Also known as min splits or ductless heat pumps, ductless HVAC systems have gained significant traction in the heating and cooling industry in recent years. Their upfront cost is similar to many other HVAC solutions. However, like any HVAC system, there are costs associated with operating and maintaining a ductless HVAC system.
These costs vary depending on the size and capacity of your HVAC system, as well as your usage patterns and maintenance schedule. That said, the absence of ductwork makes this type of system one of the most energy-efficient (and cost-efficient) options for home and commercial climate control. Wondering how much they cost to own? Then, keep reading. This guide explains what you need to consider.
The Operational Costs of Ductless HVAC
The operational costs of ductless HVAC vary depending on the way you use it, but overall, they tend to be lower than the costs of a traditional ducted system. Your specific costs depend on factors such as:
- Energy Efficiency: Unlike traditional ducted systems that can experience significant energy loss through ductwork, ductless heat pumps eliminate the need for ducts altogether. This streamlined approach ensures that conditioned air reaches its intended destination without any waste or leakage. However, different models offer different levels of energy efficiency.
- Heating and Cooling Capacity: Properly sized ductless systems prevent excessive energy consumption. Consult with a professional HVAC contractor to help determine the appropriate capacity for your specific needs. But keep in mind that if you live in a large home or a drafty home, you will likely need a higher capacity system which means that you’ll pay more in operational costs.
- Usage Patterns and Thermostat Settings: A large portion of the operational cost of ductless HVAC depends on the way you use it. You can reduce the cost by setting specific temperature schedules based on occupancy and usage pattern, as well as insulating the space and adopting energy-conscious habits.
The actual operational cost is hard to determine because it varies based on your heating and cooling preferences and the size of your home, but you can get a clear picture of how much operating a ductless HVAC system may cost you if you consult with an experienced HVAC professional.
Maintaining a ductless system can have similar costs to maintaining a traditional system since the same regular schedule of cleaning and replacing components still applies.
Your ductless maintenance costs depend on the following:
- Regular Filter Cleaning and Replacement: Every HVAC system requires regular cleaning of the filtration system and replacement of the filters. Plan to have a technician clean and/or replace the filters yearly. The actual cost of the filter insert depends on the model of the system you have. You may need to clean and replace filters more often if you use your system heavily or have a lot of pets, wood-burning stoves, or other dust creators.
- Annual Preventative Maintenance: Annual maintenance for ductless HVAC also includes cleaning the indoor and outdoor housing, refilling refrigerant, calibrating the thermostat, and lubricating moving parts. It also includes testing the system’s performance to identify the need for any repairs or component replacements.
However, annual maintenance can help you save money. Staying proactive with maintenance and promptly addressing minor issues can help minimize the likelihood of major breakdowns.
- Repairs and Component Replacement: Even well-maintained systems require periodic component replacements and repairs. Being diligent in repairing your system can actually reduce your long-term expenditure since a system that’s in good repair is likely to last longer.
A professional HVAC service can help you estimate the costs of maintaining your specific ductless system. The system itself determines maintenance costs in part, along with how heavily you use the system and whether you follow a standardized maintenance schedule. You may be able to save money by signing up for a maintenance program.
After you have an idea of the operational and maintenance costs involved in ductless HVAC systems, you can begin to plan ahead for managing those costs.
Here’s how you can start:
- Monitor Your Energy Consumption: Monitoring tools provide valuable insights into how your ductless system is performing and help you identify opportunities for energy savings. By regularly reviewing your energy consumption data, you can make informed decisions about adjusting usage patterns, optimizing thermostat settings, and implementing energy-saving practices to minimize costs.
- Budget for Operational and Maintenance Costs: You can set a budget for your ductless HVAC costs by estimating your monthly or annual cost of electricity (based on local utility rates) and factoring seasonal energy usage variations into your estimate. Then consider the cost of an annual maintenance agreement and a contingency fund for repairs and replacements.
Regular monitoring, proactive energy management, and diligent budgeting are key to successfully managing the costs of your ductless HVAC system. By staying proactive, you can optimize the performance, efficiency, and lifespan of your system while keeping costs in check.
Ductless systems provide a reliable and cost-effective solution for heating and cooling, allowing you to enjoy a comfortable environment while keeping your expenses under control. By staying proactive, monitoring energy usage, and effectively budgeting, you can optimize the performance and efficiency of your ductless HVAC system while also keeping costs down.
To learn more about service and operational costs, contact us at N.E.T.R., Inc today. Want to read more about the potential savings when you switch to ductless? We have case studies that illustrate ductless units in action — check them out to see how much other families with homes similar to yours have saved by switching to ductless.