Installing Central Air In A House Without Ducts

Installing Central Air In A House Without Ducts

The most basic configuration, of a ductless mini-split system, consists of one indoor unit and one outdoor unit which is connected by refrigerant tubing and electrical cable. 

The interior unit, which is frequently wall-mounted, brings warm or cooled air into the living area. A ductless HVAC system, often known as a mini-split, is a form of air conditioning and heating system that regulates temperature in a single room or space using separate, wall-mounted blowers. 

The individual units are linked via a refrigerant line that is attached to a single outside condensing unit rather than ducting. These systems are a fantastic choice for spaces that need to be heated or cooled but are not served by ductwork, such as sunrooms, garages, or room extensions. 

Exterior Compressor 

The exterior compressor pressurizes refrigerant while it cools your house. The indoor evaporator coil receives the cooled refrigerant. The air in your home similarly moves through the coil to a central air conditioning system. 

When heated indoor air is cooled, heat is exchanged because the heat is transferred to the refrigerant. Refrigerant lines are filled with liquid by the outside unit, and the cycle is repeated. 

Two Main Ways To Install Central Air Conditioning In A Home Without Existing Ductwork 

Ductless Mini-Split System:

Installing central air in a house without ducts system is a popular option for homes without pre-existing ductwork. It comprises one or more indoor air handling units and an outside condenser unit. Ductwork is unnecessary because refrigerant lines connect the outdoor and indoor units. 

Customized temperature management is made possible because each indoor unit is in charge of cooling a particular area or room. Mini-split ductless systems are effective, simple to install, and offer customized comfort for various rooms in the house. 

High-Velocity HVAC System: 

Another choice is a high-velocity HVAC system, which employs ducts with a diameter of only 2 to 3 inches that are thin, flexible, and tiny. These flexible ducts must make significant structural changes to avoid being snaked through already-existing walls, ceilings, or floors. Compared to conventional ducting, the ducts’ tiny size provides more installation options. 

The system distributes chilled air around the room with a gentle and even distribution by using a specially built air handler to deliver air at a high velocity. Both choices have advantages and things to keep in mind. 

Because they don’t suffer from the energy losses associated with conventional ductwork, ductless mini-split systems offer zoning possibilities and are frequently more energy-efficient. 

Difference Between Central Air With Ducts and Without Ducts

The manner of air distribution is the fundamental distinction between central air in a home without ducts and one with ducts. Let’s examine the differences: 

Difference Between Central Air With Ducts and Without Ducts

  • One or more inside units plus an outside unit make up a ductless mini-split system. 
  • The compressor and condenser are located in the exterior unit, whereas the evaporator and blower are located inside. 
  • The indoor units are usually installed on walls or ceilings and are linked to the outdoor unit via electrical and refrigerant wires. 
  • Multiple indoor units can be installed to create zones throughout the house, and each indoor unit cools a particular room or region. 
  • Ductwork is not required because the cooled air is supplied directly into the room housing the indoor unit. 
  • Through a system of ducts, central air conditioning systems with ductwork are intended to chill the entire house. 
  • An air handler is an interior unit that houses the evaporator coil and blower, and the compressor and condenser are normally found in the outdoor unit of the system. 
  • The conditioned air is distributed throughout the house by a system of ducts that the air handler is attached to. 
  • Through supply vents or registers, the cooled air is released into the rooms after passing through the ducting.
  • Warm air from the rooms is drawn back into the air handler by the return ducts, where it is cooled and cycled. 

Installing Central Air In A House Without Ducts 

Assessing the House: 

To decide the optimum method for installing central air conditioning without existing ductwork, a skilled HVAC specialist will assess the layout, size, and structure of your property. They will take into account things like the amount of accessible space, the insulation, and the kind of heating system in use. 

Ductless Mini-Split System: 

Ductless Mini-Split System

Installing a ductless mini-split system is a typical remedy for houses without ducts. An outside unit and one or more indoor units positioned on the walls or ceilings of the rooms you want to cool make up this type of system. Ductwork is optional because the refrigerant lines connecting these units do so. 

Placement Of Indoor Units: 

The technician will choose appropriate placements for the indoor units. These units should be placed carefully to ensure that the entire house receives effective cooling. Tiny holes must be drilled to fit the electrical wiring and refrigerant lines through the walls. 

Installation Of The Outdoor Unit:

Outside the home, in a suitable place, the outdoor unit also referred to as the condenser will be installed. For best functioning, it needs adequate clearance and optimum airflow. The technician will link the indoor units’ refrigerant lines to the condenser. 

Electrical Connections: 

To power the indoor units, electrical connections are needed. The technician will connect the devices to the power supply and install the required wiring. While installing central air in a house without ducts. 

Refrigerant Lines: 

For an efficient cooling system, refrigerant lines should be properly installed and insulated. Because these lines circulate the refrigerant between the outdoor and indoor units. This aspect of installation can be handled accurately by the technician. 

Thermostats And Controls: 

These thermostats are used to operate the air conditioning units and also control the air conditioning temperature. The technician uses thermostats or control panels to make the device work properly

Commissioning And Testing: 

After the complete installation of the cooling system, the technician will ensure the functionality of the whole system. Proper airflow, refrigerant leaks, and cooling systems are effectively checked. 

The Function of Ducts in Cooling Systems

Ducts are essential for spreading cooled air across a building in a central cooling system. How ducts work in installing central air in a house without ducts. 

Return Ducts: 

Return ducts are where the process begins. These ducts return heated indoor air to the building’s central cooling system for cooling. The size of return ducts is typically greater to accommodate the airflow. 

The Air Handler: 

Warm air is delivered to the air handler, which also houses in the evaporator coil and the blower, through the return ducts. The evaporator coil is where heat is absorbed and the air is cooled. The blower moves warm air over it while installing central air in a house without ducts. 

Supply Ducts: 

These are connected to vents and registers that are found in the building’s walls, floors and ceilings. The cooled air enters the rooms through registers and vents. They can be altered to regulate the airflow and guide it in the appropriate directions. 

Regulation Of Airflow: 

Dampers can be used to control the airflow in the ducts to guarantee optimum cooling and temperature management. Dampers can be manually or automatically changed to balance the airflow across various building zones or rooms.

Return Air Intake: 

As the chilled air passes through the rooms and picks up heat from the surroundings, it progressively warms up. The cycle is then repeated as it returns through the return air intakes in installing central air in a house without ducts. 

Some Considerations For Installing Central Air In A House Without Ducts 

To make sure you pick the proper system for your particular needs when buying a ductless AC system for your home, you should consider several criteria. Here are some important things to consider: 

Cooling Capacity: 

Ascertain the amount of cooling power needed for your location. British Thermal Units (BTUs) are the standard units used to measure this. The cooling required depends on various variables, including room size, insulation, ceiling height, and the number of inhabitants. 

Number Of Indoor Units: 

Determine how many indoor units are necessary to efficiently chill your home by counting them. Think about the dimensions and design of each space you wish to chill. Smaller rooms might only need one indoor unit, but larger rooms might need many indoor units. 

Inverter Technology:

Take into account systems that employ inverter technology. With the use of inverter driven compressors, temperature may be controlled more precisely while using less energy. 

Noise Condition: 

Pay attention to the noise levels that the indoor and outside units produce. Particularly for bedrooms or living areas, some ductless systems incorporate quieter operation modes or sound-dampening capabilities that can improve comfort. 

Needs For Installation: 

Consider the ductless system’s installation needs when evaluating the installation requirements. Think about things like the outdoor unit’s available space, the indoor units’ location and mounting possibilities, and the viability of running electrical and refrigerant lines. 

Explore the extra features that various models provide, like programmable timers, remote control choices, air filtration or purification systems, and smart home integration capabilities

Warranty And Brand Reputation: 

Look into the reputation and dependability of the brand you’re thinking about. For your investment’s protection, look for manufacturers who provide comprehensive warranties. 

Professional Installation:

It is essential to have a qualified professional to install the ductless AC system. An ideal installation guarantees the system’s performance, effectiveness, and lifetime. 


Consider your budget for the system’s purchase and installation, as well as any necessary structural or electrical alterations. 

Material Is Used For Installing Central Air In A House Without Ducts 

Outdoor Unit: 

Cabinet: The outdoor cabinet is made of aluminum or galvanized steel, and these materials give protection from the weather and other corrosion. 

Indoor Unit: 

Cabinet: The indoor unit is encased in a highly quality plastic or steel material such as aluminum with a completely aesthetically pleasing sense. 

Evaporate Coil: 

The evaporating coil is made for cooling is made off with copper tubing having aluminum fins. As copper is an excellent conductor to heat, and for better heat transfer, aluminum increases the surface area. 

Refrigerator Lines: 

Copper Tubing: Copper tubing is often used for the refrigerant lines connecting the outdoor and indoor units. Copper is an efficient heat transfer metal, having the ability of resistance to any corrosion. 

Parts Of The Air Distribution System

  • Louvres and air grilles are the interior unit’s louvres and air grilles control the airflow into the space. Depending on the style and type, they are frequently made of plastic or metal. 
  • Air filters are a feature of ductless air conditioners that help to remove allergies, dust, and other airborne contaminants. Depending on the model, these filters can either be washable or replaceable because they are typically constructed of synthetic materials. 
  • Insulation in the refrigerant lines is wrapped with insulation materials to reduce condensation and energy loss. Foam rubber and elastomeric foam are common types of insulation materials. 

Components For Mounting And Installation 

  • Mounting Brackets: To mount the indoor unit to a wall or ceiling, mounting brackets are required. Usually composed of metal for durability and stability. 
  • Electrical Wire: To connect the indoor and outdoor components and enable power supply and system control, electrical wire is utilized. The standard insulation for these wires is made of rubber or plastic. 
  • Refrigerant Line set Covers: Covers made of plastic or metal can be used to protect and conceal refrigerant lines. They usually provide a tidy and finished appearance when fitted on the exterior of the home. 

Advantages Of Installing Central Air In A House Without Ducts

  • As a popular option for cooling houses, ductless air conditioning systems, commonly referred to as ductless mini-split systems, provide several advantages. The following are some major advantages of ductless cooling: 
  • Ductless systems have very high energy efficiency. They provide zone-specific cooling, which allows you to save energy by just cooling the rooms that are being used. 
  • Ductless systems also employ inverter technology, which modifies compressor speed to match cooling demand, resulting in decreased energy consumption and utility costs. 
  • Ductwork Installation especially in older homes, installing ductwork may be a time-consuming and expensive task. Since the refrigerant lines and electrical connections between the indoor and outside units can flow through a small hole, ductless systems do not need ductwork. Installation becomes quicker, less invasive, and more economical as a result. 
  • Ductless systems provide you flexibility and zoning with the freedom to divide your home into various areas, each with a separate indoor unit. 
  • This makes it possible to customize cooling in various spaces, adapting to personal tastes and particular room needs. You can set different temperatures for various rooms thanks to the independent control of each zone. 
  • Ductless systems frequently come with Cutting-Edge Filtering options that in improving indoor air quality. For your and your family’s benefit, the filters may capture dust, pollen, allergies, and other airborne particles.
  • Ductless systems are built with quiet operation in mind. Modern fan and compressor technologies that reduce noise levels are often included in indoor units, ensuring a calm and cosy indoor environment
  • Ductless systems are small and take up very little room. The indoor units offer multiple installation options and help save important floor space by being wall-mounted, floor-mounted, or recessed into the ceiling. 
  • Better temperature control is the feature of these ductless central air systems. Each zone’s temperature may be precisely controlled with ductless systems. 
  • You may quickly change the temperature settings to suit your tastes using remote controls and different thermostats, ensuring maximum comfort throughout your home. 
  • These central air conditioners without ducts have increased home security, ductless systems eliminate the need to keep windows or doors open because installation only calls for a small hole. Because there are fewer potential access points for burglars, house security is increased. 
  • The Durability and longevity of ductless systems are made to last thanks to premium parts and cutting-edge engineering. They can provide dependable cooling for many years if maintained properly. 
  • Environmentally Friendly: By using less electricity and producing fewer greenhouse gas emissions, ductless systems help reduce carbon footprints. 

Disadvantages of Installing Central Air In A House Without Ducts

Although ductless air conditioning systems have many benefits, there are a few potential drawbacks to take into account as well: 

Ductless air conditioning systems typically cost more upfront than conventional central air conditioning systems. The price can change based on how many indoor units are needed and how difficult the installation is. 

Although ductless systems are made to be small and elegant, some homeowners may not find the appearance of indoor units on walls or ceilings to be visually appealing. Those who value a cohesive interior design may take the impact on the aesthetics of the indoor units into account. 

A ductless system’s indoor units each have a certain cooling capacity. A single indoor unit might not be enough to adequately cool a large open area or a room with significant cooling needs. 

Temperature disparities and cooling range in Ductless systems may occasionally be constrained by their maximum cooling range. This can be taken into account in areas with a lot of cooling needs or in excessively hot weather. Additionally, if separate zones have distinct cooling requirements, varying levels of insulation, or varied solar exposure, temperature differences between them may develop. 

To maintain optimal efficiency and endurance, ductless systems need regular maintenance much like any other conditioning system. Filters should be cleaned or replaced, interior and outdoor units should be inspected and cleaned, and refrigerant levels should be checked. It’s crucial to take into account the continuous expenses and work involved in maintaining a ductless system.

Although ductless systems are often made to run quietly, the inside and outside units may still produce some noise. Depending on the particular model and installation, the noise level can change. It’s wise to check the manufacturer’s recommendations and pick a system that satisfies your needs for desired noise levels. 

For ductless systems to operate as effectively and efficiently as possible, proper installation is essential. To guarantee accurate system sizing, suitable indoor unit location, suitable refrigerant line installation, and sufficient electrical connections. It is crucial to have the system installed by a licensed HVAC professional. Poor installation can result in unsatisfactory performance and future problems. 

Some Crucial Broad Principles That Should Be Taken Into Account 

The majority of houses in the Philadelphia region have some kind of central heating system. Boiler and radiator systems, which are conventional distribution systems that do not need ductwork to deliver the conditioned air, are the most frequently encountered. 

Most of these older properties lack the interior space necessary for the installation of contemporary ductwork because they were not typically built with ducting in mind. Installing central air might be challenging due to sizing issues because typical ducts can range in width from 6″ to 12″. 

This frequently entails taking down walls and adding extra soffits to cover the ducts. The architecture of your room will change as a result of this intrusive effort. This type of ductwork installation frequently carries a hefty price tag. 

Installation Of Equipment

Where to install the equipment itself is another frequent issue. Large equipment frequently has precise placement requirements regarding the rest of the house and the HVAC system. This can be particularly challenging in row homes, which frequently don’t have a lot of extra room inside or outside. 

Unique Indoor Comfort 

Due to these problems, a lot of individuals believe that the only solution is to install loud, ineffective window air conditioners throughout their entire homes, which are frequently removed and stored during the off-season. But don’t be concerned! Different cooling options from unique indoor comfort are more affordable and less disruptive than conventional central air conditioning systems. 

Heating And Cooling Units 

Depending on the available space and design factors, HVAC units are often placed outside the building, in a mechanical room or on the roof. 

Heating And Cooling Units 

Water heaters: These are frequently located near the plumbing fixtures they serve in utility rooms, basements, or mechanical rooms. 

Upgradation of the Electrical System for Installing Central Air In A House Without Ducts 

Older homes without ductwork may benefit from installing central air in a house without ducts, but you may also need to replace the electrical system. The load of the newest generation of home appliances is generally too much for the electrical infrastructure in older homes. Furthermore, poor wiring is a frequent reason for house fires. So, for safety reasons, you should upgrade the electrical system if your home is older.

You can get advice from your local electrician on whether you need an upgrade and how much the whole thing would cost for installing central air in a house without ducts.


You may be familiar with the terms mini splits, split type air conditioners, ductless systems, and ductless air conditioners when referring to ductless mini split systems. 

An indoor air handler and an outdoor compressor/condenser serve as the system’s two major operating components. Because they don’t need as much ductwork to circulate the chilled air, ductless mini-split systems are more compact than conventional central air systems. 

This makes installing them in a home much simpler. The system’s indoor units can be put in practically any place in the house where there is access to electricity with only a little amount of work. 

Using a high-velocity, or mini-split system can sometimes offer a much less invasive, more cost-effective solution for installing central air in a house without ducts, even though doing so will need some cutting and changes. If you have any queries, our climate control experts are pleased to address them and guide you through the process of determining which kind of system provides the best solution for your requirements. 

Installing central air in a house without ducts is now considered the best procedure, but the excess dust, dirt, allergens, and even mould that accumulate in air ducts regularly have negative impacts on houses. 

Reliance on air conditioning could lead to respiratory issues. Window units are especially challenging. In addition to gathering dirt, a window unit can pump materials from the outdoors into your house.

Installing central air in a house without ducts system can improve the quality of the air inside a building. Because indoor units are washable and the outdoor unit only introduces refrigerant into the house, external allergens are controlled and interior irritants cannot be trapped inside air ducts. Indoor units can also help maintain a stable relative humidity level within your home.

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