maintain and offers excellent comfort.
Where can I install a ductless air conditioner?
There are four main options on where you can mount the indoor unit for your ductless air conditioner. They include:
This type of installation is the easiest and cheapest. Wall mounted indoor ductless units are the most popular type of AC configurations. The speed of airflow is controlled by vanes which you find at the base of the indoor unit. They send air only in two directions. If you need cool air in two opposite directions in your Toronto home, they are great for you.
This is the best choice of installation for a large open space. It is also referred to as a cassette configuration. Ten inches of space is required between the ceiling and the indoor unit. Unlike the wall mounted installation, airflow is regulated in all directions simultaneously.
This configuration is also easy to install and requires less maintenance cost. The units are mounted on floors, and cold air is directed upward towards the ceiling.
This type of installation adopts the technology of both the ductless and central AC system. The unit is installed above the ceiling and then connected to ducts in the room to circulate cool air. It is a good choice if you don’t want to affect the aesthetics of your home. It is a less obstructive type of installation. However, it is the most difficult to maintain.
Types of Ductless Air Conditioners
There are two types of ductless air conditioners. These include the mini-split and the multi-split air conditioner. A ductless air conditioning system has single or multiple air handlers that can provide heating or cooling to different zones in your home.
This means you can activate one or more units at the same time. This feature gives you the ability to set different rooms in your home to different temperatures all at once. You can choose which area to heat or cool with the ductless HVAC.
Mini-Split Ductless Air Conditioner
This consists of one outdoor unit and one indoor unit for one room in your home. In other words, there is only one compressor and one heating or cooling outlet. This is very convenient for cooling a single room with a limited load requirement.
If you have sufficient space outside your home, installing the system in this configuration can provide heating or cool for your entire home. This type of installation is called the single zone configuration. This configuration type can be used to cool your entire building.
Multi-split Ductless Air Conditioner
In a multiple split system, a single condenser is connected to numerous air outlets in a building. One of the outlets is connected with a thermostat, and this is used to control all other outlets simultaneously. This type of configuration reduces cost but should only be considered when each room has the same cooling load.
For effectiveness in a multi-split system, a single condenser must be connected to different compressor circuits. For instance, you can have five family members that want different temperatures in their room. To do this, one outdoor unit must be equipped with five different compressor circuits and then piped into each outlet. This way, each occupant can set the temperatures in their room as they please.
There are different brands of multiple split air conditioners. Some air conditioners have a multiple split operation that can be connected to at most eight different rooms.
Cost of Ductless Air Conditioners in Ontario
One of the significant benefits of a ductless air conditioning system is that it is cost effective when compared to other types, especially the central AC system. It is a great option for Toronto residents looking to save money.
Though this AC can be the best option to consider when trying to save some money, several factors can affect the price.
There are three major categories of a brand in the market that offers different quality of ductless air Conditioners. In Toronto, these brands can be classified into are:
- Budget Brands: They have the lowest cost ranging from CAD 1000- CAD 4000. Examples of these brands are Payne, Pioneer, Airflow, Goodman, Airtime and Ameristar. They offer up to 12 to 16 years of durability.
- Standard Brands: They offer a moderate cost of CAD 1600 to CAD 5090, they have up to18 years of durability. Examples of such brands are Heil, Arcoaire, L.G, ComfortMaker, KeepRite, Pioneer and Tempstar. Others are Armstrong and Ducane, Luxaire, York, and Coleman.
- Premium Brands are brands like Mitsubishi, Lennox, Westing House, Nordyne, and Trane. They have up to 25 years durability with the highest cost range, CAD 6000 – CAD 8000.
Some brands make similar ACs with just a change of name. Examples of such brands are Heil and Tempstar. However, some companies produce brands that fit into all three categories. UTC (United Technology Corporation) own products that seem to fit into all three segments
Size and Installation
Each brand produces ACs that come in different sizes. These sizes come with varying BTUs, otherwise called tons. Some have stats as low as 6000 while others are as high as 18000 BTU. The size of your AC is a huge factor that determines the cost of your ductless air conditioner.
In Toronto, these values are usually a measurement of the heating or cooling power of the ductless AC depending on the size of your home. The largest value for a residential building is 60,000 BTU.
The larger the size of the AC, the higher the price. The system price is different from the installed amount. The fixed rate is a total of the system price and cost of installation.
Toronto homes come in different sizes. Before the installation of your ductless air conditioner, ensure your Toronto HVAC contractor applies the “Manual j” calculation to determine the size of your system.
Irrespective of the brand you choose, each AC comes with a SEER rating, i.e. Seasonal Efficiency Energy Ratio. This is used to measure the effectiveness of your air conditioning system. It can also be used to determine the cooling or heating capacity ( BTU) of the system based on the amount of electricity consumed.
The lowest SEER for ACs is 14 while the highest value is 20. The higher the rating your AC has, the more potential energy efficient it has. Your system will run more efficiently but it comes with a higher upfront cost. The higher the SEER of your ductless AC, the higher the price. It all depends on the level of efficient cooling you need for your home in Ontario.
A ductless air conditioner comes in three categories of performance. For our Toronto residents, these categories include basic performance, better performance, and best performance. The difference is in their SEER rate and their BTUs. Basic performance ductless ACs have a SEER ratio of 14-19. Though they are liable to produce temperature fluctuations from time to time, they are more affordable with price ranges of $800-$1200.
Better performance systems are more effective at removing humidity from your homes. They come with a SEER rating between 16-19 and run with low cooling capacities. They are more effective at cooling your home evenly, and all brands produce them.
Best performance ductless air conditioners are the most efficient at producing balanced temperatures in your home. They are best at trapping and disposing of humidity from your home. They are made by both standard and premium brands.
BTU Rating of Ductless Air Conditioner
You can install ductless air conditioners in other buildings with sizes lower than 2000 Square feet. Toronto buildings that are perfect for ductless air conditioning include condos, server rooms, garages, attics, meeting rooms, and recording studios. If your intended space is a larger size, central AC systems should be considered.
Sometimes, regardless of space, people install a ductless air conditioning system. You can do this as well. All that is required of you is to know the square footage of each room that you want to cool or heat. Each room will require a specific indoor unit with a set number of BTUs. You can calculate the square footage of each room by measuring the length and width of each one and multiplying it together.
BTU (British Thermal Unit) is a metric used to measure the power – heating or cooling capacity – of an air conditioner. The larger your indoor space, the higher the BTU needed to get the maximum cooling effect. Knowing the area in meter square of every room enables you to get the proper air conditioner with the best cooling capacity for your rooms. Usually, specific room sizes are provided in the specs of an AC.
To size both your mini-split and multi-split ductless air conditioning system, you need to know the square footage of each indoor space and compare it to the table below.
150 sq. ft. – 5,000 BTUs
250 sq. ft. – 6,000 BTUs
300 sq. ft. – 7,000 BTUs
350 sq. ft. – 8,000 BTUs
400 sq. ft. – 9,000 BTUs
450 sq. ft. – 10,000 BTUs
500 sq. ft. – 11,000 BTUs
550 sq. ft. – 12,000 BTUs
625 sq. ft. – 13,000 BTUs
700 sq. ft. – 14,000 BTUs
1,000 sq. ft. – 18,000 BTUs
1,200 sq. ft. – 20,000 BTUs
1,400 sq. ft. – 23,000 BTUs
1500-2000 sq.ft. – 24,000 BTUs
Take into consideration that both environmental factors and the climatic conditions of Toronto can affect the efficiency of your ductless air conditioner. Such factors include high outdoor temperature, increased humidity, ceiling/wall height. If any of these factors affect you, it is recommended that you go for ductless AC with higher BTU rate or speak with an HVAC expert.
How do I know what size to buy?
As already discussed above, ductless air-conditioner comes in a variety of sizes. It is best you purchase the size that suits your home.
Although ductless air conditioners come with specs on the space they can cool, it is advisable to contact an HVAC contractor on what capacity is right for your home. They can carry out a load assessment on your home to determine the degree of heating or cooling required to keep your home at your preferred temperature.
Features to Look out for in a Ductless Air Conditioner
Heating and Dehumidifier functions
Most mini-split ductless air conditioners come with additional features. They have heating and dehumidifying functions. Depending on the climatic conditions of your location, it is best to consider a unit that will heat your home during the cold seasons. Majority of ductless air conditioning systems currently in the market have both heating and cooling features.
These systems come with filters that can be easily removed, cleaned and reused.
These conditioners come with remote controls. This is for ease of convenience. It also makes the system easy to operate. You can set your desired temperature with the push of a button.
A programmable timer makes it easier to control your energy usage. You can save a lot of money by setting your AC to keep specific temperatures at specific times of the day
Ductless Heat Pump and How it works
The heating operation of any ductless heat pump is similar to its air conditioning. The only difference is that the reversing valve directs the refrigerant to flow in a different direction. Instead of converting hot air to cool air by deducting the pressure, it takes hot air from the environment, passes it through the distribution channel and then releases it through the indoor unit. The inclusion of a reversing valve allows the system to provide heating or cooling from one ductless air conditioner.
When installing the heat pump, it is crucial to understand that its heating efficiency depends entirely on the outdoor temperature. The heat pump operates at its peak in a climate that rarely reaches freezing point. Once the temperature drops below 30 degrees, the efficiency of the heat pump reduces. To avoid this, it is advisable to purchase an electric heat strip. This will provide supplemental heat when the temperatures on the outside are quite low.
Popular Ductless Air Conditioner Brands
You’ll come across familiar names when looking to purchase a ductless air conditioner. While other brands may be new to you, here are some brands that have maintained their reputation in the production of ductless air conditioners over time. This applies to both mini and multiple zone units.
This brand has earned solid reviews from their happy customers. They say their mini split air conditioner is easy to run, very quiet and cools their homes effectively.
Reviewers of L.G are satisfied with their purchases. Several mention how attractive they are and how they fit perfectly into their decor.
They make a wide range of mini-split and multi-split ductless air conditioner. Customers emphasize that the unit offers excellent value for their prices and keeps them warm in winter.
Their reviews are predominantly positive. Though some customers complained about the difficulty in overall installation, the unit works well and comes with a warranty.
This brand has received the most positive reviews. Customers say their mini-split cools the exact amount of space advertised and they cool their homes efficiently during high heat.
You should know that mentioning the brands above does not equal recommendations. It is still important that you consult with your HVAC expert before purchasing a ductless system.
Ductless air conditioning saves you the trouble of installing ducts in your home. It also saves you energy cost and does not make noise when in operation. The right model will allow you to cool your home evenly and control the temperatures in each room. The prices vary so you should get yourself a ductless air conditioner that won’t break your bank. The cost of ductless air conditioning in Toronto ranges from 1500 CAD to as high as 8000CAD. Our experts can help you make the right decision. Call us today!